Jacqueline Foster (ECR). – Mr President, in this House, when roll-call votes are requested by all sides – all parties and all groups – we would tend to respect those. Notwithstanding that you are a new President to the Parliament, to arbitrarily decide to take those votes en bloc, quite frankly, is outrageous.
(Applause from the ECR Group)
Now it may be, President, that you are sitting there with an EPP or an S&D voting list. There are other groups in this House who will obviously want to vote in slightly different ways. Therefore, I would like to conclude by saying that if I have a voting list for my group and we have requested according to the normal procedures, correctly and within time, for roll-call votes which happen to be separate and if we do not agree that they should be taken en bloc then, as with our other colleagues in other groups, that is what the procedure should be. I think you have made a mistake and I hope this House will proceed in a proper, democratic order in future.
President. – Thank you very much. I understand. A roll-call vote was proposed, and a roll-call vote was carried out. The overwhelming majority of this House wishes to vote collectively and I allowed such a collective vote.
Robert Atkins (ECR). – Mr President, may I just seek your advice on procedure please. First of all, I congratulate you for starting on time and trying to get things moving. I am very grateful to you; you are listening.
But how do I explain either to the administration or indeed to my constituents that, when presented with a series of roll-call votes in which I wanted to vote for one or two of the options and against the others, they were taken en bloc and I was therefore not able to vote for or against the given items where necessary? How do I explain that to my constituents and how do I explain that to the administration when it comes to telling them that I wanted to vote for or against or abstain?
(Applause from the ECR Group)
President. – Mr Atkins, when roll-call votes are called, the President has to put them to the vote individually. This is set down in Rule 161(5). The President can, but is not obliged to, ask plenary whether he can put amendments that complement one another to the vote collectively. This is clear. That is exactly what I have done. I asked the question. You will find this in Rule 161(6). Let me read it to you: ‘The President may put other amendments to the vote collectively where they are complementary. In such cases, he shall follow the procedure laid down in paragraph 5’. In other words, the President asks plenary. That is exactly what I have done. I have therefore satisfied the rules of procedure.
If it is your opinion that I should deal with such amendments individually rather than collectively, then please notify me accordingly in the Conference of Presidents. We shall then vote separately on each individual amendment in future. I had the impression that you were interested in working efficiently. If not, then we shall do things differently.