Published on 5 Mar 2014

EU voting records: how do Ukip and Lib Dems compare?

Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have given us a taste of their forthcoming radio and TV debates by crossing swords today over their relative voting records.

Nick Clegg claims Nigel Farage has a terrible voting record in the European Parliament, only for the Ukip leader to retaliate and point to the fact that Clegg has participated in barely 22 per cent of votes at Westminster since the last election.

Let’s try and compare.

Ukip doesn’t have any MPs, but both parties do have substantial groups of MEPs.

On average, based on voting records assembled by the Vote Watch Europe website, I calculate that Ukip’s nine current MEPs have voted in 66.17 per cent of plenary votes in the European Parliament, that is votes in the main chamber, rather than those in committee sessions.

That’s just under two thirds.

Britain's member of the European Parliament Farage holds a British flag during a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Nigel Farage (45.57 per cent) and his deputy Paul Nuttall (44.53 per cent) have by far the worst records.

Other Ukip MEPs range from 50.85 per cent (Trevor Colman) to 90.9 per cent (Stuart Agnew).

Calculating the Ukip figure is complicated as several of those elected MEPs in 2009 have since left the party, while Roger Helmer has defected from the Conservatives, so I have confined my reckoning just to those who are Ukip MEPs right now.

The former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom, who no longer gets the Ukip whip, has a very poor record, having voted in just 26.47 per cent of votes. If one included Bloom (and he is still a Ukip party member) the average Ukip figure would be dragged down to 62.2 per cent.

The Liberal Democrat voting record is very different.

Their 12 MEPs have voted in 87.95 per cent of votes – more than seven votes out of every eight. Even the Lib Dem MEPs’ worst voter, Edward McMillan-Scott, took part in 70.62 per cent of plenary votes.

The Liberal Democrats’ most assiduous voter in Europe is Phil Bennion, on 95.01 per cent.

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8 reader comments

  1. Mark Thompson says:

    People dont vote Ukip to play along with the system.

    1. michael williams says:

      Interesting that the awful Farage recently expressed his concerns about the perceived unfairness of the EU fisheries policy, and yet as a member of the fisheries committee he atended just 3 out of 301 committee meetings, and over the years has banked over £6m in expences. Diffeerent politics? I dont think so.

  2. Ebo says:

    There’s the record of how many times MEPs voted. That’s one thing.

    There’s also the record of *what they voted for or against*. That’s quite another thing.

    I put it to you that the lib dems, not to mention the conservatives, have consitently voted for measures requiring further “EU integration”, or for measures which remove even more say in our own affairs from our very own government.

    I further put it to you that the UKIP have, each time, done the opposite.

    Given the choice between the two, I know who I’ll support; UKIP. It seems that many nmore people agree with me than agree with the lib dems.

    1. Allan says:

      In parliamentary terms “doing the opposite” is voting the other way not abstaining. Abstaining is doing nothing, just pocketing the expenses.

  3. Edward McMillan-Scott MEP says:

    I am proud of the LibDem MEPs’ outstanding voting record. For Yorkshire & Humber, UKIP and Tory MEPs are lamentable. In my case, as a European Parliament Vice-President, I have other duties which sometimes prevent me voting.

  4. Raddiy says:

    Wow Crickie investigative journalism at it’s best!

    Seems Godders clouting you around the head has further fuddled an already befuddled mind, if you think this Year 2 maths exercise is worthy of column inches.

  5. Andrew Dundas says:

    Is the European Parliament of any democratic value at all?

  6. Euan says:

    You mention “Roger Helmer has defected from the Conservatives, so I have confined my reckoning just to those who are Ukip MEPs right now” … so why include Edward McMillan-Scott when reckoning the Lib Dems, given that he also defected from the Conservatives?

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