Election 2019 home

Letter to Editor: Empty seat is a strong message

The European Union phobia virus has spread through the Tory party via infectious members such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg. 

The mutation happened a long time ago, with roots in British dislike of the Treaty of Rome, but the tipping point was when Ukip gained 24 seats in the European Parliament in 2014. 

Brexit was becoming an inevitability while the electorate snoozed and worried about other things.

Here’s a question: do these newly elected Brexit MEPs believe that they are attending the European Parliament as honest brokers? I think not. 

Nigel Farage and the Brexiteers should decline to take up their MEP seats in the same way that Sinn Féin does not take up its Westminster seats as a matter of protest against the continued British presence in Northern Ireland. 

This dates from the time the first woman to be elected to Westminster in 1918, Constance Markievicz, did not take up her seat along with other Sinn Féin members who had been elected. 

Instead, they formed the first Irish government, Dáil Éireann.

Mr Farage and his Brexiteers would be sending a more honest and powerful message by not taking up their seats in Brussels as British MEPs thus weakening the UK’s position in the EU and hastening the end they so desperately seek. 

The European Parliament would be better off without their contributions and could focus on political discourse with the remaining 44 British MEPs who do want to be part of the EU political bloc. 

Sounds like a win-win to me.

Alison Hackett

Dún Laoghaire

Co Dublin

This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 3 June 2019.

More on this topic

Call to introduce local election gender quotas

Sinn Féin ard chomhairle meets for 'very honest conversation' after disastrous election performance

Green Party spearheads five-year deal to move Dublin towards 'zero-carbon' status

Opposition to have a say in when Dáil by-elections held