Brexiteer claims holding European elections will ‘harm trust in politics’
- Credit: Archant
A former Tory minister has claimed that holding European Parliament elections would further damage 'pretty shaky' trust in politics.
Lord Robathan told the House of Lords said people would 'at the very least be astonished' if the UK went ahead with the polls next month, following vote to leave the EU.
But Conservative frontbencher Lord Young pointed out that the Brexiteer peer was better placed to persuade his hardline colleagues in the Commons to finally back the prime minister's deal and so avoid the need to hold the May 23 elections.
The government faces a race against the clock to ratify a Brexit agreement in time to cancel the elections.
The existing deal has already been the subject of three defeats.
You may also want to watch:
Lord Young told peers: 'It remains the government's intention to leave the EU with a deal before May 23 so that we do not need to participate in European parliamentary elections.
'However, we have taken the necessary steps required by law should we have to participate, and we have provided the necessary legislation for returning officers to hold potential European parliamentary elections on May 23.'
- 1 These are the 322 Tory MPs who voted against extending free school meals to children
- 2 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 3 Betty Boothroyd delivers scathing assessment of Boris Johnson's government
- 4 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
- 5 Michael Gove's Brexit fantasy is leading us down a perilous path
- 6 Boris Johnson 'plans to resign' in six months because he can't live on £150k salary
- 7 German MEP tells Boris Johnson he 'owes' Britons a Brexit deal as she urged a return to EU trade talks
- 8 How the Daily Star became Boris Johnson's biggest critic
- 9 Question Time: Ex-Tory minister accused of making 'sickening' comment about free schools meals row
- 10 'Shameful' Tory minister defends government memo attacking Marcus Rashford's free school meals call
But pressing the government, Lord Robathan said: 'Whatever position people took in the referendum and have taken since, surely the people of this country will at the very least be astonished if we fight these elections.
'Our friends in Europe and elsewhere are already pretty bemused.
'Should it come to pass that we fight these elections, the trust in Parliament and politicians that is already pretty shaky will be further harmed, so will he consider what action the government can take to bolster that trust before it completely disappears?'
Lord Young said: 'I hear his concern about the breach of public trust that would occur were that eventuality to take place.'
He added: 'I am as anxious as he is to avoid holding the European elections.
'With that objective in mind, I believe that he might have more leverage with the European Research Group than I have.
'Perhaps he could persuade those who have so far declined to do so to back the deal so that we have a better chance to call off the election.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.