Britain’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) may have dodged a bullet fired by the Conservatives straight at Nigel Farage. Members of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement, the Italian anti-establishment, anti-EU party, voted to have their 17 members in the European Parliament join UKIP in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group.
The European Parliament operates in such a way that parties from across the continent and Britain join together in wider groupings, with a minimum requirement for the number of members and the diversity of countries in each group. Following last month’s European Elections there have been concerns that UKIP would be unable to form a group because of Britain’s Conservative Party effectively stealing its group-mates.
But this latest developments means UKIP may well get enough members to keep their EFD group alive, assuring Farage and his eurosceptic allies that they will be able to demand seats on committees in the parliament and have full access to the millions of euros in political funding only groups can claim from the parliament.
More, unless Farage is leader of a group, he will not have that priceless front row seat at the parliament from which he can launch his attacks on the EU elite, such as his famous 2010 attack on Herman Van Rompuy, unelected president of the European Council, when he said Van Rompuy had “all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk.”
Now the Five Star vote, on top of confirmation this week from members of Lithuanian, Czech and Dutch parties, means UKIP is getting close to the vital seven countries needed to form a group.
Breitbart London has seen a copy of an email Rolandas Paksas from the Lithanian Order and Justice Party sent to Nigel Farage saying “that I would like to confirm my intention to continue sitting in the EFD group, with all the other information being only speculations and spin.”
This followed speculation that the party could defect to the group led by Marine Le Pen’s Front National, the anti-EU party which won the elections in France last month. With the Italian vote tonight, UKIP’s group is now level-pegging with Le Pen’s, which also has five countries signed up.
The vote tonight by Grillo’s Five Star Movement went overwhelmingly in favour of UKIP’s group at just over 78 per cent of the vote. The Tories’ group attracted under three per cent.
As Breitbart London reported on May 28, Grillo and Farage looked likely to join together to defeat the British Conservatives’ plans to leave UKIP isolated in the parliament. After a meeting with Farage to discuss joining forces, Grillo said: “We are rebels with a cause, and we shall whistle as we march.”