Andy McSmith's Diary: Tory MEPs’ group refuses to ‘promote homosexuality’


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One of the promises that secured David Cameron the Tory leadership back in 2005 was that he would instruct Conservatives MEPs to leave the group in the European Parliament to which most mainstream European conservative parties belong, and to build a new group of right-wing parties less committed to European integration. Conservative MEPs are, consequently, the backbone of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.

Another member of the ECR group is Marek Jurek, from Poland. He sits on the European Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, known as Libe, a report of whose latest meeting is in the current issue The Parliament Magazine. As they discussed a new anti-discrimination directive, Jurek warned that there is “no consensus” across Europe over gay rights. “Promoting homosexuality and the political face of homosexuality” would create division in Europe, and undermine the EU’s authority in its negotiations with Moldova and Georgia, he added, because “our countries entered a community of democratic countries but not a community that questions the moral and cultural heritage of Europe.”

Another ECR member from Poland, Kazimierz Ujazdowski, agreed. He said he was “against the ideology of LGBT” and that the directive they were discussing was “a tool of ideological confrontation”.

Nice company Cameron’s MEPs are keeping.

Davey clears the air over cows

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, had to set a questioner straight while he was giving a talk in front of 600 professionals from the industry. The question, he said “shows that you don’t understand the physiology of cows, because 99 per cent of the methane from cows comes from their burping, not from their farting.” So let’s all stop blaming climate change on farting cows.

Ashcroft dines with donors

In August, my colleague Oliver Wright reported that Anne Street Partners had donated money to the Conservatives – interesting because the firm was thought to have links to Lord Ashcroft, implying that the billionaire pollster, who was the Tories’ biggest donor during lean years after 1997, was helping bankroll them again.

Lord Ashcroft did not confirm or deny this. However, a newly released list of guests at a dinner for major Conservative donors that took place between the beginning of July and the end of August includes “Anne Street Partners Ltd (represented by Lord Ashcroft)”. So it is confirmed.

A Wiki sense of humour

In the heat of a long dispute over firefighters’ pensions it has emerged that the minister responsible, Penny Mordaunt, is a “trained firefighter” and “serving reservist”. She dropped this into a question and answer session, while Labour MPs were giving her grief over the government’s alleged failure to negotiate reasonably.

It has been known that she is a paratrooper’s daughter and a naval reservist, and a participant in ITV’s Splash!, but that she is the politician to put out your fire is new.

The morning after she made this announcement, her Wikipedia entry was edited by “nickmattc”.

At 8.33am, he added the words “FULLY trained fighter”, returning three minutes later to add that “she also trained as a firefighter, serving her community at numerous incidnets [sic] fires, rtc’s flooding and cbrn incidents”. It is perhaps no coincidence @nickmattc is the Twitter handle of a firefighter named Nick Cain, who delighted in telling his followers how the minister’s Wikipedia entry had been edited.