La Treizième Étoile: 10/03/13 - 17/03/13 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
SW MEP confesses to obtaining secret vote on Strasbourg seat, correcting major opponent and drawing laughter

Wednesday, 13 March 2013
In a rare moment of hilarity in the European Parliament chamber, South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox confessed to having been the one who lobbied for a secret vote on calling for the abolition of the Strasbourg seat, correcting the French MEP leader of the largest political group who had fiercely opposed it.

In the debate this morning ahead of the European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, MEPs discussed the suggestion by the President of the Parliament that MEPs should vote on the seven-year EU budget deal by secret vote.

Bizarrely since a vote of this importance should be done transparently and in public, the French leader of the largest EPP delegation, Frenchman Joseph Daul, rose and said: “Le premier à avoir demandé le vote secret, c'est moi. Et celui qui m'a montré le chemin, c'est le vice-président, M. McMillan-Scott, à propos du vote sur Strasbourg. Sinon, je n'avais même pas envisagé que cela pouvait exister” (Translation: ‘the first to have called for a secret vote was me. And he who showed me how, was the Vice President M. McMillan-Scott, when he got the secret vote on Strasbourg. Before that I had not known this was possible’).

While Mr McMillan-Scott is co-chair of the campaign for a Single Seat, it was Mr Fox who orchestrated the secret vote on the ‘Fox Amendment’ removing one of their monthly plenary sessions from the 2012 parliamentary calendar, conducted in March 2011 and adopted by 357 votes in favour, 255 against and 41 abstentions. So he intervened on a point of order:

Mr President, I think I am the guilty man. It was not Mr McMillan-Scott. I was the one that demanded a secret ballot on the issue of Strasbourg and, of course, the reason, Mr Daul, was so that your Members could vote for a single seat without fear of retribution from you.

Cue laughter from the floor.



South West MEP tweets photo of UKIP MEP sleeping on the job which goes viral

Tuesday, 12 March 2013
South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling had a bit of a Twitter success today after a photo she tweeted of UKIP MEP Roger Helmer, who sits two seats along from her in the plenary chamber, went viral on the social media site.

Shortly after midday in Strasbourg, as Israeli President Shimon Peres was addressing MEPs in Strasbourg, Mrs Girling tweeted to her hundreds of followers:

UKIP MEPs: working hard for Britain, their constituents, and their £80,000/year salaries.


MEP calls for more resource for Royal Navy to protect disputed waters of Gibraltar

Sunday, 10 March 2013
Giles Chichester MEP (Photo: West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester has called for more resources to be made available so that the Royal Navy can protect the disputed waters of Gibraltar.

Mr Chichester, a participant of the 2011 Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and the son of Sir Francis Chichester, the first person to sail single-handed around the world, made the comments during his latest visit to Gibraltar on the invitation of Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

I have intervened on a number of occasions to urge foreign office in particular David Lidington to maintain a robust line with our Spanish colleagues, because I think it is very important that we from the mainland, from London and foreign office do all that we can to protect Gibraltar’s territorial waters,” he is quoted as saying in the Gibraltar Chronicle.

Their account continues: (my emphasis)

We are up against a difficult situation in Spain, to be fair the Spanish have got big problems on their hands” and according to Mr Chichester the Spanish are using Gibraltar “as a means of distracting people from domestic issues.” When asked if he had a solution that he thought could work, he smiled and said: “Excuse me from smiling; it’s not that I don’t take it seriously, but no I don’t have a solution. I think however we need to make sure that the Navy has the right resource here to be willing to defend the waters and I think maybe this is something I should take up when I get back to England.” When posed with the question ‘did he think enough was being done at the moment by the Navy?’ he said: “I think they are doing a good job, but I think maybe we should think of trying to give them a slightly bigger stick.

More details about Mr Chichester’s visit and who he met can be found at the Gibraltar Chronicle.


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