Sunday, August 14, 2005

Let sleeping monkeys lie

Running in The Sunday Telegraph today is a report that a "cross-party coalition" has called for Robert Kilroy-Silk to quit the EU Parliament on the grounds that he seldom attends and does "little or no work" for his East Midlands constituency.

In the letter to the parliament's president Josep Borrell, four MEPs, who all represent the East Midlands, say Mr Kilroy-Silk is not "fulfilling the pledge he made on becoming an MEP, to serve the electorate of his region".

His four regional colleagues - Christopher Heaton-Harris (Conservative), Roger Helmer (Conservative), Phillip Whitehead (Labour) and Derek Clark (UKIP) - said they "deplore" Mr Kilroy-Silk's non-attendance. "He seems to have done little or no work as a constituency MEP for the East Midlands. This leaves five MEPs to do the work of six and the electorate have been short-changed," they wrote. "Mr Kilroy-Silk should either do the job for which he is paid, or get out and leave it to those who can."

The parliament has no power to remove Mr Kilroy-Silk, who is understood to have attended the minimum number of plenary sessions required to be eligible for his parliamentary allowances. "While Mr Kilroy-Silk will remain within the letter of the law, he will hardly be fulfilling the pledge he made on becoming an MEP, to serve the electorate of his region," the MEPs wrote. Kilroy-Silk last signed the plenary session attendance register on 12 April.

One can understand UKIP's view on this, having lost a seat that is rightly theirs. Helmer has some little cause For complaint as well, although rumour is that he is finding life in the cold a tad uncomfortable, and is looking to creep back into the warm embrace of the EPP. However, as for Heaton-Harris, ensconced already in the EPP, his group contribution help towards the federal cause, as does that of Labour's Phillip Whitehead.

Given that UKIP is doing very little anyway, and the other MEPs, on balance, do more harm than good, it matters little who is currently holding down the seat. It might as well be a stuffed monkey. As it is, the constituents have Kilroy-Silk, which is the next best thing. They might as well let sleeping moneys lie.

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