Lord Tebbit nearly did a Stuart Wheeler, by telling people not to vote for the main three parties at the EU Elections (and nobody missed the fact that would include the Conservative Party, to whom he was once Chairman)... The difference with Mr Wheeler being that Mr Tebbit did stop short of encouraging a specific alternative and also, did not stump up £100,000 to UKIP.
Mr Tebbits words were:
"Local elections, the great British public should just treat as normal".
"But at the European elections, in my judgment they should send a very sharp message to the leaders of the three national parties by not voting for any of the national party candidates."
He went on to discourage a BNP vote as a vote for "Labour with Racism"
Interesting comments, which in my opinion align Mr Tebbit closer to the Conservative Parties core feeling on the EU that the present leadership.
None the less, Mr Cameron had this to say today as a rebuttal:
"As a former chairman he should know a thing or two about party discipline and about party rules and about supporting other parties. He's treading a very careful path, and I would warn him if he slips off that path he will find he's sitting as an independent"
Perhaps Mr Tebbit was prodding the Conservative Party as despite the positive moves away from the EPP, there is still little confirmation on what stance a Conservative Government would take with the EU or if the COnservatives take power with Lisbon already ratified.
Not talking about the EU as a strategy has made the Conservative seem less split, certainly in polls focused on a UK general Election. Those who are silent still have a contrasting view and remain unconvinced that the Cameron Strategy will benefit Britain in the long-term. If there was ever a time to clarify Conservative plans on the EU it would be the run up to an EU election. Of course, this is my speculation and opinion.
It seems that with Mr Wheeler and now Mr Tebbit that there are still Conservatives with much influence that are not convinced about a soft line on the EU... Could there be more grandees to step forward before June 4th? I think that is a very real possibility.