Although we are in the process of bowing out from the European Union, we still have 73 MEPs who are paid to represent us in the European Parliament. 73 men and women who are supposed to ensure that our voices are heard and through whom our concerns are expressed. As Boris Johnson pointed out in his rather ineffective interview on Sunday on the Marr show, there is a risk that if we don’t begin the process of leaving the EU soon, that in May 2019, we may be put in the challenging position of electing a new set of MEPs whose role might only last a few months, or even a matter of weeks. Despite all of this the impact that our MEPs have on the European Parliament is surely something that should concern us. After all if people such as Nigel Farage (UKIP) and Daniel Hannan (Conservative) use their role as an MEP to argue for us to leave the Parliament which pays their wages, it is to be hoped that when they are at work, they do a good job and can be seen as having an impact on our behalf. A recent assessment of all MEPs by Votewatch Europe used various pieces of data to try to establish which MEPs are the most influential, particuarly focused on the support from the EU to other nations. In third position Charles Tannock MEP who is one of the Conservative MEPs for London. In fourteenth place is Richard Howitt MEP, Labour MEP for the East of England. No other UK MEPs featured on this list of 25. Another piece of analysis was carried out in terms of who holds the power in the EP more broadly. On that list, one carried out by country, our 10 most influential MEPs were:
- Timothy Kirkhope (Conservative, Yorkshire and Humber)
- Vicky Ford (Conservative, East of England)
- Claud Moraes (Labour, London)
- Catherine Stihler (Labour, Scotland)
- Geoffrey Van Orden (Conservative, East of England)
- Syed Kamall (Conservative, London)
- David Martin (Labour, Scotland)
- Julie Girling (Conservative, South West)
- Jean Lambert (Green, London)
- Derek Vaughan (Labour, Wales)
The fact that not a single UKIP MEP made it onto the list is something of a surprise, after all UKIP are the largest party with almost a third of the UK MEPs. It is fantastic that the Green Party has managed to get an MEP onto the list, although they are the fourth biggest party, they only have 3 MEPs in total. As someone who lives in the South East, the lack of a single MEP (we have the largest group of MEPs) out of 10 made it onto the list is very disappointing, particularly when the next biggest constituency, London has 3 names on the list.
Let us hope that once we have left the EU, those who campaigned so hard for us to leave, will show that they can do more than argue to leave an institution that has paid them so well in the past and that they can instead begin to speak up on behalf of other people who they are supposed to be representing at present.