On Wednesday June 10th, European Parliament Vice-President, Ildikó Gall-Pelcz defied the rules to frustrate a legitimate democratic protest by UKIP MEPs over the TTIP vote delay. See below the press release that our group issued in response to the incident:
This evening in the European Parliament, Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP for the North East and EU budget spokesman, led a protest against the suppression of debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Arnott proposed a procedural motion to suspend the sitting “to allow Parliament the opportunity to reflect on the undemocratic actions by President Martin Schulz and other officials to suppress the vote and debate on this issue which is of concern to millions of people across the EU.”
Arnott said: “I proposed suspending Parliamentary debate for the day to highlight this point. The officials on the podium responded with what looked like panic, ringing the division bell and breaking their own rules. The rules demand an immediate vote, but they delayed for over forty minutes to allow their supporters to flood the chamber.”
Roger Helmer, UKIP MEP for East Midlands and energy spokesman, was in the chamber to support the protest. When it became clear the vice-president (Ildikó Gall-Pelcz) was acting in breach of the rules, Helmer broke procedure and went onto the podium to ask her if she realised she was in breach of the rules. “She replied yes. I then asked her if she was happy she was breaking the rules, and she said she was not. And yet she broke the rules anyway.”
Further to the press release, I issued the below memo to President Schulz on Thursday. I will now wait patiently for my inevitable invitation for a meeting (without coffee).
Dear President Schulz,
Yesterday at around 17:30 in the Hemicycle, the EFDD Group invoked Rule 191 to call for a suspension of the sitting, as it was entitled to do. The objective was to draw attention to our concerns over the delay in debating TTIP, which as you know is of great interest to millions across the EU.
Vice President Ildikó Gall-Pelcz, who was chairing the Session, failed to put the issue to an immediate vote, as she was required to do under Rule 191. She deliberately prevaricated for around ten minutes, calling two speakers against the motion. She then suspended the session for thirty minutes, without taking a vote.
I approached her immediately after the suspension and I asked her if she knew that she was in breach of the rules. She replied “Yes”.
We have here a Vice President of the European parliament consciously and deliberately breaking the rules of the House in order to take a partisan position against a political group. This is clearly unacceptable. I am writing to you now, therefore, to ask what disciplinary action you propose to take against Vice-President Gall-Pelcz.
I believe it is your duty as President of this parliament to demonstrate that this is a rules-based institution, and that deliberate breaches of the rules cannot be ignored. I look forward to your response.
ROGER HELMER MEP