THE BLOG

European Mainstream - Less Mainstream, More a Trickle

31/03/2014 11:51 BST | Updated 28/05/2014 10:59 BST

Last week we were treated to the re-launch of the aptly named 'European Mainstream', a new campaign group for Tory MPs who are so passionate about the EU that they want to remain in, even if Mr Cameron fails to return any powers from Brussels.

Although poll after poll has suggested that the position of European Mainstream is not in line with the majority of the Conservative Party or the Great British Public, they have taken the brave decision to claim they represent the 'mainstream'.

European Mainstream are a powerful force - 62 of the 303 sitting Conservative MPs support the Group according to Laura Sandys.

Unfortunately, 43 of the 62 seem to have gone missing in action because they cannot be found anywhere. It was suggested that perhaps the 43 did not exist but this fails to add up - why would a European loving Tory organisation need to make up numbers?

So, to the 19 Tory MPs who have said that they support European Mainstream - the 19 contenders who will unite the Tory Party, the light who will achieve consensus around the age old problem that has eaten away at the Party, year after year, leader after leader.

In order to work out how European Mainstream will succeed in creating the Tories for the EU, it is essential to work out which of the 19 is likely to still be around after the 2015 election. Thankfully, the majority of the list is made up of yesterday's men (and women), which means that we can find our hero(es) more easily.

Five names on the list have already confirmed they are standing down in 2015 - Laura Sandys, Richard Ottaway, Peter Luff, James Paice and Charles Hendry, so they have to be ruled out.

Of the remaining fourteen, five will have reached the age of 60, and may yet seek to stand down come 2015, so for the sake of this exercise (and perhaps unfairly), they will be ruled out.

This leaves us with just nine. Of these, five are on the Labour target list and could quite realistically be in the dole queues come May next year.

Which leaves us with four.

Of these, one (Caroline Spelman), although previously a high flier in the Party, fell out of favour with members following a less than successful spell as Party Chair and since then, her star has been on the wane with the Party leadership and therefore it is probably sensible to rule her out.

Which leaves us with three - Richard Benyon, Tobias Ellwood and Damian Green. The Three Musketeers (or Trois Mousquetaires, in the interests of EU integration).

This is an exciting time for Conservative Party policy on Europe and with these three esteemed gents harmonising the Tory Party on Europe, we have every faith that there will be Tory grassroots support for a bigger and better Europe - "all for Europe, and a Europe for all".