Tories rebut Farage's mischievous claim to Maggie legacy

15-Apr-2013 @ 19:0

Julie Girling Julie Girling

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative MEPs today batted aside an attempt by Nigel Farage to claim that his party were the successors to Lady Thatcher's heritage.

The firm and detailed rejection of the UKIP leader's spurious assertions came after he wrote an opinion-piece in today's Times which preposterously attempted to portray himself as the rightful heir to Margaret Thatcher's legacy.

Among other things he sought to make the self-serving claim that there would have been "no need for UKIP" if Lady Thatcher had remained leader.

Julie Girling, Conservative chief whip in the European Parliament, said: "Quite apart from its mischief and opportunism, Mr Farage's theory is a profound misrepresentation of all that the great lady did and stood for.

"We read that before she died, Baroness Thatcher told a close friend that only the Conservatives could deliver in Europe.

"No wonder. As our prime minister, she was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Single Market. She sought to reform Europe from within. Like David Cameron, she was prominent in demonstrating that the European project was far from perfect and beset by many shortcomings, but she was equally well-aware of the benefits that membership offered the UK.

"It is her brand of pragmatic Euro-realism that David Cameron continues to represent today. With nearly half of UK's trade located within Europe, this pragmatism favours the common market and its economic benefits. But it also says "no" to federalism and over-regulation. UKIP's one-eyed obsession with withdrawal is the very opposite of her vision.

"She played a pivotal role in the expansion of the EU towards the Eastern Bloc, and in doing so, freeing the citizens of Eastern European nations from the shackles of Communism. In many of these former Iron Curtain states, Mrs. Thatcher is revered as a liberator. UKIP, by contrast, are viewed with dismay, and suspicion as to their motives.

"She would have supported a referendum to let the people decide as she trusted in democracy, whereas UKIP have only one aim ..withdrawal without consulting the British people.

"Margaret Thatcher believed in getting stuck in, working hard and negotiating a better deal for Britain based on sound figures and hard facts. UKIP believe in doing as little as possible to pick up their wages and expenses, and in embarrassing Britain by bandying false statistics and made-up "facts".

"In dealing with Europe Mrs Thatcher was direct but never rude. UKIP are devious, and uncivil in a way that shames our national reputation for good manners.

"UKIP's tendency to insult others has not just been confined to their continental counterparts. Problems in their approach to women resulted in the party's two female MEPs leaving. Both Marta Andreasen MEP and Nikki Sinclaire MEP accused Farage and his party of misogyny.

"Geoffrey Bloom MEP (Yorkshire & Humber) was famously quoted saying of women: ' I just don’t think they clean behind the fridge enough.'

"It is worth pondering what Mr Bloom made of the cleaning skills of Britain's first and only female Prime Minister."

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