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 Full text 
Wednesday, 5 July 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Single Seat of the European Parliament (debate)

  Roger Helmer, on behalf of the EFDD Group. – Mr President, Ms Lunacek and my old friend Ashley Fox have explained in considerable detail why the two-seat situation for the Parliament is totally indefensible. It is hugely wasteful. It wastes resources; it wastes vast quantities of time including, colleagues, our time. It wastes money, and if you care about it, it wastes CO2 emissions. But I have to tell you, Mr President, that I personally rather like it, and I’ll tell you why I like it, because it serves as a perfect metaphor for the hubris and futility of the European project. It is something that nobody can explain, nobody can justify, and yet nobody can change, and there are many, many policies of the European Union of which you can say the same. I think of the common fisheries policy, I think of the Emissions Trading Scheme. The list goes on.

I have been able to use this metaphor again and again in speeches up and down Britain in order to explain to ordinary people who are not very familiar with the European project the complete absurdity of it, and they catch it straight away. Ms Lunacek said companies would never do this. She is right. I say to people: are you in business? Would you move your business from London to Edinburgh for a week and then back again, and then to Edinburgh for one week every month? Of course they would not, and they see the absurdity of it.

Mr President, I am shortly to retire, and this is, I believe, the last speech I shall make in this Chamber as a Member of the European Parliament. I would therefore like to crave your indulgence to leave one final message. We need a quick, a clean Brexit and we need a fair and comprehensive trade deal. We need that not just for Britain but even more for Europe, and if you fail to deliver it, then you will find that you will be punished by the workers of Stuttgart and Munich and many other European citizens. I leave that thought with you.

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