Over the course of the last mandate I, along with my fellow Labour MEPs, witnessed how UKIP MEPs consistently abstained from almost all votes in the European Parliament. It defended its stance by arguing that participation in the parliamentary system would indicate it endorsed the very institution it so vehemently argues is an unnecessary bureaucracy.
On many occasions they had the opportunity to vote on matters they claim were at the heart of their ‘raison d’être.’ For instance, I recall one vote concerning how Parliament meets across two sites, i.e. Brussels and Strasbourg. Just four out of nine UKIP MEPs attended the vote. Despite turning up to the vote and it being on a subject which they claim to be so opposed to, they abstained!
The above is just one example but it does raise the question that if they are not going to vote then how do they represent the people who elected them not to mention represent value for money?
UKIP needs a more responsible approach to the European Parliament. As MEPs they have been elected to represent the interests (in Europe) of the British electorate but they fail to do so. And while they may argue it can be done just as effectively in other ways, refusing to participate in the legislative process not only alienates them but illustrates that they are in no way adequate, or dedicated to what is, in fact, their job.
For me it’s a great honour to have been elected as an MEP and it is a position and responsibility which I take very seriously.
I don’t know what UKIP’s plan will be going forward into the new mandate, I assume Farage has additional worries as he struggles to get enough support to form a political group.
Whatever his plans, it’s totally irresponsible and inadequate to adopt a policy which encourages your MEPs to abstain from all votes or to vote against, and if he wants to provide opposition it needs to be far more responsible and robust than what the party currently offers.
Ashley Mote at one of his many court appearances
An elected UK Independence Party MEP, who is a proven liar, has been up to his old tricks again this week. Thankfully the honest majority of MEPs were not going to let him get away with it.
In an e-mail circulated to all MEPs Ashley Mote declared that: “the EU is irredeemably corrupt and beyond salvation.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Mote it seems he is the corrupt one, having been convicted of £65,000 worth of benefit fraud. Even his own defence barrister said: “The shame is complete”. This was quickly pointed out to him in an open email response to him from a parliament worker.
But the dishonest Mr. Mote, not shamed by stealing from hardworking taxpayers, showed his incredible arrogance by attacking this as: “An attempt to get me silenced which has utterly failed. Now the subject of an appeal. No surprise that you forgot to mention it”.
It was left to Labour MEP Richard Corbett to finish Mr. Mote’s career by reminding the whole parliament of THIS BBC story saying he has lost his final appeal and has been ordered to repay the stolen money. Perhaps Ashley could let us know how much money he has repaid so far?
I will be pleased to see Ashley Mote lose his seat in the coming elections. Even UKIP with all their “colourful” men (no women at the top of their lists) have kicked him out. We should change the law so that any MP, MEP or other elected official going to prison for offences like these automatically loses their seat.
The European Parliament normally meets in Brussels. But 12 times a year it is obliged to hold a full session in the French city of Strasbourg. This is a ridiculous state of affairs, but unfortunately MEPs do not have the power to decide where the Parliament actually meets.
The requirement to meet in Strasbourg is written into a European treaty which former Tory Prime Minister John Major sadly signed up to in 1992. Any attempt to abolish Strasbourg would now require the agreement of all member states – something France has been resisting.
More than one million European citizens have signed an online petition ( www.oneseat.eu ) which calls for scrapping of the Strasbourg Parliament. Why not add your name to the petition?
MEPs were therefore delighted when, over the summer recess, the ceiling of the Strasbourg Parliament collapsed. MEPs were due to have two four-day-long meetings in Strasbourg this September. But, because of the repair work, the meetings have been relocated to take place in Brussels.
By holding all our meetings in Brussels this week, MEPs have clearly demonstrated that there is absolutely no reason to continue holding meetings in Strasbourg. The Parliament in Strasbourg sits empty for 307 days a year costs €200 million per year. The only reason for keeping it open is French national pride. That is certainly not worth €200 million a year.
I will certainly be continuing my campaign against the wasteful commute to Strasbourg. At the moment I’m investigating whether MEPs can use a legal loophole to abolish Strasbourg without having to change the European treaties.
Watch this space for more information.
UKIP have always said they wanted to bring the EU down from the inside.
They obviously failed, but are they trying to bankrupt the EU instead?
Tory MP Derek Conway was recently exposed for employing his two sons in his office while they were at university and working elsewhere. Allegedly neither of them actually did any work for their father as their allegiances were somewhere else. Although Conway denied this, he will not stand again for the House of Commons at the next general election.
Yesterday the European Parliament voted to ban MEPs employing their relatives. I was one of the large parliamentary majority who supported this measure.
Our allowances and expenses are rightly being closely scrutinised. It is important that you as taxpayers know what we receive and how we spend it.
UKIP’s candidate for Mayor of London, Gerard Batten, is obviously fighting hard to clear up corruption and improve financial transparency. On his campaign website he promises to “give Londoners value for money” and challenges Ken Livingstone’s “lies” over how much the London Assembly costs.
However, Batten is clearly concerned that he is not being treated seriously enough. On 4th April he wrote to the Guardian to complain that he wasn’t getting enough publicity. He said that “The way that some elements of the media have so far reported this election is a disgrace in a so-called democracy”
When not campaigning for Mayor of London, Batten is also a UKIP MEP for London. All MEPs have to submit a declaration of financial interests to the European Parliament every year. Unless MEPs expressly object, this is then made public on the European Parliament’s website.
There are nine MEPs for London but Batten is the only MEP who refuses to allow his declaration of financial interests to be made public on Parliament’s website.
Perhaps Batten might like to explain to the public why they can’t see who he’s taking money from before they vote for him.