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Jan Zahradil MEP elected chairman of the Tory MEP group

Friday, 11th March 2011

The election of Czech MEP Jan Zahradil as leader of the new ECR (European Conservative & Reformist) Group leader in the European Parliament has been welcomed by Roger Helmer, Conservative MEP for the East Midlands. Mr Zahradil, from the Czech ODS party, was elected this week to lead ECR in Brussels. Mr Zahradil beat British Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope in the race for the post.

Mr Helmer was delighted with the election result and was quick to rebut press stories that the election of a Czech MEP represented "a defeat" for the British Conservatives in Brussels. He made it clear that the Conservative MEPs voted for the best candidate, not simply for the British candidate. It was apparent from Mr. Zahradil's substantial majority (33 to 18) that a significant proportion of the 25-strong British delegation took the same view.

Speaking from Strasbourg Mr Helmer said yesterday:

"I am delighted to see Jan Zahradil elected as the new Group leader and would like to congratulate him on his success. I believe that Mr Zahradil will build on the work already done to make the group more influential, bigger and focused on delivering our vision of reform for the EU. I have been working with Jan since the 2009 election, and have been impressed by his energy, his diplomatic skills, and his clear and principled approach to EU politics, which will sit very well with Conservatives in the East Midlands".