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Longest serving Tory in Europe joins Liberal Democrats

March 17, 2010 1:47 PM

Edward McMillan-Scott, the Conservative's most senior MEP, has joined the Liberal

Democrats.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said:

"I am delighted to welcome Edward McMillan-Scott to the Liberal Democrats.

"For many years he has fought for human rights and democracy world wide and he is

rightly one of Europe's most respected politicians.

"As someone of principle he has refused to cosy up to right wing extremists, despite

pressure from the Tory machine."

The former leader of the Tory MEPs, the Vice-President of the European Parliament with

responsibility for human rights and democracy, is MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.

He said: "I have been around the higher circles of the Conservative Party for long enough to

fear that on Europe Cameron says one thing in opposition and will do another in

government.

"I have long fought against totalitarianism and the extremism and religious

persecution it brings. It was wrong of Cameron to associate with MEPs who have

extremist pasts in his new European alliance.

"My reasons for joining the Liberal Democrats are that in Nick Clegg they have a

leader whom I like, admire and respect. They are internationalists, not nationalists.

They are committed to politics based the values of fairness and change.

"From being a liberal Conservative I become a conservative Liberal. Most of my

family are liberals: I am pleased to join the Liberal family."