Lib Dem MEP battles on to reveal MEP fraud report findings

by Stephen Tall on February 26, 2008

Last week, Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies sparked controversy by revealing the findings of an internal audit of the European Parliament which, according to Chris, “is dynamite”:

Let’s be quite honest. I think the allegations within this report from our own auditors should lead to the imprisonment of a number of MEPs. I think it’s embezzlement and fraud on a massive, massive scale.”

Chris and the Lib Dems have called for the publication of the document – but their efforts look like being blocked by the budget control committee, aided and abetted by Labour and Tory MEPs. Today’s Times reports:

Neither of the two biggest groups in the European Parliament — the Socialist group that includes Labour MEPs and the EPP that includes the Conservatives — would declare an official position on publication last night. “

Y’see, that’s the difference between the Lib Dem and Labour/Tory approach to Europe: Lib Dems support a reformed European Union. Labour and the Tories prefer to keep the EU unreformed as a convenient whipping-boy.

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Now we have to keep Chris’ excellent and crucial work in the public eye.

by James Schneider on February 27, 2008 at 9:27 am. Reply #

If the Lib Dems are so committed to reforming the EU, may I ask why they are refusing to stand against the Lisbon Treaty which will dissolve many voting rights that the UK currently enjoys, thereby diminishing our power to influence the future course of the EU?

by Letters From A Tory on February 27, 2008 at 9:30 am. Reply #

What is really diminishing our power to influence the future course of the EU is that we are viewed as the grumpy granddad in the corner who doesn’t want to muck in. I think an In or Out Referendum would settle the issue for a while and, hopefully, provide the mandate for britain to play a more active role in shaping europe along its lines (anti CAP, pro-free trade, anti-superstate, pro-cooperation on green issues and FP).

by James Schneider on February 27, 2008 at 9:39 am. Reply #

There are essentially three routes that can be taken:

United Europe, which gives us a small democratic say in how our affairs are run and might conceivably lead to a body with the power to stop this sort of corruption. On the other hand it might not. Can you see Italian MEPs voting for openness and fiscal rectitude?

Route 2 is essentially the status quo.

Route 3 is to leave the EU.

We all agree that the status quo is not a tenable option. I don’t think anyone will admit to wanting a European superstate. Which leaves us with….

Really, I can’t see why supposed liberals are so keen on shunting power further and further away from the people via the EU. It’s the antithesis of liberalism.

(And please don’t tell me that if we’re at the heart of Europe we’ll be able to change it all. It won’t wash.)

by Bishop Hill on February 27, 2008 at 10:12 am. Reply #

I suspect Letters from A Tory is a bit gutted that the Tory MEPs read this report and didn’t think there was anything wrong with keeping it secret.

Not dissimilar to the Tories who questioned what the fuss was over the Conway affair.

by Ganish on February 27, 2008 at 2:40 pm. Reply #

To be honest, the corruption is clearly so vast that I doubt that any party will escape without damage to their credibility. I suspect that the Lib Dems are just kicking up a fuss knowing that the document will never be released so any of their own dodgy exploits would remain hidden, whereas some MEPs in other parties know they’re in trouble.

And your prediction about my opinion of the Conway scandal is about as wrong as you could get. I wanted him gone from day one (check my blog if you don’t believe me) and Guido quoted me on it on his site:

http://www.order-order.com/2008/01/conservatives-want-conway-gone-away.html

by Letters From A Tory on February 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm. Reply #

Well done Chris. I think that Letters from a Tory’s tone would be different if a Tory MEP had actually got off her/his backside and unearthed this.

by Stuart on February 27, 2008 at 6:12 pm. Reply #

very well decision. you really have to be sure in every step you made, especially in giving your personal informations to others. this may led to identity fraud, where, they will take your identity and pretend that they are you. we must be aware.

by Dannie on June 26, 2008 at 1:29 am. Reply #

What is really diminishing our power to influence the future course of the EU is that we are viewed as the grumpy granddad in the corner who doesn’t want to muck in.

That may be true but what has it got to do with a referendum? Did Framce move away from the centre of Europe when it voted to the Constitution? Did Germany move away from the centre when it had problem ratifying the same document? Of course not.

The fact that the UK has been painted as the grumpy grandad has two major factors. The first is that there is far less of an obvious case for a superstate in the UK; the border between e.g. France and Germany is a rather artifical construct, whereas for better or worse the UK has a rather more blatent border. The second is that many other countries look to the UK to provide an alternative voice. OK, so they hide behind us and we don’t seem to have been very good with the politics (one of the reasons why I am very skeptical about the Lib Dems claims of negotiated change from within). While a UK referendum (and most likely a no vote) from the UK on Lisbon may not have been welcomed by Eurocrats, it would have been a signal to other other peoples of Europe that there is another path.

This other path (namely revision of the way the EU operates, and the incorporation of more democratic checks and balances) is what many Lib Dems seem to profess to want, but the party as a whole seems welded to the current Brussels status quo.

The Lib Dems should have showed some spine over Lisbon and used possibly the last big chance to change the course of Europe (we’ll have to see how article 48 operates in practice to know for certain) to get a better EU.

by passing tory on June 26, 2008 at 6:08 am. Reply #

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