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Euro-sceptic Rupert Allason
"I would never ever say 'never' about anything"
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Sunday, 9 January, 2000, 10:34 GMT
Tory Euro-sceptic considers defection

Rupert Allason Rupert Allason says defection is on his mind

Former Conservative MP Rupert Allason has confirmed he is considering defection to the anti-integration United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

Mr Allason, who is widely considered to be one of the most staunch Tory opponents of the Maastricht treaty, said concerns over divisions within his party could prompt him to shift alliances.

The 49-year-old, who lost his Torbay seat to the Liberal Democrats at the last General Election because many of his erstwhile supporters voted for a UKIP candidate, has been named as one of the prime targets in a UKIP campaign to recruit disaffected Conservatives.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, he told former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil: "I do not see it as defection and I would have to tell you that it is on my mind.

"I am very concerned about the future of the Conservative Party and the future of Britain in Europe."

Recruitment drive

Mr Allason's comments came only days after the UKIP failed to lure fellow Euro-sceptic Teresa Gorman, MP for Billericay, after the BBC identified her as the mystery target in the party's latest recruitment drive.

The former MP, who is better known by some as spy novelist Nigel West, said he would prefer to remain within the Conservative Party, adopting the role of ambassador, encouraging UKIP members to join forces with the Tories.

He said: "If there was a role for me to help UKIP members back into the ranks of the Conservative party so that the Conservatives can set out a very clear agenda for the next General Election and win it on this issue and the issues of the euro, then I would se it as my duty to participate in that.

'Fundamental problems'

"I am concerned about the future direction of the Conservative Party and it is a very, very big fundamental problem.

"There are a very large number of us who are very anxious about Britain's role in Europe. We do not want to be governed by foreigners, we do not want a European police force, we do not want a European army and we do not want further integration.

"There is another group who have a perfectly respectable view, they believe that a united states of Europe , a federal structure for Europe is the solution."

Mr Allason warned that unless the Conservative Party healed its rifts on Europe and aligned itself with the UKIP, it would face a difficult future.

"The whole experience of the United Kingdom Independence Party is a disaster for the Tories and we have to win these supporters back."

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See also:
06 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Tories play down MEP links to UKIP
03 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Well-known Tory 'set to defect'
01 Oct 99 |  UK Politics
Ex-Tory: 'Follow me to escape Europe'
21 Jan 98 |  UK
Ex-Tory MP loses libel action

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