ROCHDALE AND MIDDLETON MEP CAMPAIGNS FOR OPEN AND HONEST EXPENSES
The Rochdale MEP who blew the whistle on the abuse of expenses by other
Euro-MPs was in town this week collecting signatures for a petition
calling for all MEPs to be open and honest about the money they claim.
Liberal Democrat Chris Davies says that he is angry that the behaviour
of some MEPs has tarnished the reputation of all.
He said: "I'm proud of the work I do in Brussels, particularly on
prtecting the environment and promoting green technology. I'm in
politics to make a difference for the better, and I get well paid for my
efforts. It sickens me that some MEPs think this is not enough and want
to milk the system."
Davies used parliamentary privilege last month to claim that North West
MEP Den Dover should be in jail. Thrown out of the Conservative Party
after it was revealed that he had paid a staff budget of £758,000 to a
company owned by his wife and daughter, which bought BMW cars and
carried out repairs to his home, Dover has been ordered by the European
Parliament to pay back £500,000.
Chris Davies has become known across Europe for his efforts to reform
the European Parliament. Last year he leaked a confidential report by
European Parliament auditors into malpractices by a number of MEPs. He
says that the sums of money involved dwarf those of fellow
parliamentarians at Westminster.
"I am strongly pro-European, so I am sorry to say that the expenses
system in the European Parliament is too self-serving. But from what we
have now learned of practices in the House of Commons this may come as
"Major reforms are being carried out in Brussels, but they still don't
go far enough. We can count on backing from MEPs in Sweden, Denmark and
the Netherlands, but securing a majority for change from 27 different
countries on this issue is difficult.
"Party leaders here must take steps to ensure that voters in Britain are
offered candidates pledged to be open and honest about the expenses they
receive. It's the vital first step towards securing radical reform and
raising the reputation of the European Parliament, which I believe is
politically more effective than that at Westminster."