'May contain nuts'? The reality behind the rhetoric surrounding the British Conservatives' new group in the European Parliament
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The British Conservative Party's decision to leave the European Peoples' Party-European Democrats (EPP-ED) group in the European Parliament and establish a new formation-the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)-has attracted criticism, much of it focused on the supposedly extremist politics and character of the partners with which the Conservatives have chosen to work. In fact, while those parties which have joined the Conservatives in the new group are for the most part socially conservative, they are less extreme and more pragmatic than their media caricatures suggest. Moreover, such caricatures obscure some interesting incompatibilities within the new group as a whole and between some of its Central and East European members and the Conservatives, not least with regard to their foreign policy preoccupations and their by no means wholly hostile attitude to the European integration project. © The Authors 2010. Journal compilation © The Political Quarterly Publishing Co. Ltd. 2010.