Roger Helmer (born 25 January 1944 in London) is a British politician and a Conservative Party Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands region. He has described himself as a eurosceptic and is a supporter of the Better Off Out campaign.
He was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999 as a Conservative Party MEP, and re-elected in 2004. He was subsequently suspended from the party Whip on 26 May, 2005 after voting against party instructions on a motion to censure the European Commission and openly criticising his delegation leader, Timothy Kirkhope, in a parliamentary debate As of 13 September 2006, he has had the Conservative party whip restored However, he still sits as a Non-attached Member, and not in the EPP-ED Group to which most other Conservative MEPs belong.
Mr Helmer currently sits on two European Parliamentary committees (Employment and Petitions), and is a member of the delegation to South East Asian countries and a substitute member of the delegation to Korea.
He started his business career in 1965 with Procter & Gamble in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, going on to hold senior marketing and general management appointments in a range of companies, including Readers Digest, National Semiconductor, Coats Viyella and the whisky firm United Distillers, now part of the drinks conglomerate Diageo. During the course of his business career he lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea, and ran businesses in the Philippines, Vietnam, Guam and Saipan.
Mr Helmer has developed close relationships with conservative political groups in the USA, and has been a regular speaker at American conferences. He was recently appointed Adam Smith Scholar by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
As a eurosceptic, he has earned a reputation for his forthright approach to the question of the UK's relationship with the European Union. He has for many years been adamantly opposed to further UK-EU integration. Having initially advocated the Conservative policy of renegotiating the EU treaties, since 2006 he has been a supporter of the Better Off Out campaign, calling for the UK to leave the EU
In April 2004, Mr Helmer was named by Friends of the Earth as one of the worst voting MEPs on environmental issues, voting in an environmentally friendly manner in only one out of ten possible "eco-friendly" votes.
In December 2005, on the close of negotiations between Member States heads of government for the European Union's budget, which led to a sizeable reduction in the British rebate won by Margaret Thatcher, Mr Helmer was involved in heated exchanges with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the European Parliament chamber. He said that the deal was "treachery" and that the Prime Minister was "giving away a huge sum of money simply as a fig leaf for your failure."
Mr Helmer has published two books on European issues, "Straight Talking on Europe" in 2000, and "A Declaration of Independence" in 2002. In April 2006 he contributed an article on "Austria and the EU Constitution" to the blog Make Socialism History.
He became Chairman of The Freedom Association in April 2007.
On Homosexuality: "Why is it that some groups in society, notably homosexuals, seem to regard almost any reference to themselves as automatically pejorative? It suggests a terminal lack of self-respect and self-confidence, an over-developed sense of victim-hood, a mighty chip on the shoulder."
On Greenhouse Gas Emissions: "The greenhouse effect of CO2 is logarithmic, a law of diminishing returns. In greenhouse terms, the atmosphere is already saturated with CO2, and further emissions will have very little effect."