New boy in Strasbourg

By Tom WiseUK Independence PartyTHIS is my first Letter from Brussels. I was elected in June as the secondUKIP MEP for the Eastern counties but, like all newly elected MEP's, did not take my seat until July – then the EU promptly closed down for six weeks! I would like to thank all those who voted, especially for those who voted UKIP.

By Tom Wise

UK Independence Party

THIS is my first Letter from Brussels. I was elected in June as the second

UKIP MEP for the Eastern counties but, like all newly elected MEP's, did not take my seat until July – then the EU promptly closed down for six weeks! I would like to thank all those who voted, especially for those who voted UKIP.


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I am writing this during my fourth plenary session in Strasbourg and I am amazed at the farce that passes for a parliament. Most of the time, the

hemicycle – which is where MEP's deliver their one minute speeches – is

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largely empty. Last Wednesday, after we listened to Thabo Mbeke address us, we voted on over 70 disparate items, some by a show of hands and some electronically.

The main reason why the hemicycle is full for the voting session is that by voting electronically, your presence is recorded and thus your allowances are paid in full! Two of the votes were on the taxation on savings income from accounts in Liechtenstein and Andorra – neither is EU

countries so why is the EU interfering?

My stance on voting here is simple. How does it affect Britain? If by voting

for something, I can show the damage will be less than opposing it, I will

vote for it. Mostly, I vote against or abstain.

Thursday was the big vote, when we exercised the right to approve the

proposed team of Commissioners as suitable for their new job. As you will

know, last month Mr Barosso failed to present his team as he had been told

that he would suffer a defeat and would thus lose credibility. He has made

changes, brought in new faces, moved others around and I dare say that this will please a majority of MEP's who are there, by there own declarations, to complete the `project' to reunify Europe – not that it has ever been united before, but why use facts when soundbites matter so much?

On the day I voted against approving the proposed commissioners on the

simple principle that I do not agree to allow those, who I cannot remove at

the ballot box, to make laws to be applied in my country. It would now

appear that some are less qualified than originally thought with allegations

of impropriety widely reported.

On a separate point, you will be aware that Tony Blair has now signed the

Constitution and thus it will be brought before the Westminster parliament

next year. If it passes all stages before the anticipated General Election,

we will be given an opportunity to vote on it in a referendum, probably

sometime in 2006.

If you would like to see a reader friendly version of the constitution,

please visit www.euabc.com. But be warned, it's is over 600 pages long!

May I wish you seasonal greetings and a prosperous and peaceful New Year.

Tom Wise is one of two UKIP Euro MPs for the East of England. He can be

contacted on 01525 385900 or visit his website www.tomwisemep.co.uk

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