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Fears over UK influence as Ukip MEPs miss one third of votes

Ukip MEPs have missed more than a third of all votes in the European Parliament since 2009 with policymakers warning it is undermining the UK’s influence on important financial services issues.

Data from the European Parliament shows Ukip MEPs turned up for just 65 per cent of European parliamentary votes in sessions between 2009 and July 2013.

The average attendance for all UK MEPs is 80 per cent but when Ukip is excluded this rises to 82 per cent.

EU figures show MEPs receive an £80,644 annual salary with a 3.5 per cent contributory pension, full travel costs, a £43,608 annual office budget plus £215,124 budget for staff wages.

Ukip MEPs voting table.jpg

MEP Godfrey Bloom, who quit Ukip last month, attended just 33 per cent of votes while party leader Nigel Farage turned up for just 47 per cent and deputy leader Paul Nuttall to just 45 per cent.

Farage did not turn up for a vote on the financial transaction tax while two MEPs failed to appear for a crucial vote on fund manager bonus caps in Ucits V.

Conservative MEPs turned up for 80 per cent of votes. Economic and monetary affairs committee member and MEP Syed Kamall had the worst voting record, missing more than 40 per cent of votes.

Labour MEPs turned up for 83 per cent of the votes while Liberal Democrat politicians had the highest attendance among the political parties with 88 per cent attendance at plenary votes.

Tory MEPs voting table.jpg

Conservative MEP Vicky Ford, who voted 85 per cent of the time, says: “The votes are so close and if Ukip is not in the room then we will lose the vote. Small numbers of votes regularly tip the balance.

“Every bit of detail is hammered out in a three-way meeting between the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of Ministers but on financial services I am often the only Brit in the room, or with LibDem MEP Sharon Bowles.

“Ukip has never once turned up to trialogue meetings. These negotiations are crucial to the UK and the City of London.

“The big scandal is they are invited to these meetings and do not bother to turn up.”

Labour MEPs voting table.jpg

A Ukip spokesman says it does turn up to narrow votes but its central purpose in Parliament is to push for an EU exit so it has no intention of policy engagement.

He says: “The purpose of a Ukip MEP is not to marginally mitigate the legislative procedure, it is to get Britain out.

“If Ukip’s achievements and performance are to be judged on whether we turn up to a committee to vote on whether a widget should be bigger then that is not what we are there for.”

The UK has 73 MEPs divided into 12 regions with the Conservatives having the largest number of 27, followed by Labour with 13, the Liberal Democrats with 12, Ukip with 11, the Greens with five and five from other parties.

In the 2009 election the Conservatives took 27.7 per cent of the vote, followed by Ukip on 16.5 per cent, Labour on 15.7 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 13.7 per cent.

Lib Dem MEPs voting table.jpg

Ahead of next year’s June European elections an Open Europe/Comres poll, published in May, put Ukip support at 27 per cent, a huge increase and on course to finish first.

The poll predicts Labour will see its share of the vote boosted to 23 per cent with the Conservatives on 21 per cent.

The polling figures have sparked fears the UK may lose further influence over crucial decisions if MEPs do not engage.

Cicero Brussels director Helena Walsh says EU rule-making has a real impact on people’s lives including financial services rules and low attendance shows a failure to represent constituents.

She says: “The Parliament has a vital role in the legislative process and the concern with low attendance by any party is the needs of constituencies who vote MEPs into Parliament, and the broader community that is impacted by regulations being drafted, are not represented.

“Taking the stance of voting no to all dossiers is one thing but it is another when you are not at the negotiation table in the first place.

“UK representation in EU lawmaking needs to remain strong.”

There is also uncertainty as the UK chair of the Econ committee Sharon Bowles is stepping down as an MEP come the elections in June.

Open Europe research director Stephen Booth says: “It is good people are aware of what Ukip MEPs are doing and to understand what they are voting for next year.

“It is not just here but across Europe where we are going to see Ukip or similar parties doing better, depending on the national context.

“There is a concern about what the Euro Parliament will look like after the next European elections. The big parties tend to be very integrationist but there are going to 20 per cent of MEPs from many member states who have no interest in the EU. It will create unpredictable outcomes and no one can say what it will mean.

“The European Parliament always has had some oddballs but it is growing more and more out of touch with the mainstream.”

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Comments

There are 14 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. ?The people that vote Ukip meps in want us to come out of the EU so sitting in the European parliament is not their top priority.

    Spreading the ukip message and forcing a referendum is their main priority.   Using MEP expenses to fund their campaign has been a clever strategy.

    It is the only way that a new party can break up the 3 party monopoly without massive donations (I know they UKIP have been getting some backers lately but without the success UKIP have had already they wouldn’t have got these backers).

    UKIP voters want out of the EU so spending money travelling around the UK (and across Europe) campaigning against the EU is exactly what his voters want, getting it all paid for by the EU makes his voters very happy. The wishes of the UKIP voters are being fulfilled so this is democracy working at it’s finest.

    Being in European Parliament also gives them a powerful platform to voice their opinions and spread their message to the rest of Europe and beyond – take a look at youtube for the way that their Parliamentary speeches are recieved so positively around the world.

  2. UKIP needs to get with the programme. The most influential position they can achieve is as a minor coalition partner and while their goal is to get the UK out of the EU, in the meantime they should be voting to get the best possible outcomes for the UK. Joe Public’s taxes don’t pay UKIP’s MEP’s to sit around scratching their back sides so get out there and work for your constituents!

  3. UKIP MEPs have given superb speeches in the European Parliament – they are freely available on YouTube. Please note that they are the most popular speeches on YouTube that have been given at the European Parliament .

  4. Pound Sterling.

    You’re entitled to your opinion. I certainly wouldn’t class them as superb. Rabble rousing as per the Nazi era maybe. Clownish perhaps. Very rude – certainly.

    When Khrushchev took off his shoe and banged it on the lectern – that too was a very popular sight. It didn’t mean that it was a good speech or well received. (Perhaps you are too young to remember?) It was just loutish. Just like UKIP (in my opinion – of course).

  5. angel lebowski: 1000% right, Nigel @ co do not get funded by big business, the media or unions, like the oppositions, so it is a well thought out strategy, and when Nigel and/or co are there they make an impact, more so than all the others put together. PLEASE VOTE UKIP

  6. Cue ball: MEPs salary and expenses are paid for by the EU and not directly out of Joe Publics taxes, this money comes from the 53mill we pay per day , all MEPs get this but few make as much impact as Nigel & Co. VOTE UKIP

  7. pound sterling. The speeches on U Tube are fascinating , interesting and to the point, it was watching and listening to them that first drew me to UKIP, in turn I told family and friends, all of whom now vote UKIP.

  8. Angel lebowski” Agree 100% , A good strategy of UKIP, they do not get funded by big business,the media or unions, in a way that is good cos they dont have to appease these people, they make more of an impact in 1 sitting than the the others do in 10. We can help by sending a donation, however small.

  9. angel lebowski: I agree with all you say in your post, people forget that UKIP is not funded by The media, big business or unions, so the strategy they have chosen is good. They are being kept out of the media for obvious reasons. I just happened to be browsing one day and came across speeches by Nigel and UKIP MEPs on u tube and I was hooked, I have since shown family and friends who are also now UKIP supporters. vote ukip

  10. Cue Ball: Joe Public does not directly pay UKIP, or any other MEP, they are given money by the EU to cover their expenses, travel, accommodation etc, this money is taken from the £53 million, we pay per DAY. And if it one thing Nigel & Co cannot be accused of it is sitting around “scratching their backsides” they are “OUT THERE” fighting for the rights of the British people.

  11. Harry Katz

    It’s interesting that you mention the Nazis. There is indeed an undercurrent of xenophobia in the UK that is increasing. Unfortunately, it is underpinned by real logistical problems such as:

    1) encouraged EU migration to the UK at a time when we have 20% youth unemployment.
    2) increasing burdens on hospitals and schools due to migration, e.g. – some schools in the UK now have English spoken as the minority language.
    3) Imported crime from Romania, which should get worse as boarder controls are dropped in 3 months time.
    4) An increasing population that is outstripping housing supply.
    etc. etc.

    In order to reverse these logistical reasons for xenophobia, people will increasing vote for UKIP and it is somewhat inevitable that we will get out of the EU and regain control of our boarders. It’s not a question of ‘if’ it’s a question of ‘when’ – review the above four trends that show no signs of slowing down.

    I realise that none of these things are truths you want to hear, but that’s just the way things are with most of the electorate who have normal jobs.

  12. Pound Sterling – before we get control over our ‘boarders’, shouldn’t we sort out the day pupils first?

  13. Thank you Smithy – you beat me to it.

    These people remind me of Al Murray, but at least Al is a professional comedian and a pretty intelligent bloke at that – these jokers aren’t even funny.

  14. Harry Katz and Smithy0364

    I reckon you are ‘going for the man instead of the ball’ because you’ve lost the argument and you are desperate to maintain some sort of feeling of superiority.

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