3rd July 2013
The European Parliament will vote tomorrow (Thursday) on whether to adopt an astonishing report proposing intrusive changes to the way European elections are run in Britain.
The report has been drawn up by Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff and urges a series of measures which he thinks would create greater engagement of voters across Europe. As well as promoting the idea of a directly-elected president of Europe, it calls for pan-European parties to be given party political broadcasts and for their logos to appear on ballot papers.
Ashley Fox MEP, Conservative spokesman in the parliament on constitutional affairs, today labelled the plans "silly and dangerous" and vowed he and his fellow Tories would oppose them resolutely.
Mr Duff, an MEP for the East of England, is proud to hold the post of President of the Union of European Federalists and makes no secret of his wish to see Britain swallowed into a European super-state, run from Brussels, with votes cast along pan-European party lines rather than according to national politics.
South West MEP Mr Fox said: "This sounds like the sort of screaming federalist nonsense you might expect to come out of Belgium or Luxembourg. For it to come from a British MEP just shows how far he and his party are out of touch with British voters on such a key issue.
"His federalist dream is everyone else's nightmare. He is effectively calling for a directly-elected President of the European Commission. Europe does not need any such thing because it is not a state, much as he might want it to be one.
"Nor do we need the logos of European parties on our ballot papers. British voters know exactlywho Labour and Conservatives are. Some even recognise the name Liberal Democrat - but nobody has the faintest idea what ALDE or S&D stands for.
"I have not yet been inundated by demands from voters for extra party political broadcasts. I would suggest they have quite enough already, thank you very much, without being force-fed more from federalist European parties.
"I'm all for ways of improving voter engagement in the European elections - but these silly and dangerous proposals would have the opposite effect. They would turn voters straight off.
"They will simply create more hostility to Brussels and its constant interference in national affairs rather than foster some pan-European identity."