East Midlands Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin has today welcomed a landmark vote in the European Parliament, as it took a major step towards scrapping the notorious Strasbourg travelling circus.
A voting session of the parliament approved by 483 votes to 141 a report setting out a roadmap for reform.
After the vote, Miss McClarkin said:
“This vote is an overwhelming endorsement by MEPs of our campaign to scrap the parliament’s dual seat system. Today’s vote is not the end of the travelling circus, but I hope it is the beginning of the end.”
The report focuses on the economic and environmental costs of the dual-seat system, as well as the weight of public sentiment – which is deeply opposed. It argues that the present arrangement is simply unsustainable, and MEPs should be allowed to decide for themselves where the parliament sits.
Most of the European Parliament’s work is done at its huge complex of offices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month 766 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp 270 miles to Strasbourg in France to sit there for three days.
This pointless and wasteful journey costs about £131 million a year and pumps 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
Miss McClarkin added:
“Over the parliament’s seven-year long-term budget, travelling back and forth to Strasbourg will cost taxpayers a staggering £928 million. In the current economic climate there are so many things this would be better spent on, rather than empty buildings and needless journeys.”