Why does this matter? It matters because amongst UK Expats the Partido Popular party is seen as the Conservative party equivalent in Spain and the PP will be looking to obtain the votes of right wing voters in the May local elections. Is it a coincidence that the PP press officer in Orihuela Costa is highlighting the 'Conservatives Abroad' group?
What I found of particular interest in the Coastrider article were comments attributed to the Chairman of the group Mrs Margaret Hales MBE;
'Conservatives Abroad is a legitimate part of the British Conservative Party and it has been working for some time to prepare for setting up a branch in the Orihuela/Torrevieja area. This is planned to take place after the local elections in Spain, specifically so that we are not seen to be trying to influence the outcome of the election'.
I'm sorry but I don't believe you! The timing of the announcement of the setting up of a section of the 'Conservatives Abroad' in the run up to the May 2011 local elections is a pure coincidence is it?
Why am I so cynical? My memory goes back to last December (2010) when the PP held a Christmas party in Orihuela to thank its loyal Orihuela municipal (including Orihuela Costa) voters for their support of the PP led Town Council during the current term of office.
The event was reported in the Round Town News at the time with an article entitled 'Coastal Residents Enjoy PP 'Party' written by none other than Louise Clarke!
In the article today in the Coastrider, written by Mireille Toddington is the statement;
“Officially the British Conservative Party states that it does not back any political party in Spain and anyone claiming that the Conservative Party is supporting the Popular Party would be acting without the authorisation of the party.”
Now that's interesting because in Louise Clarke's article about the PP Christmas party for its supporters, she reported;
“Amongst the attendees were representatives from the Conservatives Abroad Association, which is based in the north of the Province. Margaret and Gerald Hales and Benitachell Councillor Stephen Kidgell had been invited to attend the ‘party’ along with Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament and Conservative MP for the Ribble Valley, Nigel Evans. However, due to the air traffic controllers’ strike, he was unable to fly over to Spain and had to cancel his arrangements.”At that time being sceptical I wrote to Nigel Evans MP; 'Dear Mr Evans, I understand that you were due to attend the fiesta given by the the Partido Popular party Mayor, Monica Lorente, of Orihuela, Alicante Spain. I was wondering, ..... if you could confirm it was your intention to attend'. To my pleasant surprise I received a reply from a Senior Parliamentary Researcher, Office of Nigel Evans MP, Deputy Speaker, Member of Parliament for the Ribble Valley which included the following;
“Mr Evans was indeed due to be in Spain that weekend but was unfortunately unable to fly because of the Spanish strikes..... I know that he was very disappointed not to able to make it. I have attached a link to a news article that explains the whole situation. http://www.roundtownnews.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26510&Itemid=31The article,once again, written by none other than Louise Clarke is entitled 'Senior British MP stranded by air controllers' strike' and in it she wrote;
“On Sunday he (referring to Nigel Evans MP) was to meet representatives of the Alicante government, including Sra. Maria Asunción Prieto, Diputada for European Residents, Monica Lorente, Mayor of Orihuela and expats from Orihuela Costa”referring again to the attendance at the PP Christmas party for supporters, by Nigel Evans MP, Conservative, and Margaret and Gerald Hales of 'Conservatives Abroad'.
In today's Coastrider article Mrs Hales is reported as stating;
“CLARO’s statement appears to be electioneering. I can assure you that anyone seeking to join the new branch of Conservatives Abroad, when it is established, will be joining a reputable, official and active part of the Conservative Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”Of course CLARO's statement is electioneering and so is the 'Conservatives Abroad' groups announcement, via the PP Mayor's, Monica Lorente, personally appointed press officer, Louise Clarke. She (L.C.) is fully aware of the link and association of political beliefs built up in the past, and currently, between the UK Conservative party and the Partido Popular; she wrote the articles I have made reference to!
There is no doubt in my mind that Mayor Monica Lorente's press officer, Louise Clarke, knew what she was doing, with the timing of the 'Conservatives Abroad' announcement, in this period of run up to the local elections.