After my appearance on Newsnight on Dec 16th, setting out the reasons why we had created our Alliance of parties in Europe, I received a very aggressive letter from a constituent arguing that EU funding was there to promote the European project, and it was wrong that this money went to “a fringe group that wants to isolate and segregate Europe citizens”. I replied in the following terms:
Thank you for your view. But you are entirely mistaken. The EU funding is available to established political groups in the parliament to assist them in their work in several pre-defined ways. There is absolutely nothing in the rules to say that the group has to take any particular view on EU integration in order to qualify. If there were, of course we should never have got the money. And any such restriction would be an affront to democracy.
The money is in large part British taxpayers’ money. We are the second largest net contributor in the EU. And we get back merely a fraction of what we pay in – the relatively small amount that our group will get doesn’t affect that balance. The EU has no money of its own – only what is given by the member states. And they only have what they take from taxpayers. It’s our money, and we want it back.
You mention “a fringe group”. Our group is properly established under the rules of the parliament that apply to any group. You object to my approach on behalf of residents of the East Midlands, so please explain to me why far more of those residents voted for UKIP MEPs – and therefore for me — in May this year than voted for any other party.
The East Midlands does not “benefit from EU funding”, nor does the UK as a whole. Broadly speaking every pound we get back from Brussels costs the UK economy around £3. We are out-of-pocket on the deal. They give us back a little of our own money; they tell us what to do with it; and then they expect us to be grateful.
I do not recognise your reference to “isolating and segregating”. That is no part of our policy.
All the information to which you are entitled on my voting participation and record, and my speeches, is available on the EP web-site. You can look it up for yourself. My expenses can be found on the UKIP MEPs’ website. And you can find my position on key issues in my blog. I am certainly not about to write you a detailed account of my work over fifteen years.