Friday, February 01, 2008

Forked tongues

If you read this,

Sir - Britain's patio heaters, which some MEPs want to ban, produce around 22,200 tonnes of CO? a year (report, January 31).This is only 2,000 tonnes more than the European parliament is estimated to emit unnecessarily travelling from Brussels to Strasbourg every month.

Perhaps if the European parliament wants to improve energy efficiency, we should begin by ending this pointless monthly waste.

Richard Ashworth MEP (Con), Brussels

You would no doubt come the conclusion that I did. That is that Mr Ashworth voted against this daft proposal.

However you would be wrong, becuse if you go to the Roll Call Vote results for the Hall report (pg 54) you would find that Mr Ashworth, along with most of his Conservative and all of his Labour and Liberal Democrat colleagues voted in favour of the report, and thus voted in favour of banning patio heaters.

Incidentally the Conservative Whip on this report was at sixes and sevens, Callanan, Deva and Sturdy voted against Syed Kemal abstained and a few failed to register to vote. Most peculiar.
My guess is that he wrote the letter to the Telegraph, failed to read his voting list, or at least failed to understand it, went down to the chamber and voted as he was told.
Chris Booker has picked this up in today's Sunday Telegraph,

Tory MEP is hoist with his own canard
When smoking was banned in English pubs last July, many landlords realised that the only way to keep a good many of their customers was to install patio heaters.
As the Irish discovered when they introduced a smoking ban, the only pubs that didn't lose business were those that bought heaters, allowing smokers to continue their wicked habit in relative comfort outside. English publicans accordingly spent £85 million following suit.

But then up jumped Friends of the Earth to demand that, since these heaters give off carbon dioxide, they too should be banned. This naturally made a huge impression on the greenie Lib Dems, with the eventual result that last Thursday one of their MEPs moved a motion in the European Parliament calling on Brussels to ban patio heaters.
So imbued are MEPS with a priggish desire to save the planet that 526 voted for the ban, with only 26 against.

In a letter in next day's Daily Telegraph, a Tory MEP, Richard Ashworth, pointed out that the amount of carbon dioxide saved by banning patio heaters in the EU was only slightly less than the amount emitted every year by MEPs themselves, as they engage in the laborious farce of transferring the entire European Parliament every month from Brussels to Strasbourg. Apart from the car, train and plane journeys of the MEPs, this involves a convoy of some 60 trucks trundling 100 miles between the two cities and back again, loaded with trunks-full of parliamentary papers.

Mr Ashworth will doubtless have won plaudits from Telegraph readers reading his letter over the marmalade, for such a telling comment.

But any who then bothered to examine the list of those 526 MEPs who supported this absurd ban might have been surprised to see among them the name of Mr Ashworth.


Budgie said...

Or alternatively the EU officials are mistaken/lying. Was this a show of hands vote?

Elaib Harvey said...

No it was as I point out an RCV vote, if you click on the link you will find Mr Ashworth is in the + section of the HAll vote.

Vindico said...

I have gone through the RCV and listed the UK MEPs who voted for and against here