Martin Bell Fails to Understand Mar04

In response to Martin Bell's announcement to stand as MEP for Eastern Region, Bashir Khanbhai, Conservative Euro-MP for Eastern Region, with special responsibility for Norfolk and Suffolk has said:


"Martin Bell misunderstands the position of the 8 MEPs currently elected to serve Eastern Region. He may wish to exclusively represent Norfolk and Suffolk, however, in the unlikely event that he is elected, he will be obliged to represent all constituents across the other four counties in Eastern Region as well."


"The closed list system for the European elections was chosen by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw. The Labour Party is responsible for inflicting on us a method of proportional representation that does away with the familiar and popular British electoral tradition of ensuring representatives have a direct constituency link."


"Following the European elections in 1999, the team of four Conservative MEPs agreed to divide the Region into four areas to restore the constituency link, while still being obliged to serve the Region as a whole. I have been privileged to focus on Norfolk and Suffolk and as a result have spent more time there than in any of the six counties."


"I can claim strong links to Norfolk and Suffolk which has only been possible due to the number of Conservative MEPs in the Region. Voting in an Independent candidate would be a waste of valuable seat as an individual MEP operating outside a political group carries no weight in the European Parliament because the system prevents independents from gaining important committee positions and legislative reports. The Conservatives are best at putting British interests first and serving the needs of constituents across the Eastern Region."