ROCHDALE AND MIDDLETON MEP CAMPAIGNS FOR OPEN AND HONEST EXPENSES

May 24, 2009 12:00 AM

Chris Davie MEPThe 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

no surprise.

"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."