SDP acquires its first MEP – with a defection from Ukip

One of the curios about the origin of the Liberal Democrats in a merger between the Liberal Party and the SDP, is that the two splinter groups who disagreed with the party – the breakaway continuing Liberal Party and SDP – both then took a strongly anti-European turn.

A Liberal Party branch even ended up backing Ukip, whilst the SDP has now picked up its first* MEP: the former Ukipper, Patrick O’Flynn. The East of England MEP joins a long line of Ukip MEPs who have departed the party. From the 24 elected in 2014, the party is now down to a mere seven.

Patrick O’Flynn explains his move  to become the latest in that long list as a response to the increasingly hard right policies of the party’s leader, Gerard Batten:

I am joining them because I have reached the sorry conclusion that UKIP under its current direction and at this decisive moment has become an impediment to the Brexit campaigning that I have energetically pursued for many years.

The key question in British politics now is which party are millions of sensible, moderate Brexit voters betrayed by establishment parties but wishing no tie-up with Tommy Robinson supposed to vote for? The answer, alas, is clearly not UKIP.

So, like many on the communitarian wing of the party, I have decided to join the resurgent SDP, which campaigned for Brexit during the referendum.

Jonathan Calder has more on the “resurgent” anti-Brexit SDP.

Hat-tip: Tim Roll-Pickering.

* The original SDP briefly had an MEP in 1984. Michael Gallagher was elected a Labour MEP in 1979, joined the SDP in January 1984 and then stood unsuccessfully in the June 1984 European Parliament elections, bringing his time as an MEP to an end.

5 responses to “SDP acquires its first MEP – with a defection from Ukip”

  1. I am appalled, as the Social Democrat ethos can only be internationalist and pro Europe. I always say “I am the ‘Dem’ part of the LibDems, not a Liberal” and proud to be a Social Democrat”. I will have to rephrase it now…

  2. Let’s remember that the SDP did in the event join the Lib Dem’s, and that those who continued to misuse the title as a separate party after merger agreed to close it down after a series of disastrous by-election results.
    A new Independent Labour grouping in the House of Commons remains a serious possibility, whether in response to Labour position in Brexit or subsequently. Perhaps that group would wish, with the agreement of Lib Dem’s, to make use of the vacant name Social Democrat party again.
    After all, what is remarkable about the SDP of 1981-83 period is not that they failed to ‘break the mould of British politics” but that they so nearly succeeded, and but for the extraordinary and unrepeatable event of April – June 1982, would almost certainly have done so.

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