UKIP’s European Parliamentary group, the ‘Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy’, has collapsed today as a single, Latvian member holding the group together walked out. UKIP sources believe the move was intentionally orchestrated by the socialist President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.
Breitbart London understands that Iveta Gringule, the sole representative of the Latvian Farmers Union, resigned from the EFDD group this morning, meaning that the strict criteria for forming a political group set up by the European Parliament is not met.
Groups must have representatives from 7 different EU member states, which the EFDD no longer does. Speculation now abounds as to whether 17 MEPs from the Italian 5 Star Movement will find another group.
The news will come as a serious blow to UKIP who have been doing well in domestic elections in the UK.
Ms Grigule, the sole Latvian MEP in the EFDD group, signed her letter of resignation in the office of the European Parliament President Mr Schulz this morning. He later told the Conference of Presidents, the committee of the Parliament’s group leaders, that the EFDD had folded.
Concerning her resignation, Ms Grigule told the secretary general of the EFDD Group that “I had to do it to get elected.”
She told the General Secretary of the EFDD Group that the EPP chairman Manfred Weber and European Parliament Martin Schulz told her she must resign from the EFDD Group in order to attain the presidency of a European Parliamentary delegation to Kazakstan – a move that some have called “blackmail” by the EP President.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage and EFDD Co-Chairman responded to the news saying: “If we are correct in our understanding about the events, President Schulz would be more suited to being the president of a parliament in a banana republic. It would seem he has exceeded his role that should apply to a neutral chairman or president of a parliament. I believe this is an example of political bias on an extraordinary scale.”
There will now be speculation about whether UKIP MEPs will be forced to sign up with political parties it had previously wanted to avoid, such as the French Front Nationale. Sharon Ellul-Bonici, Secretary General of the European Alliance for Freedom, a pan European party which includes Marine Le Pen, said “UKIP will have to be seen with the other ‘bad fellas’ in another group with far right elements or still sit next to them as Non-Attached.”
She added that she was “not surprised” about the collapse of the group, saying that she felt Ms Grigule was not to be trusted.
“She promised us that she would take all her meetings to the board [of her party] and decide [whether to join the EAF group]. Forty five minutes later she signed for Nigel [Farage].
“I knew then that she was not to be trusted.”
As Co-Chairman of the group, UKIP leader Nigel Farage was a member of the influential ‘Conference of Presidents’ committee as well as having a front row seat in plenary next to the European Commission President Mr Juncker.
Perhaps more concerning will be the loss of the group structure which provides research and administrative staff for the group of MEPs as well as funding for political campaigns and publicity in the home countries of the MEPs.
The funding, which runs into the millions, will mean that previously successful events and campaigning tools, such as information booklets to every household in Ireland during the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and conferences which highlighted the work of the MEPs will now be in jeopardy.