Friday, March 5

Nigel fined for "offensive" comments

Nigel Farage has been fined by the President of the European Parliament and will forfeit 10 days of his daily subsistence allowance.

Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, wrote to Nigel following a meeting in which Buzek invited NF to withdraw the remarks (made in a Parliamentary sitting on 24th February) to President Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. According to the letter, NF made it clear to Buzek that he had no intention of retraction.

Mr Buzek said "I attach the highest importance to freedom of speech. I fought for decades in my own country for such freedom. I have complete respect for your right to express the views you may hold on the policies and institutions of the European Union. However, as I explained to you today and on previous occasions, it is not possible to exercise the freedom which we all hold dear without respecting the dignity of others and of the institution in which we both sit. I do not believe that freedom of speech in the Parliament can extend to insulting other persons, especially guests speaking, at our invitation, in the chamber.

I consider that, unfortunately, some of the comments which you made on 24 February were offensive both to Mr Van Rompuy personally and to the member state from which he comes. Such behaviour is, in my view, inappropriate and disrespectful to the dignity of the Parliament. The very foundation of parliamentarism and democracy is that freedom of expression should respect others".

UKIPwatcher understands that Mr Van Rompuy was inundated with emails of support from UK citizens angered by NF's comments. While Nigel may have wanted to raise his profile in the run up to a General Election, sometimes these kind of stunts have a habit of backfiring.


Very careless to lose an MEP so soon after the election

The year is not yet out since the European elections but it looks like this parliamentary cycle is following the same path as the last one. The Times reports that UKIP have withdrawn the whip from Nikki Sinclaire MEP. She has been removed from UKIP's website which has a statement on it which reads:

Thursday, 4th March 2010

Nikki Sinclaire says that her political views are incompatible with those of some members of the EFD Group in the European parliament, of which the UKIP MEPs form part. So she has been sitting as an unattached MEP since 18th January 2010.

She has also proved unable to collaborate adequately with the voluntary party in the United Kingdom, particularly with the regional committee in the West Midlands.

The national executive committee has therefore removed the whip; Nikki Sinclaire may no longer describe herself as a UKIP MEP, and she may not stand as a UKIP candidate in the forthcoming General Election.