Roger Helmer: Wikis

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Roger Helmer MEP


Incumbent
Assumed office 
1 May 1999

Born 25 January 1944 (1944-01-25) (age 65)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Churchill College, Cambridge
Website http://www.rogerhelmer.com/
(The picture above is courtesy of the Mises Youth Club)

Roger Helmer (born 25 January 1944 in London) is a British politician and a Conservative Party Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands region. He has described himself as a eurosceptic and is a supporter of the Better Off Out campaign. He was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999 as a Conservative Party MEP, and re-elected in 2004.[1] He was subsequently suspended from the party Whip on 26 May 2005 after voting against party instructions on a motion to censure the European Commission and openly criticising his delegation leader, Timothy Kirkhope, in a parliamentary debate.[2] As of 13 September 2006, he has had the Conservative party whip restored,[3] but remained Non-Inscrit. He joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), with the other Conservative MEPs, in July 2009.

Mr Helmer currently sits on two European Parliamentary committees (Employment and Petitions), and is a member of the delegation to South East Asian countries and a substitute member of the delegation to Korea.

Contents

Biography

Born in 1944, Helmer attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Southampton (1955-62), and then won a State Scholarship to Churchill College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics, graduating in 1965.

He started his business career in 1965 with Procter & Gamble in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, going on to hold senior marketing and general management appointments in a range of companies, including Readers Digest, National Semiconductor, Coats Viyella and the whisky firm United Distillers, now part of the drinks conglomerate Diageo. During the course of his business career he lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea, and ran businesses in the Philippines, Vietnam, Guam and Saipan.

Helmer has developed close relationships with conservative political groups in the USA, and has been a regular speaker at American conferences. He was recently appointed Adam Smith Scholar by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

As a eurosceptic, he has earned a reputation for his forthright approach to the question of the UK's relationship with the European Union. He has for many years been adamantly opposed to further UK-EU integration. Having initially advocated the Conservative policy of renegotiating the EU treaties, since 2006 he has been a supporter of the Better Off Out campaign, calling for the UK to leave the EU.[4]

In April 2004, Helmer was named by Friends of the Earth as one of the worst voting MEPs on environmental issues, voting in what they claimed was an environmentally friendly manner in only one out of ten possible "eco-friendly" votes.[5]

In December 2005, on the close of negotiations between Member States heads of government for the European Union's budget, which led to a sizeable reduction in the British rebate won by Margaret Thatcher, Helmer was involved in heated exchanges with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the European Parliament chamber. He said that the deal was "treachery" and that the Prime Minister was "giving away a huge sum of money simply as a fig leaf for your failure."

Helmer has published two books on European issues, "Straight Talking on Europe" in 2000, and "A Declaration of Independence" in 2002. In April 2006 he contributed an article on "Austria and the EU Constitution" to the blog Make Socialism History.

He became Chairman of The Freedom Association in April 2007.

In November 2009, he attacked clergymen, including in the Church of England, who gave prominence to the issue of climate change, noting in a magazine article: "the world is cooling and... more and more scientists around the world are breaking cover to challenge the theory of man-made global warming. Perhaps world religions should have more faith in God, and less in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change".[6]

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Homophobia controversy

On 19 July 2009, on his blog, Helmer defended the Polish Law and Justice MEP, and chairman of the ECR, Michał Kamiński from accusations of homophobia. He went on to write that homophobia does not exist and that the word: "is merely a propaganda device" designed to "denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions".[7]

This later caused controversy; on 9 August Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, criticised Helmer, saying "If Mr Helmer thinks that homophobia doesn't exist in modern Britain, then perhaps he should be introduced to the families of Michael Causer and Jody Dobrowski. I suspect that their dignity in the face of the murders of their sons by homophobes might cause Mr Helmer to think again". Former minister Geoff Hoon stated that this was "yet another sign that David Cameron has caved in to the views of the extreme elements in his party and removed the Conservatives from Europe's mainstream" and invited the Conservative Party leader to say whether or not he agreed with Helmer's comments.[8]

On 11 August 2009, Helmer defended himself, saying he was not claiming "that there is no discrimination, and that homosexuals do not suffer violence and prejudice from people because sadly, we all know that is not the case." but rather, he states, that the word homophobia has "no meaning" because he has "never met anyone with an irrational fear of homosexuals" and claims that the term is a propagandist one created by the "militant gay rights lobby".[9]

References

  1. ^ "Candidate Profile: Roger Helmer". MiCandidate.eu. Archived from the original on 10 August 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5ivNOs0E7. Retrieved 10 August 2009.  
  2. ^ http://telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/05/26/wtory26.xml
  3. ^ "Eurosceptic MEP has Tory whip restored". politics.co.uk. 2006-09-13. http://www.politics.co.uk/news/party-politics/conservatives/eurosceptic-mep-has-tory-whip-restored-$450320.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  4. ^ "Supporters". Better Off Out. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20080208093916/http://www.betteroffout.co.uk/sup01.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  5. ^ "UK MEPs worst in Europe". Friends of the Earth. 2004-04-08. http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/uk_meps_worst_in_europe_08042004.html. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  6. ^ Stratton, Allegra (2009-11-20). "Climate change denial MEP attacks church". Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/20/climate-denier-roger-helmer-church. Retrieved 2009-11-20.  
  7. ^ Helmer, Roger (2009-07-19). "Poles take some stick". http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/poles-take-some-stick/. Retrieved 2009-08-11.  
  8. ^ Merrick, Jane (2009-08-09). "Gay Tory: Dave's embarrassing friends". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/gay-tory-daves-embarrassing-friends-1769707.html. Retrieved 2009-08-11.  
  9. ^ "Tory MEP defends his homophobia comment". Northampton Chronicle and Echo. 2009-08-11. http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/Tory-MEP-defends-his-homophobia.5540798.jp. Retrieved 2009-08-11.  

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