A group of about 40 people have just returned from a two-day trip to Brussels which included a visit to the European parliament there.
The trip was hosted by Gerard Batten MEP and part-funded by the EU. The price visitors had to pay for this was to be told how wonderful the EU is by an official there.
The group started by catching the Eurostar from St Pancras International on Wednesday, arriving at their Brussels hotel at about 4pm. Many then set off for the Grande Place, the city’s magnificent central square, where they marvelled at the architecture and visited the local hostelries before moving on to the restaurant at which they had dinner.
They were joined there by their host MEP who spoke for a few minutes during the meal.
The following morning the visitors, led by the Mr Batten’s researcher Lynnda Robson, took a local train to the station nearest the parliament and went inside. An EU official explained the workings of the parliament and Mr Batten spoke about UKIP’s role there. Then it was on to the chamber where the visitors saw a brief plenary session.
UKIP Daily associate editor Debbie le May, who went on the trip, said: “It was nice of the EU to subsidise our visit and as far as the EU official’s talk was concerned, I had slept poorly, the room was warm and airless and the seats were comfortable – well, you can guess! Gerard woke us all up with his speech.
“The plenary session was very brief and extremely swift. We were not given any sort of agenda and it seemed that members were voting on ‘proposal number 214’ or ‘amendment number 8’ or something like that – there was really no way we could understand what was going on. The translation headphones were useful though.”
The group then went back to the Grande Place for more shopping, eating and drinking before catching the late afternoon Eurostar back to London.
Debbie added: “It was an interesting trip and fascinating seeing the way the European Parliament works. I would like to thank Gerard for the opportunity and Lynnda for her guidance.”
The trip was arranged through Simply Groups, a specialist tour agency, and further trips are planned.