• The INTA (International Trade) Committee's final vote on David Martin's (S&D) recommendation that the European Parliament reject ACTA was approved today with 19 votes in favour and 12 against. There were no abstentions.
This means that INTA Committee's recommendation to the European Parliament is to reject ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) at the July 4 plenary vote in Strasbourg.
UKIP MEP for England South West, and INTA committee member, William Dartmouth, voted to approve the Martin recommendation, thereby supporting the recommendation to reject ACTA immediately, and not wait for the European Court of Justice to weigh in on the matter.
Meanwhile, Tory MEP Syed Kamall (ECR) tabled an amendment that would have, if adopted, postponed INTA's vote on Martin's recommendation to the European Parliament until after the European Court of Justice delivered its views.
William Dartmouth MEP said:
"The spirit of Kamall's amendment not only goes against the majority of citizens around Europe, who want ACTA rejected now, but it also implicitly condones the competence of - and accepts authority of - the European Court of Justice itself.
"In short, Kamall's amendment to postpone the rejection of ACTA shows how out of touch the Tories are with the sentiments and views of UK constituents.
"Developing countries and many international humanitarian organisations are concerned about the impact of ACTA on life saving drugs in the developing world, whilst civil liberties groups insist that ACTA will weaken fundamental liberties and freedom of expression.
"ACTA is bad news for internet freedom and UKIP were very happy to vote against this harmful body of law."
In this light, William Dartmouth voted against the Kamall amendment, which was rejected by the same strong showing as the final vote, with 12 votes in favour and 19 votes against.
During yesterday's exchange of views with Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht the INTA committee was advised to vote for Kamall's proposal to delay the vote.
But "if you decide for a negative vote before the European Court [of Justice] rules," Commissioner De Gucht continued, "let me tell you that the Commission will nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the court as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings at the court."
"This piece of legislation which is being proposed and led by the European Commission will be opposed by all UKIP MEPs when it is voted on in the European Parliament.
UKIP do not want the EU making decisions on behalf of the UK and in this case it is even more pertinent given that this multilateral agreement would never be passed through national governments and a supranational level gives it a greater chance of being passed than if it were passed through accountable parliaments.
ACTA would create an international legal framework and supporters have claimed it is required to combat counterfeit drugs and goods and pirated material.
However civil society groups and developing countries were excludes from the discussions during the drawing up of the legislation. Developing countries and many international humanitarian and welfare organisations are concerned about the impact of ACTA on life saving drugs in the developing world whilst civil liberties groups insist that ACTA will weaken fundamental liberties and freedom of expression.
The liability of Internet Service Providers is also a reason why UKIP could not support the legislation in much the same way as libel laws in the UK, where newsagents were liable for the sale of newspapers or magazines if they were found to contain defamatory material restricted freedom of speech."