Lib Dems Ahead on Reform Pledge
East Midlands Liberal Democrats candidates are far ahead of the Conservatives, Labour, Respect, and UKIP in signing up to a cross-party, cross-nationality pledge on the reform of the European Parliament.
All six Lib Dem Euro-candidates have signed up to the pledge, compared to just two of the Conservative candidates, one Labour candidate and no UKIP or Respect candidates.
The pledge is an initiative of the Campaign for Parliament Reform, which is composed of 91 MEPs across the political spectrum and from almost every EU Member State. They believe that the European Parliament needs urgent reform if it is to increase credibility with voters.
Lib Dem Euro MP Bill Newton Dunn is a member of the Campaign for Parliament Reform. He commented:
"The Liberal Democrats are committed to working towards an efficient Parliament, with greater transparency through the reform of the expenses system and improved accountability by clarifying MEPs rights and responsibilities in a code of conduct.
"I am surprised that the candidates from the other parties have not signed up to this pledge. Reform of the Parliament's rules and expenses is vital if we are to win the confidence of voters in the East Midlands."
The Reform pledge runs as follows:
"If elected Member of the European Parliament in June 2004, I pledge to work for:
· Greater Efficiency by demanding an end to the European Parliament's three working places arrangement, and giving it a single seat - in Brussels;
· Enhanced Transparency through reform of the system of expenses, including the reimbursement of travel expenses only on the basis of costs actually incurred;
· Improved Accountability, through the introduction of a strengthened code of conduct setting out MEPs' rights and responsibilities, and through further reform of Parliament's Rules of Procedure."
Further information on the pledge and the signatories can be found at: www.ep-reform.net
As on 17 May 2004, the following East Midlands candidates had signed the pledge:
Lib Dems: Bill Newton Dunn, Dr Alan Riley, Veena Hudson, Richard Church, Deborah Newton-Cook. Conservatives: Roger Helmer, Chris Heaton-Harris. Labour: Phillip Whitehead. Greens: Brian Fewster, Susan Blount, Robert Ball, Simon Anthony, Paul Bodenham, John Chadwick.