Quick recap: I wrote to my MEPs asking them to make an evidence-based decision about the regulation of New Breeding Techniques, and a UKIP MEP’s political advisor replied that he has “no mandate to support legislative proposals from the unelected European Commission”.
I emailed him back to clarify the situation, to which I got more info about why Britain should leave the EU (and a link to Nigel Farage’s book – let me know if you’re aching to read it…). I wanted to be sure I’d understood him correctly in relation to my original query, so I posed the question:
“For the McIntyre Report, am I right in thinking that there was indeed a vote, but that Mr Agnew decided not to participate because he does not wish to further the aims of the EU?”
“That is correct. UKIP MEPs often get accused of not doing their jobs when they either abstain or choose not to vote but people forget that they were elected with a large mandate on a platform of withdrawal from the EU and it would be hypocritical of them to actively participate in supporting new EU laws which take further powers away from the UK Government and Parliament. Where UKIPs are active is in voting for or against amendments to proposed legislation. Sometimes they can influence the legislation in such a way that it mitigates its effects, so that the UK Government retains some influence in the matter. However, they rarely take part in the final vote, unless it is to vote against.
“It is a difficult path to follow as constituents often get very uptight about them not supporting legislation that is their particular bonnettary bee! However, a principle is a principle and we need more politicians who are prepared to stand by the principles upon which they were elected. A topical example being David Cameron who was elected on a platform of reducing immigration to the ‘tens of thousands’ but each new batch of statistics shows us that it is in the hundreds of thousands.
“In this instance, the McIntyre report was non-legislative, in other words, a recommendation which may or may not be picked up by the European Commission at a later date. Mr Agnew did not vote. It was passed by 454 votes to 177. As you can see, even if all 73 UK MEPs vote against anything in the European Parliament, they have very little chance of stopping anything going through. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of the 73 are very pro-EU and will faithfully support everything, this includes, Labour, Lib Dem and quite a few Conservative MEPs.
“Please note the web address below, which you can use to monitor voting in the European Parliament: http://www.votewatch.eu/”
How terrible that his uptight constituents are cross when he doesn’t use his influence on issues which are important to them, and that his fellow MEPs actually like the EU…
I did want to highlight one bit of the earlier email which I haven’t recorded in its entirety: “The other political parties, for reasons best known to themselves, still believe that the UK should be a member of the EU…” If he doesn’t know why his fellow politicians want to remain, then he can’t have seen any news reports for the past few months. Maybe it is possible to live in a bubble and hear no Brexit-related news. I’m up for it!
I am genuinely grateful for his advisor taking the time to email me, even if it contained a subtle warning not to get uptight about issues that are my bonnettary bee. Sadly I wasn’t brave enough to ask whether Stuart Agnew MEP would resign if we vote to remain in the EU.
If he doesn’t like the lack of influence he has in that vote, perhaps he should trying being a liberal/left-wing voter in Hertfordshire.