Not only do European elections always have shockingly low turnouts, but it is unusual even for those who vote in them to pay any attention to who won, or to who has ended up representing them in Brussels and Strasbourg. It is still more unusual for any regular member of the public to be able to say exactly what it is that an MEP’s job involves – all we ever hear about are the allegations of expense-fiddling and petty corruption, not what actually goes on within the EU’s corridors of power.
As such, this Early Day Motion, proposed by Labour MP Derek Wyatt (who scraped back in with a majority of just 79 on May 5th) deserves widespread support – whether you are pro- or anti-EU. After all, how is it possible to hold our representatives to account if we don’t know what it is they get up to?
156 CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE OF MEPs 19:5:05
That this House believes that, as Europe prepares to vote on the EU Constitution, MEPs in member countries should instead of repairing to Strasbourg once a month, return to their own national parliaments to report back on their work; further believes that this would give an opportunity for there to be a constructive debate between honourable Members and MEPs and would root the latter in both their national parliaments as well as the European Parliament.
As anyone who has worked at the House of Commons or who follows Westminster affairs will tell you, EDMs rarely, if ever, manage to achieve anything – they are there, at best, to make a point, and are effectively petitions to the government which Downing Street can ignore or not at its leisure. Nonetheless, this is one well worth supporting. If you want more accountability in Brussels, urge your MP to sign. You can contact your MP free of charge through FaxyourMP.com.