A term used to describe those claiming to be that which they most definitely are not! Autonomous Mind, Richard North and I have been posting lately on this subject, using the statements of those who claim they are. Only a few days ago, in response to an article by Patrick Hennessy of the Daily Telegraph, I posted this. Not actually having seen any list of these 70 supposed 'eurosceptic' Tory MPs, I am forced, as a starting point, to refer back to this list supplied by Conservative Home. So, using the website TheyWorkForYou and the ConHome list, let us have a look at the voting records on matters EU.
As the above list appeared under the heading "Euroscepticism will triumph in the Conservative Party. It's just a matter of time.", presumably these MPs are counted as being Eurosceptic because they rebelled against further bail-outs. In fact, ConHome even makes the point that there are different kinds of Eurosceptics, so it would perhaps be as well if we look at the meaning of the word 'Eurosceptic'.
Originally assumed to mean anyone against membership of the European Union (or any other of its preceding guises), it is worth looking at the word in depth. Euro = abbreviation of European; sceptic = not convinced, having doubts about; ergo those MPs classified as being anti-EU are in fact nothing of the sort. If in fact we are to talk about anti-EU Conservative MPs then one can do no better than look at the Better Off Out website on which are listed just 7 names: Bone, Carswell, Davies (Philip), Hollobone, Nuttall, Percy and Reckless. (I wonder why the names of Cash and Redwood are so obvious by their omission?)
Whilst I have linked to the website TheyWorkForYou, I have to make the point that their classification of whether an MPs voting record is for, against, or what may possibly be consider as 'sitting on the fence' is, to a certain extent, skewed. If one looks at some of the MPs in the list above, the classification is based on just 4 voting attendances. Any classification is further skewed when, for example, one considers that given to David Nuttall - and his appearance on the Better Off Out list. David Nuttal voted for the acceptance of the European External Action Service, yet one has to ask the question if he believes in this country being better off out of the EU, how can he vote for a further expansion of EU power? To take yet another example, John Redwood, he is classified by TheyWorkForYou as having voted strongly against further EU integration - yet on his latest blogpost he is advocating a semi-divorce, hardly what one would call the view of a supposed Eurosceptic? In view of these examples you will understand my reasons for not having added to the list above, MPs such as Priti Patel or George Eustice.
It would seem to me that not only do we need to redefine the term 'eurosceptic', but that we also need to redefine just who amongst our MPs really is anti-EU!