The 'kick in the backside' that backfired

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The Independent Online
AS BOASTS GO, it was a brazen one, writes Stephen Castle. In the aftermath of last week's vote, Pauline Green, leader of the 214-strong Socialist group in the European Parliament, claimed her share of the credit for having kicked the European Commission "in the backside". Yet the MEPs who delivered the blow did it against her advice.

While it was Ms Green who tabled the initial censure motion against the Commission last December, her intention was to give the 20 commissioners a vote of confidence. For the 50-year-old former policewoman these tactics were to backfire badly, bringing her name before tabloid readers back home who might never have heard of the European Parliament, let alone any of its members.

The fact that she emerged not only unbowed, but claiming victory, is testament to her ability to survive. But her reputation has taken a knock, just as speculation mounts about her future. She has taken herself out of the running for the job of president of the parliament, with which she was linked, but is still a possible Labour contender for the job of London mayor.