Martin Callanan for UK Commissioner

Brussels & EuropeOne of the Conservative Party’s most loyal stalwarts is the former Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England and Tyneside councillor, Martin Callanan. He’s been the leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament and latterly was the respected and largely successful President of the European Conservatives & Reformists Group (ECR). Before last week, he won three consecutive elections – his first in 1999.

Martin, unfortunately, lost his seat on Thursday in a tide of UKIP successes that stretched to his home region of the North East, losing by just 3,000 votes. The debate on who should be the UK’s next Commissioner, however, rages on and there is a growing call that Martin Callanan should be installed as David Cameron’s next choice. The reasons for this are obvious but let us remind ourselves of Martin’s many attributes.

He’s enormously well respected among Conservative Party colleagues and would please eurosceptics on the Westminster backbenchers; his knowledge of the EU institutions and the mechanisms of passing complicated and technical legislation are extensive; when many commentators predicted the ECR would end in six months following its inception in 2009, Martin steered the ship to stability with the ECR now expecting to grow after the recent European elections; the appointment of Mr Callanan would show the Prime Minister is serious about reform and renegotiation and would and instil a degree of trust among voters that Britain can change its relationship with the EU for the better.

There are many other reasons, not least the conundrum that Mr Cameron faces if he chooses an MP as the next Commissioner potentially causing another by-election, but the signal a Callanan appointment would send to Europe and the British people that a hard-working eurosceptic, patriotic, flinty and likeable Geordie could take on the might of EU and its institutions whilst ensuring that the interests of Britain are well served through a non-federalist Conservative appointee.

So, let’s see it happen! Martin Callanan as the next UK Commissioner. The arguments make sense but has the party got the guts to appoint someone different, non-technocratic, sensibly anti-integrationist yet painfully honest and authentic? Time will tell but one thing is for sure, politics is changing and the British people are impatient. Whoever is appointed as the next UK Commissioner has a huge job on their hands with a sceptical and angry electorate to convince and little time to do it in.

Comments are closed.