4th Mar 2021

Tory MEP to launch anti-tax 'Tea Party' group

  • Dan Hannan says tea parties should happen in Europe too (Photo: Peppercorn Pixie)

British Conservative MEP Dan Hannan is jealous that Europe does not have its own anti-tax "Tea Party" movement, as in the US, and has decided to start one himself.

On Saturday (27 February), the eurosceptic deputy is to launch the "Brighton Tea Party," in reference to the Boston Tea Party that kicked off the American Revolution and, in recent times, has sponsored a series of anti-Obama demonstrations against stimulus spending, healthcare legislation and climate change bills.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Mr Hannan is inspired by the anti-tax element of the protests, saying Europe is on the verge of constructing an EU-level tax system, and believes that under the surface, there is potential for as much grass-roots opposition to increased public spending on this side of the Atlantic as in the US.

"During the first mandate that I was here in Brussels, the main theme was the erection of a common justice and home affairs area; the second term, the big issue was the Lisbon Treaty and I am convinced that for this term, the EU is fixated on constructing fiscal independence from the member states," he told EUobserver.

"It was striking during the hearings for the new commission how many commissioners want the EU to have more of its own revenue streams," he said, highlighting EU Council President Herman van Rompuy's recent backing for European economic governance. "Obviously, they had talked about this before."

"I don't think an EU income tax is on the cards yet, but certainly green taxes and taxes on financial transactions," Mr Hannan explained.

His immediate organising focus is in the UK ahead of this year's general election in opposition to Labour government tax hikes. The Saturday launch of the Brighton Tea Party will take place alongside the UK Conservative party's "Spring Forum" convention in the south-western city.

But the MEP believes that an anti-tax movement would have "enormous resonance across the EU."

"The paradox is that the US Tea Party movement is inspired by the slogan 'No taxation without representation' and they do actually elect their representatives. In the EU, there genuinely is taxation without representation," he said.

In the US, the protests have been hailed by figures such as right-wing talk radio commentator Rush Limbaugh and ex-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Democrats and progressives have called them "astroturf" - a fake grassroots campaign that in reality is bankrolled by corporations and conservative think-tanks.

The British version is backed by the Freedom Association, a libertarian pressure group of which Mr Hannan is a member.

The anti-tax element is not the only aspect of the US movement which the Tory politician admires, being also a strong critic of publicly funded healthcare.

Last year the MEP was branded an "eccentric" by his party leader, David Cameron, after he toured the US criticising Britain's National Health Service in a series of television appearances at the height of the summer's Tea Party protests.


Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves

The debate over Fidesz had become an unbearable political burden on EPP - but it also represented a core dilemma for many centre-right, mainstream parties struggling to deal with their populist challengers.

EPP group moves forward to suspend Orban's Fidesz

MEPs are scheduled to vote on Wednesday to change the rules of procedure of the centre-right European People's Party parliamentary group to allow the suspension of a member party.


The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them

Ideas that are attacked are actually being promulgated. That has been the case for centuries, at least as far back as Thomas Aquinas. And that is certainly the case today with Facebook and Twitter.

News in Brief

  1. EU regulator reviewing Russia's Covid-19 vaccine data
  2. Northern Irish paramilitaries pressure UK and EU on Brexit
  3. Man injures 8 people with axe in Sweden in possible terrorist act
  4. France bans far-right vigilante group
  5. EU dismayed as Lukashenko jails doctor over his diagnosis
  6. Brussels proposes EU-wide 'disabled status' card by 2023
  7. Czechs seek outside help to treat Covid-19 patients
  8. German intelligence to spy on far-right AfD party


EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. Austrian ex-minister joins list of EU's pro-Kremlin lobbyists
  2. Internal Frontex probe to deliver final report this week
  3. Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves
  4. EU capitals water down MEPs' ambition in climate law
  5. The EU's perverse agenda in Bosnia
  6. US joins EU sanctions on Russia in show of unity
  7. EU needs to 'raise price' for attacking democracy, MEPs say
  8. EU Parliament to hold Frontex probe behind closed doors

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us