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Longest serving Tory in Europe joins the Liberal Democrats

March 13, 2010 8:00 AM
Edward McMillan-Scott MEP

Edward McMillan-Scott has been sitting as an independent since leaving the European Conservatives

The former leader of the Conservative MEPs, Edward McMillan-Scott, the Conservatives' most senior MEP, has joined the Liberal Democrats, it was announced at the Liberal Democrats' Spring Conference in Birmingham.

Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and Vice-President of the European Parliament with responsibility for human rights and democracy, was welcomed to the Liberal Democrats by Leader Nick Clegg.

Edward McMillan-Scott said: "I have been around the higher circles of the Conservative Party for long enough to fear that on Europe Cameron says one thing in opposition and will do another in Government. I have long fought against totalitarianism and the extremism and religious persecution it brings. It was wrong of Cameron to associate with MEPs who have extremist pasts in his new European alliance."

"My reasons for joining the Liberal Democrats are that in Nick Clegg they have a leader whom I like, admire and respect. They are internationalists, not nationalists. They are committed to politics based the values of fairness and change. From being a liberal Conservative I become a conservative Liberal. Most of my family are liberals: I am pleased to join the Liberal family."

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said: "I am delighted to welcome Edward McMillan-Scott to the Liberal Democrats. For many years he has fought for human rights and democracy world wide and he is rightly a respected politician across Europe."

"As someone of principle he has refused to cosy up to right wing extremists, despite pressure from the Tory machine. This flies in the face of David Cameron's claims of change. It shows that people of principle, who believe in fairness and want real change for Britain are at home in the Liberal Democrats."