ECR nominates long-serving SW MEP Giles Chichester for vacant vice-presidency spot - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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ECR nominates long-serving SW MEP Giles Chichester for vacant vice-presidency spot

Thursday, 2 June 2011
Giles Chichester in addition to being energy spokesmen played a key role in bringing about the mobile voice roaming regulation to protect consumers from being overcharged. (Photo: gileschichestermep.org.uk)South West MEP Giles Chichester has been nominated by the ECR group to be their candidate for the vacant position of Vice-President of the European Parliament.

In a statement posted on the group’s official website, Mr Chichester’s nomination was “agreed through an acclamation”, and has the support of Jan Zahradil, the group’s chair, who said: "Giles is an excellent candidate who commands respect across the chamber".

The long-serving MEP said he was delighted to be selected. “I have been an active member of this parliament for 17 years and I hope that my colleagues and many friends will give me the opportunity to represent it as a vice-president,” he said.

The vacancy has become available after German ALDE MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin resigned her vice-presidency position amid claims she plagiarised her university thesis.

There are 14 vice-presidency positions available and there tends to be an agreement made between the groups when dividing up the posts and thus candidates are usually elected without formal opposition.

However this is set to change following the actions in 2009 of Edward McMillan-Scott, who while a member of the Conservative party within the ECR group, successfully challenged his party's formal candidate Michał Kamiński, was elected, and subsequently expelled from the Conservative party. He later crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats (ALDE) but sits as a Non-attached Member in the Parliament.

Now the fourth biggest group in the Parliament thanks to the defection of UKIP MEP David Campbell-Bannerman, the ECR group argues that it is entitled to a vice-president under the standard formula for calculating positions within the Parliament.

Vice-presidents are elected for two and a half years, and according to theParliament the belief within the ALDE group is that the vacant vice-presidency position belongs to them and they inherited an additional spot when Mr McMillan-Scott changed political groups. They therefore expect the German ALDE delegation to nominate one of their own to take the post in light of Ms Koch-Mehrin’s resignation which would be endorsed by the group and then by parliament.

But this now looks set to be bitterly contested by the ECR group, and with Mr Chichester’s nomination they have arguably chosen the strongest and most widely-respected candidate within their ranks.

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