It is generally accepted that at election time the incumbent MP has an advantage. Their name may be well known, they may even have a position within government. They will use this profile to hammer home a message of experience, competency and a safe pair of hands (often in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary), scaremongering all the while about the chaos that will befall should their inexperienced opponents be elected. We must take what incumbent MPs say when they want our vote in the last few months before an election with a pinch of salt. Much better instead to take a long hard look at their record in office.
Fortunate then that The Bruges Group has done sterling work in ranking all 650 MPs on how they voted on EU issues since 2010.
“In the House of Commons if an MP votes to protect or preserve Britain’s democracy and economy from EU interference they are awarded a score of plus 2. If the MP votes in a way that harms our freedom, prosperity and sovereignty the MP receives a vote of minus 2”
Let’s take Liz Truss, Conservative Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for example. She recently featured on the front page of The Telegraph claiming (rightly) that the EU was damaging British farmers. In words that could have been spoken by UKIP’s Stuart Agnew, Ms Truss said that decisions on matters such as the use of pesticides should be made in the UK, and that we should look to trade more with countries beyond the EU.
Fine words, but the UK has no power to act in this area, or in countless others, while we are in the EU. Strange then that a look at her voting record paints a very different picture. The Bruges Group gave her a score of -16. This represents a more pro-EU voting record than that of arch EU apologist Nick Clegg (-13). Like so many MPs, Liz Truss may sound Eurosceptic, particularly with an election on the horizon, but her voting record is there for all to see.
I urge you to take a minute to look up your local MP’s score on the Bruges Group list. You may find that your MP sounds Eurosceptic in public, but acts very differently when in Westminster and their constituents seem a very long way away.
Both of UKIP’s MPs are in the top 10 of those who voted for Britain to rule itself. Mark Reckless scored + 67 and Douglas Carswell scored +73. UKIP talk the talk, but more importantly they walk the walk. This is because they genuinely believe in what they are saying, they speak from conviction.
Candidates from other parties are torn between sounding Eurosceptic in order to win votes and their pro-EU party leadership. If they want to win the approval of their party leadership in the hope of advancing their career, they have a choice to make. Too many duck this choice, and say one thing while doing another.
Many MPs enter politics from the best of motives, but in the two-party duopoly that has dominated Britain since the war, too many MPs now think that their loyalty is to their party not the people. Rather than representing the people in their constituency at Westminster, too many MPs find themselves representing their party in their constituency (and then only at election time).
By contrast, this is what happens when you vote for UKIP. Elected UKIP representatives are ordinary people, they are generally not in politics for a career (they tend to already have had one of those) but because they want to deliver real change for people.