UKIP MEP Graham Booth once quippeed that the voting system in European Parliamentary debates was so simple that "you could get 26 chimps to do the job....then we could all piss off and play golf." (The independent July 22nd 2004).
Over the last 12 months UKIPwatch has monitored the voting patterns of each UKIP member at the Parliamentary voting sessions which take place twice a month, once in Brussels and once in Strasbourg, to see if Mr Booth's theory does indeed prove true.
UKIP founder, Dr Alan Sked, has said that "UKIP's MEPs are a standing joke at Strasbourg, where their attendance record, even by the standards of most MEPs, is relatively poor." (The Sunday Telegraph May 30th 2004) It seems that this claim is completely justified.
Out of the 112 electronically registered, roll call votes, which MEPs have taken part in over the last 12 months, it can be seen that UKIP fail miserably in what they were elected to do, namely represent those who elected them.
Our calculations from the official records show that UKIP Leader in the European Parliament, Nigel Farage, took part in only 46% of votes over the last 12 months. But even he was out done in the non attendance stakes by Yorkshire and Humber MEP Godfrey Bloom, who only took part in 33% of votes. The most diligent UKIP Members proved to be Derek Clark, Gerard Batten and Tom Wise who attended just over 80% of votes.
Nevertheless, this comparatively high attendance record is less impressive when one considers their voting patterns. Out of the votes we monitored, East Midlands MEP, Derek Clark for example voted 91 times, with 77 of these votes being against the issue voted on. Seven of these votes were abstentions and four were secret ballot. Only 3 times did Derek Clark vote in favour of a proposal. Nigel Farage, proved just as unimaginative voting 41 times against the proposals, abstaining 6 times and voting only twice in favour.