Richard North, 12/07/2004  

Following the news that a rebellion was brewing in the Tory MEP ranks over the EPP "Budapest Declaration" click here, important developments are expected today.

Sources indicate that there may be one or more high profile resignations from the Party which, on the eve of two crucial by-elections, will be unwelcome news for a hierarchy seeking to present a united front on the EU.

If confirmed, this will bring into high profile the festering sore in the European parliament, since Tory members were obliged to join the staunchly federalist European Peoples' Party by direct order of Mr Howard.

What has proved to be the last straw for some members is the EPP's declaration in Budapest that the Convention must " ratified and then implemented", a stance that is in total opposition to declared Conservative policy.

Mr Howard may now have to explain publicly why he has forced his MEPs to join a political grouping that is making no attempt to conceal its full support for the constitution.

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