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Voting in Strasbourg cancelled and rescheduled for UK election day
Date 20/04/2010 20:12  Author webmaster  Hits 2304  Language Global

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• Hundreds of MEPs and Parliamentary staff embarked upon the monthly commute to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, only to find out that voting was called off at the last minute due flight disruptions, despite hundreds of staff from 27 countries having managed to make their way across the continent by rail and road.

Speaking in the Hemicycle in Strasbourg, UKIP (Wales) MEP John Bufton challenged Parliamentary President Jerzy Buzek over the confusion.

"The cost runs into millions of pounds to the taxpayer for us all being here, and yet you decide to cancel with just a moment's notice. I think it's absolutely abysmal what you've done."

However, concerns about MEP absences were clearly not at the fore when voting was rescheduled for the 5th and 6th of May, clashing with the UK General Election.



Before speeches commenced in Parliament, John Bufton stood to address the President for a second time with a point of order.

"In view of what's been said here at very short notice I would urge you to look at that voting again regarding the next session on the 5th and 6th of May. It is quite likely that most of the MEPs from the UK will not be present... It's our General election on the 6th of May...the whole country won't be here! If you deny us that vote you deny the United Kingdom the chance to oppose or support measures put forward by you."

Mr Buzek replied that he would indeed look into the matter and that he took the point made very seriously. But speaking after the session, the Welsh MEP was far from satisfied.

"It's an absolute farce that this giant political body takes five days to make a decision on whether or not to continue with the agenda in view of the widespread travel chaos. We have known about this for five days, and they tell us after we have all spent the best part of a day travelling," Mr Bufton said.

"We're talking hundreds of people finding any way they can to travel across Europe at the expense of the taxpayer, for almost no reason at all, when the politicians could have used the time more effectively in their constituencies," he continued.

"And if that's not enough, that was followed by the total ineptness shown when voting was rescheduled for the same day as the UK elections. How the groups all managed to reach an agreement over that date without anybody pointing out the clash is totally beyond me, and I'd be interested to know which British representatives were involved. It's worrying how much power they have over our lives when they can't even run a Parliament effectively. It's utterly ridiculous."
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