It would be difficult to find a more rock-solid veteran Tory MEP than Caroline Jackson. She has been an MEP for donkeys' years.
Today she writes in Conservative Home that the search for an alternative ally, other than the EPP, for the Tories to form a new group in the European Parliament, is a 'hopeless search':
I, and probably most Conservative MEPs, believe that the search for "other like minded parties" has already proved to be a hopeless one, and that further rooting about in the political undergrowth of Eastern Europe in particular demeans our party and will prove fruitless.
Dr Jackson argues that there is a way out of the mess, compliant with the pledge which Tory candidates for the next Euro elections are being asked to sign, which will allow the Tory MEPs to decide to stay with the EPP. But this, of course, would finally renege on Cameron's hasty leadership election pledge to leave the EPP.