Role of European Parliament
The European Parliament is one of the three main institutions involved in the creation of European law, along with the European Commission and the European Council of Ministers. It is the only directly elected EU body. Following the 2009 elections, there are 736 MEPs (this is set to rise to 751 under the Lisbon Treaty) who represent the EU’s 501 million citizen across the 27 member states. The UK has 72 MEPs.
The European Parliament’s powers have steadily increased with each change of the EU treaties, the most recent being the Lisbon Treaty, which provided for new law-making powers. The main role of Parliament is to scrutinise, amend and adopt EU legislation passed down from the European Commission. They also sign off the EU budget. Although distinct from member state legislation, EU laws become law in each member state by virtue of the European Communities Act 1972. EU law also takes precedence over existing member state law, which must be amended if it is found to conflict EU law.
The European Parliament typically meets for three weeks of every four in Brussels for committee and political group meetings. One week every four, Parliament moves to Strasbourg where MEPs vote on the legislative work carried out in Brussels – this is known as a plenary session. During a Parliamentary year, four weeks are dedicated to allowing MEPs to concentrate on their constituency work.
What is Brexit?
On 23rd June 2016 the UK held a referendum on whether it should remain part of the European Union (EU) or to leave the EU. Whilst over 16 million people voted to remain in the EU, including majorities in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 17 million voted to leave.
I voted for the UK to remain part of the European Union and feel a profound sense of disappointment at the result of the referendum.
The referendum campaign was massively divisive, with young people voting overwhelming to remain. This is just one of the many reasons the result is so sad, as those who will be impacted most and for the long term did not make this choice.
Since the referendum, which is not binding, there has been a massive amount of turmoil as exiting the EU is increasingly shown to be a mammoth task, often at odds with the national interest. The current Government, have furthermore opted to proceed with a very hard version of leaving the EU, despite have no mandate to do so, which threatens so many gains the UK has made from being part of the EU, economically, politically, culturally and socially.
The Green Party continues to stand on a platform that is pro-European, and for the UK to work closely and collaboratively with our European neighbours in the protection of our rights, freedoms and the environment, and in order to meet the shared global challenges we all face.
We continue to believe that this is best served by the UK being in the EU. If that proves politically impossible, we will work for the UK to have the closest possible relationship with the EU as the negotiations proceed and the options are explored.
As long as the UK remains part of the EU, as a Green MEP I will continue to work for the best interests of progressive politics, for my constituents in London and for the UK as a whole. The rights of EU nationals living in the UK and the rights of UK nationals living elsewhere in the EU are also important issues, and I will be arguing that these rights need protecting.
To see more on my priorities in terms of getting the best deal for London and the UK as we exit the EU, please read my Green Guarantees leaflet.
See below for a more detailed look at the implications of Brexit on these specific issues: