While delighted that somebody has finally noticed there is a small error that could allow people to get of the hook. Though I do hope that the Tory membvership in Yorkshire remember this when it comes to their MEP selection in the next couple months, he was in fact ousted by Giles Chichester as leader of the Tory MEP delegation in November. Small issue I know, but annoying nonetheless.
MEPs face protest ban
Anyone drawing attention to the lack of democracy in the EU system of government is told that the democracy is vested in the European Parliament. The snag is that the "toy parliament" has no opposition. But on one issue a kind of opposition has lately emerged, in those 50-odd MEPs of various parties who are protesting at how the EU treaty is being railroaded through without referendums.
After last month's demonstration, in which these MEPs held up placards saying "Referendum" in the chamber, they have continued their campaign by various tactics, all within the rules, such as calling for electronic votes rather than a show of hands. This so enrages the authorities that 13 MEPs are now threatened with substantial fines.
Furthermore Hans-Gerd Pöttering, the parliament's German president, has complained to the "constitutional affairs committee" that the protesters were clearly intent on "obstructing the procedures of the House". He proposed that he should be able to ban anyone who, in his opinion, was indulging in such "practices", even if theywere within the rules.
The committee has agreed that he should be given this arbitrary power to suppress dissent, supported by Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the Tory MEPs (although seven of his Tory colleagues were among the protesters). It seems any vestiges of parliamentary opposition can now be silenced out of hand. We thus live, as I have said before, in what is in effect a one-party state.
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