Number 10 WAS Aware of Tory Group’s Extremist Links

At the end of last year, the European Movement Oxford Region highlighted that the Conservative Delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had aligned itself with some of the continent’s most extreme-right-wing political parties.

At the time, a Number 10 spokesman tried to distance the Prime Minister from the decision, stating that “membership of political groupings within PACE is a matter for the groups themselves” and that it was going on “a long way away and no one understands it.” 

[Note:  The Council meets in Strasbourg, round 400 miles from London.  This is roughly the same distance as Aberdeen.]

But new evidence has now come to light which brings that denial into question.


Documents on the Council of Europe website show that the European Conservatives/ Democratic Alliance grouping was formed at the beginning of October 2019.

At the time, the group did not include Alternative für Deutschland. 

In 2016, representatives of that party were expelled from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament after comments it made that supported shooting refugees who try to cross the border illegally. The party’s Der Flügel wing has also been declared by German domestic intelligence to be an extremist threat to democracy, whilst some of its leading members have expressed open support for the Nazis.

Its representatives on PACE had not been part of any political grouping since the beginning of 2018. 

However, that all changed at the end of December 2019, when they were welcomed into the EC/DA, which is chaired by Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger and whose Treasurer is John Howell, MP for Henley.  It is not known whether all Conservatives members were supportive of the AfD’s  integration, but none of the current members of the group has openly spoken out in opposition.

Documents now obtained by the Oxford Branch show that the Prime Minister was aware of the AfD’s involvement BEFORE he announced the Conservative delegation in January last year.

In a communication sent and received on 17 January 2020, the Prime Minister was notified that “the German Alternative für Deutschland party has been invited to join the European Conservative Group at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.”  He was further warned that “…this could damage the reputation of our party.

Rather than intervene, in a written statement three days later, the Prime Minister confirmed the UK’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly.

Long-serving Conservative MEP for North West England, Sajjad Karim, has told the Oxford Region Branch:

“It is now clear that Number 10’s attempts to absolve the Prime Minister and party from this decision are no longer credible. The Prime Minister, or those closely advising him, were clearly aware that the Conservative delegation intended to align itself with some of the most odious political groupings on the continent and chose to do nothing about it.

 “This is not a good look for the party, and I would appeal to the Prime Minister to bring influence to bear on the delegation to reconsider the nature of their alliances.”

Using his long experience in the European Parliament, Mr Karim added, “I clearly recognise the modus operandi. Bringing the AfD into the ECR Group in the European Parliament was engineered by anti-EU British Conservative MEPs with a view to attack the EU from within and strengthen Brexit momentum at home.

“Their commitment to leave the Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights post-Brexit remains on track. Even here, PM Johnson is likely to be caught out if his recent statements are anything to go by.”

Following the revelation, Oxford Region’s chair, Graham Jones has issued an appeal to John Howell:

“I am surprised by John Howell who always comes across as a reasonable one Nation Tory.  But his presence on the group is offering credibility it does not warrant.  The delegation for the coming year is due to be announced at the end of this month and I appeal to him to condemn his party’s continued membership of the EC/DA grouping alongside the AfD.

“He has done good work over his years on the body.  But I am afraid that this will come to nought if he allows his good name to be associated with those frankly repellent views.”

As Dr Jones has highlighted, with the appointment of a new delegation this month, the Prime Minister has the chance to rectify the position.  He must either explain why he believes his party should be associated with groups such as the AfD or issue instructions to those he delegates to bring that association to an end.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: