Gender make-up of the new European Parliament

Labour Party

Gender Balance 2014

I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the gender balance of the new European Parliament.

The Parliament has always been ahead of the curve in terms of gender representation, with a steady increase in the number of female MEPs with every election since its inception. In 2009, thirty-five per cent of MEPs elected were women, and this time it was thirty-seven per cent. This somewhat puts to shame the UK parliament which currently only has twenty-two per cent female MPs with little hope for significant change at the general election next year.

Which is why is slightly surprising to see that within the UK delegation to the European Parliament, women make-up forty-one per cent of representatives (30/73). This might be in large part down to Labour efforts to get more female MEPs, with eleven of our twenty seats going to women. It’s the first time that women have made up more than fifty per cent of the Labour delegation here and it is a very encouraging sign.

The Conservatives have only six women in their ranks of nineteen, while UKIP have a rather measly seven of their twenty-four. The Conservatives have never been very good on this issue, with only fifteen per cent of their MPs in Westminster being women, and they don’t seem to be any closer to addressing the issue as I discussed in a recent blog.

I must admit that UKIP have made some improvements since last time, where they only had two female MEPs in 2009. They had even fewer by the end of the parliamentary term though, with Marta Andreasen and Nikki Sinclaire leaving the party, both citing various reasons of which the sexism and chauvinism of their colleagues were prominent. I hope that this current group of UKIP MEPs can be slightly more accommodating to their female colleagues, but I don’t have much hope.

Country by Country Break Down 2014

From the Archive: Nigel Farage accused of being Stalinist and anti-women

Labour Party

This blog comes from February of this year at a time when Marta Andreasen MEP was thinking about quitting UKIP.  Well for any of you who don’t know, she did quit in the end and is now a member of the Conservative party and is part of the European Conservative and Reformist group.  Seemingly the bullying, sexism and general chauvanism that characterises the UKIP delegation in the European Parliament became too much for her.  I think I probably disagree with Marta on a good many things, but on this I can feel nothing but sympathy for her; having to work with the likes of Farage, Bloom, and Batten can’t have been easy.

Nigel Farage accused of being Stalinist and anti-women

Political aficionadas, not to mention geeks, may remember when UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom told the world way back in 2004 that a woman’s place was cleaning behind the fridge.

Incredibly, UKIP misogyny has just got much worse. Marta Andreasen, their only woman MEP, has launched a searing attack on Nigel Farage. “He (Farage) doesn’t try to involve intelligent professional women in positions of responsibility in the party. He thinks women should be in the kitchen or in the bedroom.” she told the BBC.

Marta Andreasen, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, has said she is unlikely to stand as a UKIP candidate next year. Andreasen, who worked for the European Commission before joining UKIP and being elected in 2009, told the BBC that “if things don’t change” within the party “she can’t imagine a way to continue”.

Andreasen continued by telling the BBC that she had been openly criticised by her party leader and other MEPs, suggesting that this amounted to bullying. “I’ve been bullied, in private situations, for decisions I have made by Nigel. I have been accused of being disloyal, breaching confidence and breaching my contract with the party. There’s an attitude that either you keep silent about everything that’s been going on in the party or suffer the consequences.” Ms Andreasen said she believed Mr Farage – who was re-elected as leader in 2010 after standing down a year earlier to contest a Westminster seat – “did not like women”.

Farage’s views on women are not, apparently, the only problem. Ms Andreasen told LondonlovesBusiness.com: “Under his (Farage’s) leadership – and I have questioned his leadership obviously a number of times – the party (UKIP) has become a dictatorship. This is a Stalinist way of operating and he doesn’t care about the membership or the grassroots.”

Andeasen says she plans to stay in the European Parliament as a UKIP representative until the end of the current Parliament in 2014, to see out her mandate and “look for ways I can continue to represent the membership”. She may consider standing as an independent next year.

It’s worth remembering former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire, a lesbian, who won a sex discrimination case against her former colleagues on a default judgement at Exeter Employment Tribunal after UKIP failed to lodge a defence. Sinclaire claimed UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom had called her “queer”.

From the Archive: UKIP provide further proof of their far-right leanings

Labour Party

UKIP have proved time and time again that they are a great deal more extreme in their politics than they would have you believe as these archives blog seem to be proving.  This blog was originally posted last year when a number of MEPs joined UKIP’s European Parliament political group the Europe for Freedom and Democracy party.  The most worrying among them is Slavi Binev, formerly of the Hungarian political party Attack, an extreme right wing organisation.

UKIP provide further proof of their far-right leanings

This morning in the plenary chamber Martin Schulz announced that two MEPs have joined UKIP’s Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) political grouping.  

The first of these is Mike Nattrass, though he is actually rejoining after quitting the group in June 2010.  Mr Nattrass left the group because, as he said, he did not want to sit with MEPs “who do not wish to leave the EU and have very odd views on many issues which are incompatible with my own”. He also said that by remaining a member of the EFD he “would be condoning this progressive destruction of our cherished institutions” and would be ‘far more effective’ as a non-attached MEP.

Perhaps more intriguingly, the newest member of the EFD is Slavcho (aka Slavi) Binev from Bulgaria.  Mr Binev was elected in 2009 as an MEP for Attack, a far-right nationalist party, that he has since left.  The Attack party has been involved in a number of scandals, most notably in 2006 when then leader Dimitar Stoyanov made racist and misogynistic remarks about another Bulgarian MEP.  What’s more Mr Binev was named in a 2005 US diplomatic cable on organised crime as heading the MIG entertainment group whose ”criminal activities include prostitution, narcotics, and trafficking stolen automobiles”.

UKIP are a strange bunch with stranger friends and this acceptance of Slavi Binev is further proof.  It’s worth remembering another person who felt the need to leave the EFD, Nikki Sinclaire who resigned from the EFD citing her displeasure at what she claims to be some of the racist, extremist parties that belong to the group.  Sinclaire was subsequently expelled from UKIP for refusing to be part of the EFD group, but went on to win an Employment Tribunal claim for sex discrimination against them.

Farage may be feeling confident after UKIP’s showing in the recent by-elections, but he should show a bit more care about his public perception.  I have already spoken about Godfrey Bloom’s sharing wine with fascist leader Marine le Pen and now Farage has decided to campaign against gay marriage in order to steal votes from the Tories.  Farage, it appears, is well on the way to exposing the extreme-right and bigoted character of UKIP.

From the Archive: UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

Labour Party

This is a blog from 7 June 2011 regarding  the defection of David Campbell-Bannerman from UKIP to the Conservatives.  UKIP have continued to have problems holding on to their MEPs. Since this blog was written Marta Andreasen’s public row with UKIP leader Nigel Farage has resulted in her defecting to the Tories.

UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

David Campbell-Bannerman who defected last month from UKIP to the Conservatives has written an interesting justification on Conservative Home. He argues that the Conservatives are the best placed party to secure Britain leaving the European Union:

‘I believe it is only the Conservative Party that can realistically offer a way out of the EU, through a future manifesto or through support for an In/Out referendum.’

I do wonder when he applied for membership which David Cameron  category of UKIP member he was listed under – fruitcake/loony/closet racist?

This does seem a very sudden decision, as in the current edition of this newspaper David Campbell-Bannerman criticises the Conservative-lead government’s defence and foreign policy in very robust terms. UKIP reaction has alleged careerism, and this image from the Independence Home website encapsulates many of their views.

I think the British media generally still underestimate how Eurosceptic the Conservative Party is, and this defection makes the Conservative MEPs an even more right wing grouping. UKIP do have a singular ability to lose MEPs. In the 2004-9 Parliamentary term a quarter of its MEPs departed for the delights of Spain and Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Since 2009 Nikki Sinclaire MEP no longer follows the UKIP whip following her complaints about homophobia and now another MEP leaves. Nigel Farage and Marta Andreasen are conducting a very public row at present. It will be little surprise if we reach the 2014 European elections with a quarter or more of UKIP MEPs no longer representing the Party the public thought they were voting for.

Nigel Farage accused of being Stalinist and anti-women

Labour Party

Political aficionadas, not to mention geeks, may remember when UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom told the world way back in 2004 that a woman’s place was cleaning behind the fridge.

Incredibly, UKIP misogyny has just got much worse. Marta Andreasen, their only woman MEP, has launched a searing attack on Nigel “too much air time” Farage. “He (Farage) doesn’t try to involve intelligent professional women in positions of responsibility in the party. He thinks women should be in the kitchen or in the bedroom.” she told the BBC.

Marta Andreasen, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, has said she is unlikely to stand as a UKIP candidate next year. Andreasen, who worked for the European Commission before joining UKIP and being elected in 2009, told the BBC that “if things don’t change” within the party “she can’t imagine a way to continue”.

Andreasen continued by telling the BBC that she had been openly criticised by her party leader and other MEPs, suggesting that this amounted to bullying. “I’ve been bullied, in private situations, for decisions I have made by Nigel. I have been accused of being disloyal, breaching confidence and breaching my contract with the party. There’s an attitude that either you keep silent about everything that’s been going on in the party or suffer the consequences.” Ms Andreasen said she believed Mr Farage – who was re-elected as leader in 2010 after standing down a year earlier to contest a Westminster seat – “did not like women”.

Farage’s views on women are not, apparently, the only problem. Ms Andreasen told LondonlovesBusiness.com: “Under his (Farage’s) leadership – and I have questioned his leadership obviously a number of times – the party (UKIP) has become a dictatorship. This is a Stalinist way of operating and he doesn’t care about the membership or the grassroots.”

Andeasen says she plans to stay in the European Parliament as a UKIP representative until the end of the current Parliament in 2014, to see out her mandate and “look for ways I can continue to represent the membership”. She may consider standing as an independent next year.

It’s worth remembering former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire, a lesbian, who won a sex discrimination case against her former colleagues on a default judgement at Exeter Employment Tribunal after UKIP failed to lodge a defence. Sinclaire claimed UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom had called her “queer”.

UKIP provide further proof of their far-right leanings

Labour Party

This morning in the plenary chamber Martin Schulz announced that two MEPs have joined UKIP’s Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) political grouping.  

The first of these is Mike Nattrass, though he is actually rejoining after quitting the group in June 2010.  Mr Nattrass left the group because, as he said, he did not want to sit with MEPs “who do not wish to leave the EU and have very odd views on many issues which are incompatible with my own”. He also said that by remaining a member of the EFD he “would be condoning this progressive destruction of our cherished institutions” and would be ‘far more effective’ as a non-attached MEP.

Perhaps more intriguingly, the newest member of the EFD is Slavcho (aka Slavi) Binev from Bulgaria.  Mr Binev was elected in 2009 as an MEP for Attack, a far-right nationalist party, that he has since left.  The Attack party has been involved in a number of scandals, most notably in 2006 when then leader Dimitar Stoyanov made racist and misogynistic remarks about another Bulgarian MEP.  What’s more Mr Binev was named in a 2005 US diplomatic cable on organised crime as heading the MIG entertainment group whose “criminal activities include prostitution, narcotics, and trafficking stolen automobiles”.

UKIP are a strange bunch with stranger friends and this acceptance of Slavi Binev is further proof.  It’s worth remembering another person who felt the need to leave the EFD, Nikki Sinclaire who resigned from the EFD citing her displeasure at what she claims to be some of the racist, extremist parties that belong to the group.  Sinclaire was subsequently expelled from UKIP for refusing to be part of the EFD group, but went on to win an Employment Tribunal claim for sex discrimination against them.

Farage may be feeling confident after UKIP’s showing in the recent by-elections, but he should show a bit more care about his public perception.  I have already spoken about Godfrey Bloom’s sharing wine with fascist leader Marine le Pen and now Farage has decided to campaign against gay marriage in order to steal votes from the Tories.  Farage, it appears, is well on the way to exposing the extreme-right and bigoted character of UKIP.

UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

Labour Party

David Campbell-Bannerman who defected last month from UKIP to the Conservatives has written an interesting justification on Conservative Home. He argues that the Conservatives are the best placed party to secure Britain leaving the European Union:

‘I believe it is only the Conservative Party that can realistically offer a way out of the EU, through a future manifesto or through support for an In/Out referendum.’

I do wonder when he applied for membership which David Cameron  category of UKIP member he was listed under – fruitcake/loony/closet racist?

This does seem a very sudden decision, as in the current edition of this newspaper David Campbell-Bannerman criticises the Conservative-lead government’s defence and foreign policy in very robust terms. UKIP reaction has alleged careerism, and this image from the Independence Home website encapsulates many of their views.

I think the British media generally still underestimate how Eurosceptic the Conservative Party is, and this defection makes the Conservative MEPs an even more right wing grouping. UKIP do have a singular ability to lose MEPs. In the 2004-9 Parliamentary term a quarter of its MEPs departed for the delights of Spain and Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Since 2009 Nikki Sinclaire MEP no longer follows the UKIP whip following her complaints about homophobia and now another MEP leaves. Nigel Farage and Marta Andreasen are conducting a very public row at present. It will be little surprise if we reach the 2014 European elections with a quarter or more of UKIP MEPs no longer representing the Party the public thought they were voting for.

Chris Grayling for Europe portfolio?

Labour Party

I hope you had a good Easter break. I took the opportunity to do a little spring cleaning and clearing out.

One of the blasts from the past I found was my first newsletter as a MEP in Spring 2001 before  Labour’s second landslide. After 9 years it is strange how little things have changed. My headline article said…

“Tory MEPs Forge Links With Far Right

UKIP the UK Independent Party has been behaving even more erratically than usual in the last few months. With the defection of one of its MEPs and the unprecedented criticism by its founder, Alan Sked in the Spectator recently one would think that the Conservative Party would at least wish to be seen to distance themselves from a Party whose published aims include trying to woo BNP supporters.

Yet the Tories seem unconcerned by this, demonstrated by attempts to bribe UKIP into not standing candidates in seats where this would be detrimental to the Conservative Party. More worrying is the behaviour of 11 Euro sceptic Tory MEPs who are forging links with Italian extreme nationalist party Alleanza Nationale.”

How little some things change. UKIP erratic, that’s situation normal after a decade of seing them in action. UKIP losing a MEP, that’s become such a  regular event I sometimes wonder whether UKIP members hold sweepstakes on who is likely to leave next with Nikki Sinclaire the latest departure.

What strikes me now as naive is my thinking “that the Conservative Party would at least wish to be seen to distance themselves from a Party whose published aims include trying to woo BNP supporters.” Over the last decade the Conservative Party in Europe has moved steadily rightwards and this has culminated in them leaving the traditional centre right European Peoples Party to found their own ECR group with various far right parties across Europe. The 11 Eurosceptic MEPs have won

With the election called Europe should be a bigger issue. The Conservative record in Europe demonstrates a record that deserves the “nasty party” label. When Chris Grayling was caught out on gay rights he was only expressing views that Conservative MEPs in Europe tolerate on a daily basis. (Incidentally I stayed in a wonderful gay owned Bed & Breakfast for Labour Party Conference at Brighton last year – I wonder what happens when the Conservatives come to stay, do they have people checking out on the first night?) David Cameron has been allowed to say nothing when he should have sacked or demoted Grayling. The Conservatives still treat gay people as second class citizens. If Chris Grayling had been supporting the rights of Bed & Breakfast owners to not allow black people to stay he would have been instantly vaporised politically. Gay people, oh we’ll just ride that out say the Tories and hope it goes away. The obvious job for Chris Grayling has to be the Europe Portfolio, you just know that Chris Grayling would feel so much more at home with the Conservative Party’s Polish partners homophobic views.

The Conservatives will be keen to keep Europe off the General Election agenda. Despite a vocal minority, whenever Europe is voted on in General Elections the majority of British people consistently support pro-European parties. They recognise we live in a complex interdependent world and want to work with our European neighbours, not isolate themselves. I predict that the majority of the popular vote will favour pro-European parties again.