Annual cost of European Parliament soars to £1.332 billion

THE PRESS OFFICE OF the Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour) News Release

Cost of European Parliament soars to £1.332 billion per year, £838 million more than Westminster (MEPs cost £1.79 million each).

The appallingly high running cost of the European Parliament has been exposed in a written reply to a question put to the Government by independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon.

The Government was asked for comparative costs between the European Parliament and Westminster.  In his response (8.01.12), Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, confirmed the 2011-12 cost of the European Parliament at £1.332 billion compared with £494 million for Westminster, including both the House of Commons and the Lords.

Lord Stoddart also asked for costs per member to be included in the figures.  In 2011-12, MEPs cost a colossal £1.79 million each compared with just £0.59 million per member of the House of Commons.  Peers cost a mere £0.13 million.

Lord Stoddart, commenting on the Government’s reply said: “These are eye watering figures that make Westminster look like very good value for money. The European Parliament costs £838 million per annum more than the combined cost of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Government is constantly on the look-out for ways to save money to reduce the deficit. It should take a serious look at its contribution to the cost of running the European Parliament! This is an institution that does not hold proper debates and whose members cannot even introduce a Private Members Bill. It merely acts as a rubber stamp for the unelected European Commission’s legislative proposals. The number of MEPs has risen from 736 to 754, since these figures were produced, so even these huge figures fall short of the real cost!”

 The full text of Lord Stoddart’s question and the Government’s response is as follows:

Hansard 08.03.12 Parliaments: CostsQuestion Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the latest figures for the annual total costs, and cost per member, of (1) the House of Lords, (2) the House of Commons, and (c) the European Parliament.

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The table below sets out the annual cost, number of Members and average cost per Member for the House of Commons, House of Lords and European Parliament.

 

House of Commons House of Lords EuropeanParliament

Annual Cost

(£million)

385

109

1,332

Number of Members

650

821-831

736

Expenditure per

Member (£million)

0.59

0.13

1.79

The figures for the House of Commons are taken from the House of Commons annual accounts 2011-122 (for both administrative and Members’ budgets) and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority annual accounts 2011-123.

The House of Lords figures are for taken from the House of Lords annual accounts 2011-124. For the European Parliament, figures are taken from the European Union Budget of 2011 financial report5. The European Parliament increased from 736 Members to 754 from 1 December 2011.

1 Reported annual cost of €1,555 million, converted at the December 2011 exchange rate of €1.18 = £1

2 http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/commons/resource-accounts

3 http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/About%20Us/ Corporate%20Publications/Annual%20Report%20and%20Accounts%202011-%202012.pdf

4 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/

00059f3ea3/The-budget-of-the-European-Parliament.html

Don’t take the Swiss vote on immigration quotas as a done deal

By Robert Henderson

The Swiss have  voted to end the free movement of labour between Switzerland and the EU  (http://tinyurl.com/SwissEUvote).. The result was very close:  50.3% Yes  49.7% No

This is potentially very significant because even though the Swiss are only European Economic Area (EEA) members, if they can get rid of the free movement of labour (one of the four so called EU freedoms – freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labour) it provides a lever for the UK (and other EU states) to obtain  a similar arrangement and an example which countermands the EU propaganda that any breach of EU rules will be disastrous for any nation which tries to radically change matters. Once a breach in the EU dyke is made inundation could easily follow.

But before rejoicing amongst those who wish Britain to leave the EU becomes unconfined it must  be pointed out that it is far from clear what the restrictions on EU migrants will be (and Swiss politicians have three years before they need to bring forward any legislation)  and there is the possibility that the referendum result could be overturned by another referendum.

The Swiss political elite are, like our political elite, Quislings in  the service of internationalism. They will do everything possible to circumvent this result. There are two possible tactics they could pursue. The first is to put forward restriction which are no more than tokenistic. A more likely scenario is for another referendum to be held . This would not have to be citizen initiated referendum. It could be a compulsory one based on a claim that the change in the immigration law had constitutional implications (Article 140 of the Swiss Constitution).  But even if it was not a mandatory referendum, bearing in mind the closeness of the result just obtained,  it would probably be easy to get enough voters to petition for a citizen initiated referendum ( Article 139).  Article 141 also provides a basis for a referendum.  The relevant Swiss Constitution Articles run as follows:

Article 139  Formulated Popular Initiative for Partial Revision of the Constitution

(1) 100 000 citizens entitled to vote may within 18 months of the official publication of their formulated initiative demand a partial revision of the Constitution.

(2) A popular initiative for the partial revision of the Constitution may take the form of a general proposal or of a specific draft of the provisions proposed.

(3) If the initiative violates the principle of unity of form, the principle of unity of subject matter, or mandatory rules of international law, the Federal Parliament declares it invalid, in whole or in part.

(4) If the Federal Assembly is in agreement with an initiative in the form of a general proposal, it drafts the partial revision on the basis of the initiative and submits it to the vote of the People and the Cantons. If the Federal Assembly rejects the initiative, it submits it to a vote of the People; the People decide whether the initiative is adopted. If they vote in favour, the Federal Assembly drafts the corresponding bill.

(5) The initiative in the form of a specific draft is submitted to the vote of the people and the Cantons. The Federal Parliament recommends the initiative for adoption or rejection. It may contrast the initiative with a counterproposal.

Article 139b  Procedure for Initiative With Counterproposal

(1) The voters cast their ballot at the same time for initiative and counterproposal.

(2) They may vote in favor of both proposals. Regarding the priority question, they may select which proposal they prefer if both are accepted.

(3) If the priority question results in one proposal to receive more votes of the people and the other more votes of the Cantons, that proposal is set into force that has the highest sum of voter’s percentage points in popular vote plus cantonal vote.

Article 140  Mandatory Referendum

(1) The People and the Cantons are voting on the following:

a. the revisions of the Constitution;

b. the entry into organizations for collective security or into supranational communities;

c. the federal statutes declared urgent without constitutional basis and with validity exceeding one year; such federal statutes have to be submitted to the vote within one year after their adoption by the Federal Parliament.

(2) The People are voting on the following:

a. the popular initiatives for total revision of the Constitution;

b. the popular initiatives for partial revision of the Constitution in the form of a general suggestion which were rejected by the Federal Parliament;

c. the question if a total revision of the Constitution is to be carried out with disagreement of both chambers.

Article 141  Optional Referendum

(1) On the demand by 50’000 citizens entitled to vote or 8 Cantons, within 100 days of the official publication, the following instruments are submitted to the vote of the People:

a. Federal Statutes;

b. Federal Statutes declared urgent with a validity exceeding one year;

c. Federal decrees to the extent the Constitution or the law provides for it;

d. International treaties which:

1. are of unlimited duration and may not be terminated;

2. provide for the entry into an international organization;

3. include important legislative provisions or require the adoption of federal Statutes.

(2) { abolished }

http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/sz00000_.html

It is all too easy to imagine a Swiss electorate browbeaten with dire warnings of what will happen if the Swiss do not fall into line with EU policy voting to reverse the decision.

Britain Not To Recognise Our Anzacs

This is letter recently received by our Honorary Secretary and as he says “it is a thundering disgrace and is clearly part of a determination to weaken ties with the Commonwealth Realms.”

Dear Mr Spalton

Britain Not To Recognise Our Anzacs

The British government gave a press briefing recently in which they stated, in essence, that the UK First World War celebrations would give emphasis to coloured communities within Britain and not to what may be generally termed as ‘the white skinned’ volunteers from countries like Australia and New Zealand even though a significant proportion of our troops were of differing ethnicities.

The following media release has been sent to British media. Although not a constitutional matter, our ANZACS fought for king and country and their bravery should undoubtedly be recognised by the increasingly ‘politically correct’ administration in the United Kingdom.

Republicans will, of course, say that this is a reason why “we should be free of England”, but we have actually been independent of the British government since our Constitution was enacted in 1901. The fact that we chose to remain under the Crown and maintain strong links with Britain does not mean that the United Kingdom has any authority whatsoever over us.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Benwell

MEDIA RELEASE – THE ANZACS PLAYED MORE THAN THEIR PART TO SAVE BRITAIN

Australians have a right to be outraged at the insensitivity of the British government in announcing, in a briefing to journalists, that their proposals to commemorate the commencement of the First World War would omit mention of the sacrifice made by the Anzacs (Australia and New Zealand servicemen) but instead would focus on the role played by the ‘new Commonwealth’ countries as part of an internal ‘community cohesion’ process.

Politics should never play a part in recognising the bravery of those that are gone. Many nations within the British Empire and Commonwealth fought to save the homeland of Britain in both the First and Second World Wars. Their losses should all be mourned collectively.

In 1914, Australia and New Zealand were both independent nations with their own independent constitutions under the Crown. Our Anzacs lost some 80,000 men in a war they didn’t have to get involved in, but readily volunteered to fight for in foreign battlefields on the other side of the world in loyalty and in gratitude to the country that developed their lands into modern ‘law and order’ nations.

Doubtless there will be a lot of backtracking and political hyperbole by British officials and the sacrifice of our young men will in the end be recognised. But that there was any hesitation on the part of what appears to be an ungrateful Britain not to do this in the first place is not only reprehensible but shows the disgraceful contempt of these people for the history of their own country.

What will be next on the agenda by these ‘politically correct’- the whitewashing of Winston Churchill from British history books?

Philip Benwell
National Chair

British public fed ‘myths’ about immigration

Vivienne Reding

BRITISH ministers are stoking fears about European Union migrants, according to a top Brussels official who wants to see a “United States of Europe”.  

Viviane Reding, the vice-president of the European Commission, has said it is “simply not true” that there is an “invasion of foreigners” stealing jobs and draining welfare and health resources in the UK. During a webchat on European citizenship, Reding said that most of the things that the British public are told about Europe are “myths” and “have nothing to do with reality”. She claimed that political leaders in the UK were adopting populist tactics simply to win votes. “I’m mostly frustrated about the political leaders,” she said. “What is leadership if you just try with political movements and political speeches to gain votes? You are destroying the future of your people, actually.”Reding, who is the longest serving Brussels commissioner, insisted that EU immigrants to Britain contribute far more to the country’s coffers than they take out, claiming Britain’s GDP has risen by three to four per cent because of the input of working Europeans coming to the country. “It’s just a myth to speak about an invasion, this invasion is just not taking place,” she added. 

In the Daily Telegraph, Bruno Waterfield says the idea that a United States of Europe could have any popular appeal illustrates “the distant remoteness of the world that is planet EU”. Reding’s vision, which is shared by many in the European institutions, would transform the EU into a “superstate” relegating national governments and parliaments to a minor political role equivalent to that played by local councils in Britain, he says. If voters are offered a choice of “more Europe”, they will vote against it in droves, he adds. Reding has emerged as Nigel Farage’s best friend, as “the more she speaks out, the more votes Ukip will be able to bank”. •

First appeared in the Telegraph

 

The world after the Euro by Robert Henderson

Amidst all the gnashing of liberal internationalist teeth and prophecies of doom if the Euro collapses a question goes unasked in the mainstream media: could the collapse of the Euro leave Britain in a better position than if the currency survives or could its failure even be positively beneficial for Britain? Sounds mad? Well, consider this, Britain may be far better placed to survive the shock than any Eurozone country because of two things: the fact that we have our own currency and our position as a world financial centre.

The Euro’s collapse would cause a good deal of economic riot within the Eurozone because of the difficulties of assigning values to the newly formed marks, francs, drachmas and so on, both in terms of establishing the new currencies and the adjustment of contracts, loans and other financial instruments which are drawn up in Euro values. Most of the contracts and loans in the Eurozone countries will require adjustment. That will involve a massive administrative cost and make Eurozone countries less competitive.

Britain will have none of the costs and disruption of re-establishing a currency. She will be affected where British contracts and loans have been drawn up with the Euro as the unit of value or financial instruments are denominated in Euros, but unlike the Eurozone members that will affect only a small minority of British financial agreements because most of British economic activity is within and for the British domestic market. The lesser costs will make British business more competitive relative to the Eurozone countries.

In addition, while the administrative changes and the task of valuing the re-established currencies in terms of the value of the Euro is proceeding, those wishing to enter into contracts from outside the Eurozone may be reluctant to do so with Eurozone countries until the currencies are fully re-established. This could drive non-Eurozone foreign contracts to Britain which might otherwise have been placed with Eurozone businesses.

While the turmoil of changing from the Euro to the re-established old currencies continues, there would almost certainly be a reluctance to buy the sovereign debt of even the likes of Germany at reasonable rates of interest. That would make British issued bonds more attractive and keep the rate of interest paid on them low. The difficulty in raising finance would also affect non- governmental corporate bodies such as companies, charities and other not-for-profit organisations.

There is of course the possibility of a substantial diminution of Britain’s trade with the Eurozone during the initial upheaval when old currencies are re-established and values assigned to contracts and so on; a much lesser chance of lost trade with rest of the EU which remains
outside the Eurozone (and like Britain retains national currencies) during the period of adjustment and a lesser chance still of disrupted trade with members of the European Economic Area (EEA)such as Norway and Switzerland.

How much might Britain lose? Claims of Britain having 50% of its exports going to the EU are misleading because they are inflated by “….two quite separate effects. The first, the Rotterdam- Antwerp Effect, relates to exports of goods and commercial services to Holland and Belgium. About two thirds of these pass through the two biggest ports in Europe, Rotterdam in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium, on their way somewhere else – some to other EU countries, the rest outside the EU.

“The second, the Netherlands Distortion, relates to Income. This often flows through Dutch “brass-plate” holding companies which offer tax advantages. As a result, much of the investment and income flows recorded in the British statistics as going to or coming from Holland in fact go to come from somewhere else, very often outside the EU altogether.”

(http://www.globalbritain.org/BOO/HowDependant.htm)

How much of an inflation of UK exports to the EU it is difficult to say, but it would probably be reasonable to knock the amount of our exports which go to the EU overall down to 40%.

Would Britain be ruined if the Euro collapsed? It is worth remembering that only around 18% of UK GDP is devoted to exports. UK GDP in in the financial year 2009/10 was £1453billion (http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/downchart_ukgs.php?title=UK%20Gross%20Domestic%20P roduct&year=1950_2010&chart=#ukgs303) and exports of goods and service came to £260 billion (http://www.economywatch.com/world_economy/united-kingdom/export-import.html) or 18% of GDP. If only 40% of UK exports go to the EU (or strictly the European Economic Area), that would mean around 7% of the UK total economic activity would be at risk.

Of course, no such wholesale loss would occur because stricken or not the Eurozone countries (and even more so the other continental EU countries not in the Eurozone) would not suddenly lose most of their economic activity. Moreover, it is conceivable that the re-establishment of national currencies could stimulate the economies of those involved remarkably quickly because it would allow them to trade on reasonable terms.

It is also probable that the UK financial sector would pick up much of the business involved in the break-up of the Euro as companies and governments both in the Eurozone and the wider world look to the financial expertise of the UK to help unravel the mess.

The problem of the Euro as a reserve currency

It is one thing to be a currency which is a national currency and little else: quite another to be the second largest reserve currency in the world which is the fate of the Euro. Extremely problematic questions arise from that status most pressingly, what will the holders of the Euro as a reserve currency receive if the Euro collapses??

The conversion of Euros to new national currencies of the Eurozone is in principle (but not in practice) straightforward, because the Euro holdings within the Eurozone could be converted to whatever the exchange rate of the each new currency is deemed to be, for example, a one to one parity for the Euro and a new German Mark and three to one parity for the Euro and a new Drachma (the conversion ratios could be achieved either by negotiation within the Eurozone
members or by allowing the new currencies to float for a few months and then using their market valuations).

The position of the holders of the Euro as a reserve currency who are not Eurozone members is completely different for they will not have a new currency to which to convert. All would want the new Mark and none the new Drachma. I suppose that they could be offered a basket of all the new currencies with the contribution of each weighted to a criterion such as the population of each Eurozone member. However, that would be tantamount to a substantial devaluation of their Euro holdings.

Running parallel to the position of the reserve currency holders is the status of private individuals and organisations outside of the Eurozone holding Euros. How will they be treated if the Euro ceases to be?

These are all questions which wait to be addressed. They are capable of causing immense tensions not merely in the EU but worldwide as holders of the Euro face massive losses.

Will the Euro survive?

The intense desire of the EU elites to preserve the Euro to provide the glue to maintain the greatly expanded union and as a platform for further federalisation is not at issue. A collapse of the Euro would both reduce to rubble the EUs attempt to project itself as a superpower and leave the EU subject to economic sanctions by countries outside the EU which had lost out through the Euro’s collapse. That alone would provide the most pressing reason for the Eurozone elites to maintain the currency, even to the point of engaging in large capital transfers from richer to poorer Eurozone members.

But the will of elites cannot keep a political system in place if the fundamentals are wrong. In the Eurozone they are wrong both in terms of the vicious absurdity of the Euro and the profound lack of democratic control. Ironically, the agent of immediate destruction will be a god of the Western elites own creation, globalisation, which has allowed that most truly supra-national of entities, the financial markets, to come into being.

If the Euro does fall, it could herald the end of the EU. That would be a savage irony because the Eurofantatics would have destroyed that which they most desired by feeding it on too rich a political fare.

Orbituary: Leolin Price QC

Lawyer who helped the Maastricht rebels, opening a wound that pains the Conservative Party to this day

LEOLIN PRICE, who has died aged 88, was the most senior of a trio of Eurosceptic lawyers (the others being Michael Shrimpton and Martin Howe) who provided legal advice for the anti-Maastricht campaign in Parliament in the early 1990’s; in 1993 he prepared Lord Rees-Mogg’s challenge to the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty.

With his relish for argument, taste for complex legal detail and scepticism about the EU and all its works, Price was ideally suited to the role of constitutional gadfly. In the end the Maastricht rebellion proved a major headache for the government during John Major’s troubled second term as prime minister, consuming over 200 hours of debate over 23 days in committee and producing 600 amendments, many of them drafted by Price. The dispute came close to scuppering the treaty and bringing down the government.

The European Communities (Amendment) Bill (aka the Maastricht Bill) eventually became law at the end of July 1993, but in a last-ditch effort to prevent this, the former editor of The Times Lord Rees-Mogg, supported by Price and David Pannick, QC (and backed by Sir James Goldsmith), applied for judicial review.

The substance of the case resolved around the nature of the “social protocol” which Major had secured during negotiations with Britain’s EU partners, which enabled Britain to opt out of the Social Chapter of the Treaty. The legal team argued that the protocol also increased the powers of the European Parliament – something which, under a 1978 Act, required specific parliamentary approval, which had never been given during the passage of the Bill bringing the Maastricht Treaty into British law.

The case garnered much publicity, but Rees-Mogg’s application was rejected in the court of first instance and on appeal, one judge describing as “an exaggeration” Price’s claim that the case was “perhaps the most important constitutional issue to be faced by the courts for 300 years”. The Treaty was duly ratified, and the lasting scars left on the Conservative Party have not healed to this day.

One of five children of a village schoolmaster, Arthur Leolin Price was born at Talybont-on-Usk in Breconshire and educated at Judd School, Tonbridge, from where he won a scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, to read History. During the war he served as an officer in the Royal Artillery, latterly as adjutant of the Indian Mountain Artillery Training Centre in Ambala, Punjab province.

On demob he returned to Oxford to read Law. Called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1949, he soon established a reputation in commercial and chancery litigation. After taking Silk in 1968, as well as his work in Britain he developed a thriving international practice, representing clients in New South Wales and the Bahamas. Later he was appointed a deputy High Court judge.

Although Price was a lifelong Conservative and on the committee of the Society of Conservative Lawyers for more than two decades, he acted for Arthur Scargill during the 1980s; and in 1982 he advised Harriet Harman when, as legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties, she was found in contempt of court after showing restricted legal documents to a journalist. Price acted for her during the appeal process that led to the European Court of Human Rights overturning her conviction, successfully arguing that the prosecution had breached her right to freedom of expression. On the issue of Europe, Price always put principle before party, and after the Maastrich debates he campaigned against the subsequent Nice Treaty. In 2008 he supported the spread-betting millionaire Stuart Wheeler in his legal bid to force the government to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Price served as a governor of Great Ormond Street Hospital, and in the 1970s successfully persuaded the Labour Chancellor Denis Healey to promote a legislative amendment permitting British royalties for JM Barrie’s Peter Pan to go to Great Ormond Street in perpetuity.
Leolin Price finally retired from work last June at the age of 88. He was appointed CBE in 1996.

He married, in 1963, Rosalind (Lindy) Lewis, the elder daughter of the Conservative peer Lord Brecon. She died in 1999, and he is survived by their two sons and two daughters.

Leolin Price, born May 11 1924, died March 24 2013.