This evening in the European Parliament, Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP for the North East and EU budget spokesman, led a protest against the suppression of debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Arnott proposed a procedural motion to suspend the sitting "to allow Parliament the opportunity to reflect on the undemocratic actions by President Martin Schulz and other officials to suppress the vote and debate on this issue which is of concern to millions of people across the EU."
Arnott said: "I proposed suspending Parliamentary debate for the day to highlight this point. The officials on the podium responded with what looked like panic, ringing the division bell and breaking their own rules. The rules demand an immediate vote, but they delayed for over forty minutes to allow their supporters to flood the chamber."
Roger Helmer, UKIP MEP for East Midlands and energy spokesman, was in the chamber to support the protest. When it became clear the vice-president (Ildikó Gall-Pelcz) was acting in breach of the rules, Helmer broke procedure and went onto the podium to ask her if she realised she was in breach of the rules. "She replied yes. I then asked her if she was happy she was breaking the rules, and she said she was not. And yet she broke the rules anyway."
Notes for editors:
- Article 191 of the Rules of Procedure states: The sitting may be suspended or closed during a debate or vote if Parliament so decides on a proposal from the President or at the request of a political group or at least 40 Members. Such proposal or request shall be put to the vote immediately.
- The Rules were broken by:
- The vice-President (Ildikó GÁLL-PELCZ) challenged the number of members present, even though it was requested on behalf of a political group
- The vice-President stalled proceedings by claiming incorrectly that "a sitting may not be suspended twice in one day"
- The vice-President permitted the issue to be debated at length, despite the rules requiring it to be "put to the vote immediately"
- The division bell was rung continuously to call MEPs to the chamber apparently to frustrate this protest