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  Eurosceptics in talks on grouping: Allister to align with UKIP?
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Last EditedSome say...  Jul 02, 2004 02:07pm
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News DateFriday, July 2, 2004 08:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionDUP MEP Jim Allister is being courted to join the Eurosceptic group in the European Parliament.

The potential move could see the DUP man allying himself with the UK Independence Party, which includes former BBC TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk and a Polish Catholic group.

The group would campaign to reject the EU constitution, although some of its members want to leave the EU altogether.

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, confirmed that there had been talks between the Independence and Democracy group, which now boasts 31 MEPs following a string of successes for Eurosceptic parties in the June elections, and Mr Allister.

"We take the view that he would be an asset to us and that the group would be as asset to him."

He added that Mr Allister's background as a QC would make him a very useful addition to the group's main priority of fighting the constitution.

Mr Allister's predecessor, the Rev Ian Paisley, was not part of any group in the European Parliament and was criticised for being less effective by acting on his own.

Being in a group enables political parties from different countries to have a greater influence over legislation and entitles them to chair some of the powerful committees which can have a major impact on new EU laws.

The new group, which was formerly called Europe of Democracies and Diversities, contains two brands of Eurosceptics - parties like UKIP and the Polish Catholic League of Families - which advocate withdrawal from the EU, and others from Denmark, Sweden, France and the Netherlands who favour radical reform of the EU to make it more transparent and accountable.

Meanwhile, it looks likely that Sinn Fein's two new MEPs, Bairbre de Brún for Northern Ireland and MaryLou Macdonald for the Republic, may join the United European Left group in the EP.

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