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Finn who believes that migrants are 'parasites' to be guest at Tory conference

The True Finns have suggested ethnically Finnish women should study less and spend more time having babies

Nigel Morris
Friday 30 September 2011 00:00 BST
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(AP)

Tory Eurosceptics demanding that David Cameron adopts a more hostile attitude to Brussels will be rallied by the leader of a Finnish anti-immigration party next week.

Conservative Party activists are seizing on the crisis in the eurozone to step up calls for the Prime Minister to loosen Britain's ties with the European Union. The Eurosceptic message, in defiance of the leadership's position, will be delivered at the Manchester conference which begins on Sunday.

The most controversial meetings are being organised by the Bruges Group, the Eurosceptic think tank whose honorary president is Baroness Thatcher. They will be addressed by Timo Soini, the leader of the True Finns, a nationalist party which polled strongly in the general election. The True Finns have described immigrants as "parasites on taxpayers' money" and suggested that ethnically Finnish women should study less and spend more time having babies.

Mr Soini, who also appeared at the UK Independence Party conference, has been invited because of his party's fiercely Eurosceptic outlook.

Robert Oulds, director of the Bruges Group, said the invitation did not mean the think tank endorsed all of the True Finns' views. He said: "Domestic matters in Finland are a matter for the Finnish people."

Mr Oulds added: "He has become an important European politician and represents concern in the country about the way the EU has developed and the cost to the Finnish taxpayer."

He said the Conservative grassroots were continually moving towards Euroscepticism and added: "What we need from the leadership is a recognition of that – it has traditionally been far behind where the membership of the party is."

A meeting organised by the Daily Express and the TaxPayers' Alliance will hear demands from Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, to pull out of the EU entirely. It will also be addressed by Priti Patel, MP for Witham, who supports a referendum on EU membership. Organisers believe it will be one of the best-attended fringes of the week.

David Cameron, who has carved out a pragmatic approach to Brussels in his 16 months as Prime Minister, faces an acute dilemma as he tries to balance the Tory grassroots' instinctive – and growing – Euroscepticism with the pro-European outlook of his Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

The conflicting views were demonstrated yesterday by the Foreign Secretary William Hague, who described the eurozone as "a burning building with no exits" and echoed Tory right-wingers' calls for Britain to repatriate powers from the EU.

By contrast, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, struck a different note as he called for further integration of the 17 eurozone countries.

"Europe is clearly embarking on a period of change," he said. "The danger we face is of change leading to fragmentation, that we become divided, turning away from each other, both within the European Union and with our partners who are not, or not yet, members of it. That would be a disaster."

Meanwhile, the Government faces a clash with the European Commission over its calls for a financial services tax as a way of making banks contribute to the huge cost of eurozone bailouts. Mr Cameron will oppose the scheme at a forthcoming meeting of European leaders – a message he is bound to reiterate at next week's party conference. The Government believes the scheme could drive business away from the City.

One Brussels-based UK official said: "It's a bonkers proposal that undermines jobs and growth."

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