Letter: Squandered influence

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UKIP’s farcical conference and the subsequent forced resignation of their MEP Godfrey Bloom have highlighted that they are neither a serious nor a responsible party.

But Mr Bloom’s departure is far from an isolated incident. In fact, he is now the 6th UKIP MEP (out of 13) to either leave or be kicked out since the last European elections. He follows Nikki Sinclaire (expelled), David Campbell-Bannerman (defected), Mike Nattrass (resigned), Trevor Coleman (quit UKIP’s European grouping) and South East MEP Marta Andreasen (defected).

This means the party has lost almost half of their original MEPs in just four years. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, losing one MEP may seem a misfortune, but to lose six seems like carelessness.

The irony of all this is that most voters (and even other MEPs) don’t have a clue who UKIP’s MEPs are. They are rarely seen in the influential parliamentary committee meetings where EU legislation is shaped, to the extent that UKIP’s leader is known in the corridors of Brussels and Strasbourg as ‘Mr Mirage’.

The independent VoteWatch Europe website found that UKIP have the worst attendance, voting and work performance of any political party from any EU country.

Far from standing up for Britain, UKIP have squandered our influence in Europe. They don’t turn up when British interests are at stake but are happy to claim their expenses. Put simply, a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote.

Giles Goodall, Liberal Democrat European Parliamentary Candidate for South East England