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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Ancram hails Tory Euro successes
Michael Ancram
The Tories fought on EU reforming agenda, says Ancram
The Conservatives have "won" the European elections after fighting on a platform of reforming the EU, deputy leader Michael Ancram has insisted.

The Tories claimed 27% of the vote to Labour's 23%, the UK Independence Party's 16% and the Lib Dems 15%.

Mr Ancram suggested that many who voted for the Eurosceptic UKIP did not want Britain to leave the EU.

But he said it showed Tony Blair had no mandate to sign the EU constitution when he meets EU leaders on Thursday.

It was a disappointing vote for us certainly, it was a particularly disastrous night for the Conservatives
John Reid
Health Secretary

Mr Ancram said UKIP's success was only going to affect Tory policies "in the sense that we're going to have to make sure that people understand that we do want to try to reform Europe so that Europe works better".

Unlike UKIP, whose main aim is for Britain to leave Europe, the Tories want to improve the EU, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"If you look at the UKIP vote, yes there are people who are voting for it who want to come out of Europe," Mr Ancram conceded.

European 'suspicions'

But, he said: "There are equally people who want to give a signal at this European election that they wanted to see a firmer stand taken against the way in which Europe is going at the moment."

However, Labour Health Secretary John Reid claimed the results had been "disastrous" for the Tories, who he described as in "crisis" - despite Labour itself recording its worst showing since 1910.

I hope that if there is one message that Tony Blair takes out of this is that he has no mandate to go this week to Brussels and sign up to this wretched constitution
Michael Ancram
Tory deputy leader

"It was a disappointing vote for us certainly, it was a particularly disastrous night for the Conservatives and it's been a good night across Europe for parties of protest, as well as parties who are in Britain against the European Union," he told Today.

"The difference in Britain is that elsewhere in Europe, every alternative government, every opposition party has done very well, whilst the Conservatives have done disastrously badly."

But Mr Ancram claimed the results showed the Tories had "won" the European polls in the same way they had succeeded at the local and London Assembly elections.

"The main message that came out of this was that people in this country are suspicious and concerned about the direction of Europe at the moment," he said.

"I hope that if there is one message that Tony Blair takes out of this is that he has no mandate to go this week to Brussels and sign up to this wretched constitution."




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"The major parties have lost out to the smaller ones"



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