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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”