ONE of the Dispatch district’s Euro-MPs is quitting his seat because he is “disillusioned” with the direction the Conservative Party is taking.
Roger Helmer (pictured) will stand down at the end of the year, which is halfway through his current four-year term at the European Parliament. He has been a Euro-MP since first being elected in 1999.
Mr Helmer (67) announced his decision to vacate his seat in a letter to the chairman of the East Midlands Conservatives, Stephen Mold.
Part of his decision is a motivation to spend more time with his family.
But in the letter, he also says: “It would be disingenuous to deny that my decision is dictated in part by my increasing disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party. I am finding it ever more difficult to defend the policies of the coalition government at Westminster, not only on my key issues of Europe, and of climate and energy, but also on a range of other matters.”
Paying tribute to Mr Helmer, his fellow Conservative Euro-MP Emma McClarkin, who also represents the Dispatch district, said: “Roger has been a colourful character in East Midlands politics. Over his 12 years’ service, he has represented the region and its constituents with great passion.”
Under the party’s constitution, Mr Helmer’s seat will be offered to Rupert Matthews, the candidate who was next on the Conservative list for the East Midlands at the 2009 European election.