The Socialist Group in the European Parliament have just published a press release in which Group Leader Martin Schulz is critical of the games being played by right wingers before Baroness Ashton’s hearing later this evening.

Tricks are undoubtedly being played but, Martin, it takes one to know one I think. Who was at the forefront of efforts in 2004 to ensure Rocco Buttiglione did not receive the nomination? Oh, that would be you Martin – even quoted by BBC News Online at the time. If this evening’s hearing was for a Commissioner from another political family then the Socialists would be the ones scheming like mad. So Martin, back Ashton by all means, but with grey areas in the rules and an EP election on the horizon to focus the mind, can anyone be remotely surprised that games are being played?

Elsewhere Mark Mardell has been trying to determine the tactic Nigel Farage of UKIP is going to adopt, while Nosemonkey has more detailed background. Ashton’s answers to written questions tabled by MEPs are can be found here.

Mardell also wites “I am looking forward to hearing Cathy Ashton’s (we don’t call her baroness, in Brussels, evidently) grilling tonight.” Well that could be because the Commission doesn’t want to point out that she’s a member of the House of Lords, and hence why her nomination might not be strictly legal.

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