Thursday, January 05, 2012

Roger Helmer and Rupert Matthews latest

This affair seems to have come down to a Mexican stand off.

Roger Helmer won't resign from the European Parliament until it is confirmed that Rupert Matthews will replace him. And the Conservative Party says it will not consider the selection until he has resigned.

Richard Gadsden, commenting on my most recent post on the subject, suggests that the most highly placed unelected candidate from the same political party as the retiring MEP does not automatically take the seat. It is up to the party.

This provides yet another argument against the list system. But then, when faced with the inevitability of a proportional system, Jack Straw chose the list system precisely because it is was the worst one on offer. He did not want PR to become popular and threaten Labour's power bases.

And Roger Helmer has some trenchant words on the subject:
at a personal level I should be very angry indeed if a loyal, long-term Conservative Party Member and activist, who has worked his socks off for the Party, not least in the 2009 euro-elections, and who has already missed out on a seat in Brussels because of the Party’s positive discrimination policy, should now miss out again because CCHQ can’t quite get its head around the regional list PR system, and seems inclined to set aside a legitimate democratic decision in favour of some modish prejudices. I should be very angry, and so, I suspect, would a great number of East Midlands Conservatives.

1 comment:

David said...

I was surprised by this argument but have checked the regulations (European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 1999 as amended several times since). When there is a vacancy, this is the sequence of events.
1) EP informs Secretary of State of vacancy.
2) S of S informs relevant Returning Officer.
3)RO contacts next on party list.
4) That person replies willing and able AND (here's the rub)provides a certificate from the party's nominating officer that he or she "may be returned...".
5) If person can do that, RO declares him or her elected. If not, RO asks next person until one can.
6) If no-one can, then RO tells S of S who calls a bye-election.
Nowhere do the Acts or regulations define when a party may refuse a certificate, so in fact the party has a veto. Hence Helmer's problem. Thanks to Jack Straw for cocking things up as usual.