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Thursday, 10 April 2008

#Doc015* - Roger KNAPMAN on IndDemGroup Membership

#Doc015* - Roger KNAPMAN on IndDemGroup Membership

Office of Roger Knapman MEP

10 April 2008

Dear Member

I would like to know your views on an important issue of principle that affects our Party and our cause. I am therefore carrying out this thorough consultation exercise and have pledged to be bound by the result.

I enclose a voting paper and freepost envelope. Please return this as soon as you can. This issue is important because it is about where we position ourselves as a Party. It is also about where our priorities lie. These are the fundamental questions as I see them:

Should UKIP concentrate its efforts in the UK and have only a limited involvement in the European Parliament, or should we put major effort into participating fully in the European Parliament process?

Should we join with other Parties in working for reform of the EU from within (whilst retaining of course our long-term withdrawalist agenda) or should we stick solely and purely to the principle of withdrawal?

Currently UKIP is an integral part of the Ind/Dem Group in the European Parliament. At first there seemed to be some attractions in this, but the way things developed has gave me growing doubts. For some time now I have been arguing privately that we should withdraw.

The recent statement from the co-leader of the Group that he has been converted from wanting withdrawal to reform of the EU is really the final straw. I feel I must now detach myself from IndDem. If I did, I would technically sit as a non-aligned UKIP MEP, like the non-aligned Tory MEPs Roger Helmer and Daniel Hannan who similarly object to being part of a European Group.

If I give this lead I hope fellow UKIP MEPs will follow. I would, of course, remain a full member of UKIP and it would be my intention to devote the bulk of my energies to campaigning for the Party in the South West.

To enable you to pass an informed opinion, I enclose a summary of the arguments.
This is an issue of principle and therefore about the direction of our Party. This is your Party and so this is your choice.

Yours sincerely

Roger Knapman MEP

PS Please let me have your views on the ballot paper in the enclosed newsletter.