At 11pm on January 31, Britain left the EU, putting an end to almost half a century of eurosceptic frustration. The journey there was not an easy one, though, as Brexit day was preceded by a debilitating political period that bitterly divided the nation. Many parliamentarians and politicians tried to ignore the democratic will of the people – until Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a thumping majority at the December 12 general election and secured the Brexit mandate he needed.
As the country begins its new chapter outside the European bloc, former Brexit Party MEP Lucy Harris shed light on her time in Brussels in a recent report for the eurosceptic think tank ‘Red Cell’ titled “After Rue Belliard”.
In the report, Ms Harris reflected on how the EU works and what makes the institution so deeply undemocratic.
The former MEP wrote: “The European Parliament voting system.
“It wasn’t like our Parliament where each law is considered in a thorough debate, where there is almost a negotiation between the two sides of Parliament trying to honestly find the best way forward, which is then carried through by walking through the lobby to vote.
“With the European Parliament, debate is a facade.”
According to Ms Harris, MEPs use it as an opportunity to get YouTube clips and make sweeping generalisations of complex topics or “spout moral platitudes on vogue topics”.
She noted: “Debate is often feared, and questions can be rejected.”
Rather than listening and responding, Ms Harris argued, MEPs often just try to shame each other in their opinion rather than addressing the actual issues and concepts the debate is supposed to conjure.
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The former MEP added: “To vote, MEPs use a voting sheet with symbols that represent For, Against, and Abstain on a button panel.
“The voting lists are massive and you go through the votes at breakneck speed.
“Sometimes merely putting your arm up is enough to vote.
“But the speed and the insufficient method of putting your hand up also misses the actual outcome of votes, and we have to vote again.
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“Other times, calls from MEPs for a re-vote are ignored.
“The lack of a democratic rigorous process was persistently obvious.”
Ms Harris concluded that the very fact the EU has swathes of MEPs within the European Parliament, who build their careers on the rejection of the institution, suggests there are not enough democratic mechanisms for change within it.
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