UKIP’s MEPs: always losers…often absent…
and nearly always negative
In June 2004 the UK Independence Party won an unprecedented 12 seats in the European Parliament, four times as many as their previous best.
Previously a small fringe party, UKIP benefited from a surge in popularity mainly brought about by the ousted ex TV presenter Robert Kilroy Silk, and a huge cash injection from millionaire businessman Paul Sykes.
UKIP's MEPs came to the European Parliament in July 2004 threatening to "bring it down from the inside". So far during the life of this parliament, UKIP MEPs have had zero political impact, failed to live up to their own expectations, arguably failed to fulfill their responsibilities as elected representatives, and in many cases not even bothered to vote!
UKIPwatch.org has monitored the voting behaviour of each UKIP MEP in parliamentary voting sessions in Brussels and Strasbourg over the last 16 months. We have monitored their votes in particular in roll call votes in the Parliament – in such votes there is a record of which way each MEP votes and, of course, which MEPs failed to vote at all.
Overall the UKIP voting record shows that UKIP’s MEPs are not only regularly absent but also that they overwhelmingly vote against nearly everything in front of them, apparently regardless of the substance of the issue.
Our calculations from the official records of the European Parliament show that UKIP’s leader in the European Parliament, Nigel Farage for example, has taken part in only just over half of the roll call votes held on final resolutions adopted by Parliament. But even he was out-done in the non-voting stakes by Yorkshire and Humber MEP Godfrey Bloom, who only took part in 39% of roll call votes. The most diligent UKIP Members proved to be Derek Clark, Gerard Batten and Tom Wise, who participated in just over 80% of votes.
Nevertheless, their comparatively high voting record is less impressive when one considers how they voted.
Out of the 171 votes we monitored, UKIP MEPs voted on average 80% of the time against the issue at stake. Of the mere 78 times UKIP leader Roger Knapman actually voted, for example, on no less than 68 occasions he voted negatively. Seven of his votes were abstentions and three were by secret ballot. Only 3 times did Knapman vote in favour of a proposal. Nigel Farage proved just as unimaginative, voting 74 times against, abstaining 9 times and voting in favour only three times.
Our research reveals that of all the recorded parliamentary votes monitored, UKIP’s MEPs have only once, in 16 months, been on the winning side.
So what has UKIP achieved in Europe?
The answer to this question is of course very little. Although it can be expected that UKIP MEPs will vote against issues which call for further co-operation among EU member states, their voting record shows that they tend to show a blatant disregard not only for British interests but even for humanitarian issues.
UKIP MEPs have abstained on motions to:
• Help the victims of the 2004 Tsunami disaster
• Assist the sisters of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney, in their fight for justice
• create a single seat for the European Parliament saving the European tax payer €200m a year.
UKIP MEPs have voted against:
• Efforts to manage climate change
• Enlargement of the EU
• Efforts to assist the victims of drought and forest fires in France, Spain and Portugal in the summer of 2005.
• Efforts to reduce road accident deaths
• Efforts to fight organised crime
• Initiatives which allow cities such as Liverpool to hold the title 'capital of culture.'
• Stricter minimum standards for granting or refusing refugee status.
• The conduct of the Iranian regime
So what has UKIP voted in favour of?
One of the few times UKIP MEPs voted in favour of a proposal was when their own leader in the European Parliament Nigel Farage called for the censure of European Commission President José Barroso over an alleged conflict of interest which he believed resulted from a company (owned by Barroso's long time friend, Greek business tycoon Spiros Latsis) receiving state aid.
The motion failed miserably when put before the Parliament. A massive 589 MEPs rejected UKIP's motion, a clear signal that UKIP’s attempt to censure Barroso amounted to nothing more than an opportunistic and disproportionate publicity stunt. Even the likes of Jean Marie Le Pen (who usually votes the same way as UKIP) this time voted against them.
UKIPs voting record speaks for itself. The party whose members were elected in order to defend British interests barely even bother to vote where key European - and British - interests are at stake. It can hardly be said they are doing the job they were elected to do.
Source: European Parliament Minutes