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New report shows that Liberal Democrats are the most influential party in the European Parliament

April 3, 2014 12:42 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

The think tank Policy Network's analysis of MEPs' voting records from VoteWatch over the past five years finds that Liberal Democrats are the "most successful coalition partner" in the European Parliament. The report also states that Lib Dems "have played a central role in policy-making in both Westminster and Brussels."

Bill Newton Dunn in EU ParliamentAs part of the European liberal ALDE group, the Liberal Democrats have been "on the winning side" of key European Parliament votes 87% of the time, ahead of Labour, Tories and UKIP - "a remarkable performance for a group consisting of 11% of all MEPs." The voting records also show that that the party has been the best in standing up for British interest in Brussels:

"Most winning votes were clearly in line with British long-standing preferences, be it for liberal market economy or the opening of trade negotiations."

Meanwhile, the report characterises Labour as "ambivalent" and "unpredictable" due to regular differences with their socialist group.

By leaving the mainstream centre-right EPP group, the Conservatives "have gained in comfort what they have lost in influence" and "cut themselves off from natural allies."

For UKIP MEPs, the report notes "a striking feature is their absence and non-voting rates", further stating that "Nigel Farage himself was not present when the EP voted on important issues such as the EU budget, reform of agriculture policy and the banking union." It finds that "their influence on EU decision-making is totally insignificant, an attitude that does not reinforce their governing credentials."

Bill Newton Dunn, Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands commented:

"To sum it up: UKIP are against national interests, the Tories have cut themselves off and Labour are at best ambivalent. As the report states the Liberal Democrats are now the official winners in Brussels when it comes to representing the British interest.

"The recent debates between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have offered people a clear choice over where they stand on Europe when it comes to the European elections in May. The case for staying in and keeping jobs is crystal clear; this election isn't just about whether we're in or out, it's about who will stand up and fight for you and your family in Europe."