In a rare moment of hilarity in the European Parliament chamber, South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox
confessed to having been the one who lobbied for a secret vote on calling for the abolition of the Strasbourg seat, correcting the French MEP leader of the largest political group who had fiercely opposed it.
In the debate this morning ahead of the European Council meeting
on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, MEPs discussed the suggestion by the President of the Parliament that MEPs should vote on the seven-year EU budget deal by secret vote.
Bizarrely since a vote of this importance should be done transparently and in public, the French leader of the largest EPP delegation, Frenchman Joseph Daul
, rose and said: “Le premier à avoir demandé le vote secret, c'est moi. Et celui qui m'a montré le chemin, c'est le vice-président, M. McMillan-Scott, à propos du vote sur Strasbourg. Sinon, je n'avais même pas envisagé que cela pouvait exister
” (Translation: ‘the first to have called for a secret vote was me. And he who showed me how, was the Vice President M. McMillan-Scott, when he got the secret vote on Strasbourg. Before that I had not known this was possible’).
While Mr McMillan-Scott
is co-chair of the campaign for a Single Seat
, it was Mr Fox who orchestrated the secret vote on the ‘Fox Amendment’ removing one of their monthly plenary sessions from the 2012 parliamentary calendar, conducted in March 2011 and adopted by 357 votes in favour, 255 against and 41 abstentions
. So he intervened on a point of order:
“Mr President, I think I am the guilty man. It was not Mr McMillan-Scott. I was the one that demanded a secret ballot on the issue of Strasbourg and, of course, the reason, Mr Daul, was so that your Members could vote for a single seat without fear of retribution from you.”
Cue laughter from the floor.
Labels: Ashley Fox