Tories and UKIPs in cahoots once again
A month after bringing the tactics of football hooliganism to the European Parliament, four or five Tory Eurosceptics and UKIP have again worked in cahoots to undermine the work of the European Parliament.
They hit on two tactics. The first was to demand a full roll call votes (instead of a show of hands) on every paragraph and every amendment before the house. (Imagine that the House of Commons had a division on every paragraph of a bill). This slows down voting and costs £300 per vote (but they don't really care about taxpayers money).
The second was to use the procedure of "Explanation of Votes" which allows Members to speak after a vote, even if they have already spoken in the preceding debate, to explain why they voted in a particular way, for instance if they change their mind following the debate. Usually, only a few members avail themselves of this possibilty, and often do so in writing, which is also allowed. But yesterday, every UKIP member and several Tories asked to explain their vote verbally on every item on the agenda, whether or not they had already spoken in the debate. This would have held up the next scheduled debates for several hours, so the President proposed to take these explanations after those debates. This was agreed by the House, but UKIP and Dan Hannan protested that they were being "censored", that minority views were being crushed and that they had an absolute right to delay proceedings if they chose to do so.
Let one thing be clear, this is not about their freedom of expression. The European Parliament has a very wide range of poitical views and speaking time in debates is shared out proportionately among all the political groups - so all views will have been heard in the debates.
Most MEPs take their role as elected representatives seriously, working to deliver legislation and policy outcomes for their voters. In contrast, some Tories and UKIP are apparently only interested in disrupting the work of the elected Parliament either through behaving like football hooligans or procedural jiggery-pokery. The sheer contempt they show to democracy is breathtaking.