Geoffrey Van Orden CBE is the new leader of Britain’s Conservative MEPs.

Geoffrey Van Orden CBE is the new leader of Britain’s Conservative MEPs.

THE former senior British Army officer and longstanding MEP for the East of England has been a consistent campaigner against ever-closer European integration – and particularly plans for an EU army which he insists would undermine NATO.

Mr Van Orden commented: “I feel honoured to have been chosen to head the delegation, following in the footsteps of my excellent predecessor. The months ahead will be challenging. We shall do all that we can to help deliver Brexit by 31 October, ideally with a good deal. So long as the United Kingdom remains in the EU it important for us to engage fully, protect Britain’s interests, and widen understanding and support for our position.

Mr Van Orden was elected as a Conservative MEP in 1999 and was instrumental in the creation of the European Conservatives and Reformists political group in the Parliament – the ECR – to which all Conservative MEPs belong.

He was founding President of its associated think-tank, New Direction –The Foundation for European Reform, whose patron was Margaret Thatcher.

In his military career he gained wide international and operational experience, particularly in the field of counter-terrorism. His last military appointment was at NATO Headquarters. He will remain the party’s defence and security spokesman in the parliament and will also lead on foreign policy, industry, research and energy.

Other Conservative portfolios and responsibilities were also announced.

Anthea McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, will remain agriculture spokesman and will also sit on the Environment Committee.

Daniel Hannan, MEP for the South East, will be a vice president of the ECR Group and sit on the Constitutional Affairs Committee as Conservative spokesman.

Baroness Nosheena Mobarick, MEP for Scotland, will remain fisheries spokesman and will also lead on culture and education.

Mr Van Orden said: “We have a great team with a wealth of experience and extensive international contacts. We shall stand up strongly for British interests and those of our constituents and help deliver Brexit”.

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