La Treizième Étoile: 26/01/14 - 02/02/14 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
‘Clock-in Colman’ – SW UKIP MEP Trevor Colman admits allowances 'a factor' in parliament attendance

Monday, 27 January 2014
UKIP MEP Trevor Colman has admitted in an interview on BBC’s Sunday Politics West that one of the main reasons he attends the sessions in Strasbourg and Brussels is to secure his parliamentary allowances.

Mr Colman is one of the ‘laziest’ MEPs in the European Parliament and has only taken part in half of all votes (52.59%) during his five years in office (ranked 751st out of 766).

He has made a total of 19 contributions (17 speeches and just two questions to the European Commission) since being elected in 2009. The average for the South West's five other MEPs is 345…

The UKIP MEP, who costs taxpayers in the South West in the region of £156,415 a year, said that "if I don't come and put my card in the slot to vote, I don't get my money".

"I wouldn’t say getting the allowances is one of the main motivations, I’m trying to be fair about it, it is a factor, of course it is.

He defended his small contribution, saying that just because he did not stand up and say anything in debates, did not mean he was not doing anything.

"Why make a speech when you know that it is totally ineffective? That you are there talking to a gallery of about six people, I don’t quite see the point of me doing that. It's not that I'm not doing anything, I'm trying to get us out of this mess," he said.

He refused to reveal how he spends the estimated £200,000 in allowances he's received, but some of it is spent on employing staff to run an anti-EU website, (which can’t have much of a larger audience…)

Before being elected, he served in Devon & Cornwall Police, rising to the rank of superintendent. He left the force in 1995, and then spent four years advising the ITV detective series Wycliffe.

Commenting on the disclosure, South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson said he wondered why Trevor Colman stood for election in the first place: "There is a massive amount that goes on in the European Parliament and that's why most of the members are there full time, doing their jobs. I'm sorry if Trevor Colman finds it so boring, but I would have to ask the question why did he stand in the first place."


European Commission Vice President @SiimKallasEU visits Bristol Airport, Bristol Port and Airbus

Sunday, 26 January 2014
The Vice President of the European Commission responsible for transport policy Siim Kallas today paid a visit to Bristol Airport and Airbus today at the invitation of South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson.

After landing from Brussels, Mr Kallas met with Robert Sinclair, the chief executive officer of Bristol Airport to discuss issues affecting the European aviation industry, including passenger rights, security regulations and competition. He also visited Bristol Port and Airbus during his visit, as well as sustainable transport groups in Bristol ahead of the city’s year as European Green Capital in 2015.

Speaking afterwards to the Bristol Post, Mr Sinclair said: “We were delighted to welcome the Transport Commissioner to Bristol Airport, and took this opportunity to share with him our experiences as a successful European regional airport.

Aviation is an international business so developments at European level have a direct effect on UK airports and the passengers who use them. Liberalisation of the airline sector has changed the face of air travel in Europe for the better. The Commission can help us improve connectivity and drive improvements to the passenger experience by developing a supportive regulatory environment and ensuring that aviation remains an open and competitive market that is not distorted by public subsidies.

Sir Graham Watson MEP said: “It was useful for the commissioner to see first-hand the important role air travel plays in connecting the South West with the rest of Europe. He was also able to hear how changes to regulations in the aviation sector could impact on airports like Bristol who act as a key economic driver in the region.


Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.