Daniel Hannan

Daniel Hannan
Daniel Hannan
Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
Assumed office
14 July 1999
Personal details
Born 1 September 1971 (1971-09-01) (age 40)
Lima, Peru
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Sara Hannan
Children 2 [1]
Alma mater Oriel College, Oxford
Profession Journalist
Religion Christian
Website www.hannan.co.uk

Conservative Party website

Daniel John Hannan (born 1 September 1971[2]) is a British journalist, author and politician who is currently a Member of the European Parliament, representing South East England for the Conservative Party and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) political group. He is also the Secretary-General of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR).

Hannan was first elected to the European Parliament at the 1999 election. He was expelled from the European People's Party–European Democrats (EPP–ED) group in 2008, after which he sat with the Non-Inscrits. Hannan joined the ECR with his Conservative colleagues when it was formed in 2009 and became Secretary-General of its sister Europarty, the AECR. Hannan is a Eurosceptic and a Unionist, and he is strongly critical of European integration. He currently serves on the Committee on Legal Affairs and the delegation to the ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.[2]

Hannan is also a journalist, having written leaders and currently authoring a blog for The Daily Telegraph. He has also published several books arguing for democratic reform.


Early life


Hannan was born on his parents' farm near Lima, Peru (the centre of one of Peru's largest and most modern poultry businesses;[3] the family owned a cotton farm in Santa Cruz, Bolivia).[4] Hannan's father served in Italy during the Second World War with the North Irish Horse. Hannan has indicated that his father's Irish Catholic origins made him more sensitive to issues related to Northern Ireland and The Troubles.[5]

After spending his childhood in Peru, Hannan was educated at Marlborough College and by Oriel College, Oxford, where he studied Modern History.[6] He speaks English, French and Spanish.[7]

Early political career

Hannan was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) in 1992. When standing in OUCA's committee elections for Michaelmas 1991, his strongly Eurosceptic views prompted accusations of "xenophobia" in the Oxford student paper Cherwell, prompting Hannan to threaten them with legal action.[8] He also served as national vice-chairman of Conservative Students from 1992-3, and then chairman of Conservative Graduates from 1994.[9] He had earlier established the Oxford Campaign for an Independent Britain, and on 12 September 1992 led a members' protest at a European financial summit held in Bath, which was widely televised and, he has since light-heartedly claimed, led to the withdrawal of the Pound Sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism a few days later.[10]

Through the CIB he became involved with the Bruges Group, and after he graduated he became, in 1994, director of a Eurosceptic political think-tank, the European Research Group. In 1996 he was hired by the Daily Telegraph as a leader-writer,[9] and has since contributed to The Spectator and many other newspapers and magazines around the world. In 1997 he became an adviser and speechwriter to Michael Howard, then Shadow Foreign Secretary,[11] and in 1998 he was given a place on the Conservative candidates' list for the following year's European Parliament election. He later became a speechwriter for party leader William Hague. In 1999 he stood down from his posts at the European Research Group and Conservative Graduates.[9]

Member of the European Parliament

Hannan was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, and was re-elected at the top of his party's list for the South East England constituency in 2004. In April 2008, Daniel Hannan was elected to the top position of the Conservative list for the 2009 European elections in the constituency of South East England, and in June 2009 he was re-elected to the European Parliament.[12]

A year after his first election, Hannan courted controversy when he appeared to be using the Conservative Party's central office as headquarters for a campaign to persuade Danish voters to block the introduction of the European Single Currency; however, he was able to show that the campaign was actually being run from his Westminster flat.[13]

In his first term, he served on the Committee on Fisheries and the Delegation for Relations with Afghanistan.[2]

Opposition to the ICTY

Hannan has campaigned in the European Parliament for an end to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,[14] describing it as "a disgusting travesty," and has praised the work of John Laughland, a supporter of Slobodan Milošević who "chronicles, in pitiless detail, how the judges crashed through a series of legal norms and conventions in their increasingly frantic attempts to secure a conviction", though Hannan has taken what he claims to be "the more conventional view that Milosevic was a calculating Commie who unleashed a series of calamities". Hannan claimed in 2007 a system where international law was used to regulate domestic matters would "create the opportunity for a dictatorship far worse than Milošević's", because the courts could try democratic leaders, even though they themselves had no democratic mandate.[15]

Campaign against the Lisbon Treaty

Hannan opposed ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the European Parliament, and was one of several MEPs who took part in a demonstration in the chamber after Parliament voted to endorse the Treaty. He has continued to speak against the Treaty, and in the manner of Cato the Elder's famous call, Carthago delenda est, he ended every speech, whatever its subject, with a call for the Lisbon Treaty to be put to a referendum: "Pactio Olisipiensis censenda est".[16][17]

Expulsion from the EPP-ED

Attempts by several MEPs to disrupt the work of the Parliament caused sufficient annoyance for a majority of Members to endorse a rule change giving the Speaker/President the discretion to limit the use of filibustering procedures where he "is convinced that these are manifestly intended to cause, and will result in, a prolonged and serious obstruction of the procedures of the House or the rights of other Members" (Rule 20, para 1). In the parliamentary session just before the new rule was to be presented by the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering,[citation needed] Hannan criticised what he termed a deviation from the rule of law. He continued speaking after his allocated time had ended by quoting Edmund Burke, but was interrupted mid-quote and had his microphone cut off by Luigi Cocilovo, one of the 14 Vice-Presidents.[18] He then responded by damning, without vocal amplification, what he claimed were Parliament’s deviations from its own rules;[19][20]

An absolute majority is not the same as the rule of law. I accept that there is a minority in this house in favour of a referendum. That there is a minority in this house against the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. But this house must nonetheless follow its own rulebooks. And by popular acclamation to discard the rules under which we operate is indeed an act of arbitrary and despotic rule. It is only my regard for you Mr. Chairman and my personal affection for you that prevents me from likening it to the Ermächtigungsgesetz of 1933 which was also voted through by a parliamentary majority.

Pöttering is a German national and a member of the same political group (EPP-ED) as Hannan. Hannan's remarks were attacked by other MEPs from the EPP-ED. The head of EPP-ED, Joseph Daul, responded by initiating proceedings to expel Hannan immediately from their Group. Daniel Hannan left the EPP-ED on 19 February 2008. He sat, for the remainder of the five-year term as a Conservative without pan-European affiliation (Non-Inscrit).[citation needed] Following his 2009 re-election, he sits with the new eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists along with his Conservative Party colleagues.

YouTube hit

On 24 March 2009, after Gordon Brown had given a short speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg in advance of the G20 London summit, Hannan followed up by delivering a 3-minute speech criticising in very strong terms the response by Gordon Brown to the global financial crisis.[21] He finished the speech:

You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt. And when you repeat, in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others', that we are well placed to weather the storm, I have to tell you, you sound like a Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line. You know, and we know, and you know that we know that it's nonsense. Everyone knows that Britain is worse off than any other country as we go into these hard times. The IMF has said so. The European Commission has said so. The markets have said so, which is why our currency has devalued by thirty percent. And soon, the voters too will get their chance to say so. They can see what the markets have already seen: that you are the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government.[22]

The final phrase, "the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government", was a quote from a speech by Labour Party leader John Smith criticising then-Prime Minister John Major in 1992.[23]

A video clip of the speech went viral on YouTube that evening,[24][25] attracting more than 630,000 views in 24 hours.[21][26] It became the 'most viewed today' YouTube video worldwide two consecutive days.[26] Hannan was invited to appear on several shows on American cable news channels, including Fox News and MSNBC: he appeared on television program Hannity via video link at 9pm EST on the same day,[27] and on the Glenn Beck Program the following day.[28][29] He also appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto, where he stated he would have voted for Ron Paul in the 2008 presidential election had he been an American citizen.[30] The main British television channels, particularly the BBC and ITV, gave the speech fairly limited coverage, for which they faced some criticism from Conservative MPs and "a handful of viewers";[31] Conservative MP Nigel Evans stated that their lack of coverage rendered YouTube the 'ultimate in public service broadcasting'. As of July 2010, there have been 2.7 million views of the clip. Nearly all of the hits are from the UK and US.

Political positions

Cameron administration

Hannan wrote in March 2011 criticizing anti-austerity protesters, stating that that they "have decided to indulge their penchant for empty, futile, self-righteous indignation." He remarked, "After “No Cuts!” the marchers’ favourite slogan was “Fairness!” Alright, then... How about being fair to our children, whom we have freighted with a debt unprecedented in peacetime?"[32]

Electoral reform

Hannan argues in his writings and in the media (for example, during an appearance on Question Time on BBC television on 28 May 2009) for ballot initiatives (whereby electors can directly enact legislation as happens in Switzerland), a power of recall (whereby a sitting Member of Parliament can be forced to submit to re-election if enough of his local electorate support this), fixed term parliaments, local and national referendums, open primaries and the abolition of party lists.

Afghan and Iraq wars

Hannan supports the British efforts in the Afghanistan war after the September 11th attacks, pointing out that "more British subjects died in the Twin Towers than in any terrorist atrocity in our history – more than at Lockerbie or Omagh" (see Pan Am Flight 103 and Omagh bombing). He also supports a timetable for set military withdrawal from the country. He wrote in June 2010, "there comes a point when our presence is doing more harm than good, serving to destabilise Pakistan rather than to stabilise Afghanistan. We are reaching that point now."[33]

He opposed the Invasion of Iraq undertaken by the Premiership of Tony Blair.[34]


Hannan is opposed to "victimless crimes" and is in favour of drug decriminalisation. "I’d start with cannabis, and if that worked I wouldn’t in principle be against decriminalising heroin.”[35]

Commentary about the United States

Hannan describes himself as an Atlanticist with inherently positive views of the United States as well as other English-speaking nations. He endorsed then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama for President on 18 October 2008. He stated that a McCain presidency would mean an "imperial overstretch", particularly arguing that the U.S. should have been preparing to leave Iraq immediately. He labeled Obama's opponents as symbolic of "big federal budgets, protectionism, crony capitalism and, for that matter, the socialisation of failing banks."[36]

On 14 June 2010, Hannan took back his endorsement, which he called his "single most unpopular post" in his blogging career. He argued, "Any American reader who wants to know where Obamification will lead should spend a week with me in the European Parliament. I’m working in your future and, believe me, you won’t like it." He also accused the Obama administration of straining the special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K., particularly over the Falkland Islands.[37]

Comments on Iceland

Hannan has been a regular visitor to Iceland for 15 years. His best man organised his stag night there to celebrate its refusal to join the European Union, and has declared Icelanders to be the sturdiest and most self-reliant people he knows. Hannan's critics have pointed to his extravagant praise for Iceland's economic miracle prior to the 2008 crash, in which he advocated that other countries should emulate the Icelandic model of minimal national and international regulation as their model. In an October 2004 piece for The Spectator, entitled Blue-Eyed Sheikhs, Hannan wrote "For 70 years the Althing has been dominated by the splendidly named Independence Party, which has pursued the kind of Thatcherite agenda that is off limits to EU members ... Icelanders have no more desire to submit to international than to national regulation. That attitude has made them the happiest, freest and wealthiest people on earth. Long may they remain so". He also said "In the ten years that I have been travelling to Iceland, I have watched an economic miracle unfold there" and that "Today, Icelanders are absolutely rolling in it".[38][39]

Hannan has responded to Iceland’s crisis by writing that the country "would be mad to join the EU"; if they'd adopted the euro, their currency would have been unable to fall to cushion the blow. He continues to praise "the enterprise of your people. You understand that independence is the natural condition of a free-standing citizenry."[40] Iceland formally applied to join the EU in July 2009 after a narrow vote in the Icelandic parliament.[41] On his blog Hannan reacted to the news of the Icelandic EU application by claiming again that Iceland would never join the EU and pointing out that so far it had only "voted to start discussing terms, not to accept them". After all the issue would at the end be decided by the people in a referendum and they would never accept membership.[42]

In July 2010, Hannan wrote while on a visit in Iceland, "Reading the British press, you might have the impression that Iceland has collapsed... as in Mad Max." He wrote that, in contrast, "[l]ife there is better than in most EU states" and "[a]fter two decades of phenomenal growth, there has been a correction, and Icelanders are now living like Danes". Thus, he concluded that Iceland's status proved that other European nations did not have to bailout their banking systems to avoid economic chaos.[43] In December the same year Hannan wrote on his blog that "[b]eing outside the euro, Iceland has been able to devalue, and is now exporting its way back to growth." Referring to a recent article in The Economist he wrote: "No less a Euro-integrationist organ than The Economist has now come round to the view that Iceland was spared Ireland’s fate for two reasons: it refused to bail out its banks, and it was outside the euro."[44]

NHS criticism

In April 2009, he criticised supporters of the National Health Service, saying that those who claimed it was the greatest British invention were clearly forgetting about parliamentary democracy, penicillin, the discovery of DNA, the abolition of slavery, or common law.[45] He also argued that the NHS has left Britain with low survival rates for cancers, strokes, high chances of becoming iller in hospital, and constant waiting lists. David Cameron, who had said that his priorities were "three letters: NHS", distanced himself from Hannan's remarks, saying that Hannan has "some rather eccentric points of view".[46][47]

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Hannan said of the media storm around his comments:

"On a visit to the US, I was asked by an interviewer whether I would recommend a British-style health-care model, paid for out of general taxation. I replied that all three parties were devoted to the NHS, and that it had public support (although I added that this was at least partly the result of the inaccurate belief that free health care for the poor is a unique attribute of the British system). But I didn't want to dissemble: I have for years argued that Britain would be better off with a Singapore-style system of personal health-care accounts. So I cautioned against nationalisation, citing international league tables on survival rates and waiting times."[48]

Also making the wider point that: "we seem to have lost the notion that a backbencher speaks for himself. I like David Cameron, and want him to be Prime Minister, not least so that Britain stops racking up debt. But the idea that I therefore agree with him on every issue is, when you think about it, silly."[48]

Enoch Powell

It was reported in August 2009 that Hannan had praised the anti-immigrant Conservative politician Enoch Powell as "somebody who understood the importance of national democracy, who understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small-government Conservative."[49][50]

However, he is also on record as saying "For what it’s worth, I think Enoch Powell was wrong on immigration. The civil unrest that he forecast, and that many feared in 1968, didn’t materialise. Britain assimilated a large population with an ease that few countries have matched. Being an immigrant myself, I have particular cause to be grateful for Britain’s understated cosmopolitanism."[51]

The Times' associate editor Daniel Finkelstein said that "many immigrant families would find Dan's endorsement of Powell threatening and unpleasant, even though I am sure that was not his intent."[52]

Writing in on The Telegraph website, Mr Hannan said: "I’m surprised that no one has picked up on the thing that I most admire about Enoch Powell, namely his tendency to ignore conventional wisdom and think things through from first principles. Like Rowan Williams, he always did his hearers the courtesy of addressing them as intelligent adults. Both men regularly got into trouble in consequence, either because they were genuinely misunderstood or because their detractors affected to misunderstand them. Neither responded by dumbing down. That, in politics, takes a special kind of integrity."[53]


Hannan has been a leader writer for the Daily Telegraph since 1996.[54] He has also written for various other newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, the German daily Die Welt, the Swiss weekly Weltwoche, The Sunday Telegraph, The Catholic Herald, Freedom Today, the Brussels Journal and The Spectator.

He is the author of Time for a Fresh Start in Europe (1993) A Guide to the Amsterdam Treaty (1997), The Euro: Bad for Business (1998), The Challenge of the East (1999), What if Britain Votes No? (2002), The Case for EFTA (2004), and The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America (2010) and contributed to Treason at Maastricht (1994), by Rodney Atkinson and Norris McWhirter.[55]

He was the co-founder of Direct Democracy and co-author, along with 27 Conservative MPs elected in 2005, of Direct Democracy: An Agenda for a New Model Party, which proposes the wholesale devolution of power and the direct election of decision-makers. These ideas were developed further in a series of six pamphlets, The Localist Papers, serialised in The Daily Telegraph in 2007. In 2008, he published the book The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain together with Douglas Carswell.

Awards and prizes

In 2009 he was awarded the Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism for his Telegraph blog.[56]


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  3. ^ Frida Diaz Competitividade e Coordenação na Avicultura de Corte São Paulo, Brazil, Jabotico (2007)
  4. ^ Daniel Hannan Bolivia's potential racial war London, Daily Telegraph (2007-03-21)
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External links

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