In the run up to the European elections we will hear the oft repeated claim from UKIP that they are going to “win” the European elections. They aim to obtain the highest share of the vote of any party and therefore gain the largest minority of the UK seats on offer through the EU’s complex system of PR. UKIP followers who love to set out their case on this site have been “warning” us of this possible outcome for many months. Today I am giving UKIP supporters a free chance to make their case.
Last summer it was revealed that our current UKIP MEPs have the worst attendance and voting record of any party in the European Parliament. Four of their MEPs turned up for less than half the votes. As Mr Nuttall said at the time ” I’ll hold my hand up, as my attendance record is flaky to say the least”. The UKIP defence has been based around the proposition that they do not think it their job to try to amend or block new EU rules by turning up and voting. They prefer to draw the pay and support staff costs to help them campaign and take up issues around the country. UKIP also enjoy the biggest loss rate of MEPs by a long way, finding it difficult to keep people in their party once elected to office.
It would be good to hear some answers from UKIP on what we could expect if UKIP MEPs are elected in 2014.
1. Would it continue to be UKIP party policy not to try to amend or block much EU legislation, leaving the detailed work of the Parliament to others?
2. Should people wanting an MEP to represent their view in Brussels look to MEPs of the other parties, given UKIP’s view on the irrelevance and undemocratic nature of the EU?
3. Would UKIP MEPs continue to draw salaries and allowances whilst not wishing to be participating Parliamentarians in a full sense? What will the support money to spent on?
4. How would the presence of UKIP MEPs speed the UK’s exit from the EU ? What have the current UKIP MEPs done to speed our exit?
5. How will UKIP MEPs be whipped to ensure the elected party sticks together and delivers in relation to its manifesto?
Some UKIP supporters seem to think voting UKIP is a kind of referendum on coming out of the EU, and that more people voting UKIP makes coming out of the EU more likely. The problem with this approach is that as UKIP will poll less than 50%, if UKIP insist on saying they are the only true Eurosceptics it means commentators can use their approach to say the UK wants to stay in the current unreformed EU. It makes more sense to recognise the Europscepticism of the Conservatives, and to accept that it will take Conservative votes in the Commons to sort this problem out.
It would also be interesting to see how many possible UKIP voters like Mr Farage’s latest policy of more immigration from the Middle East.