'UK's laziest MEP' made two speeches in 4 years

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David Sumberg, one of the Conservative Party’s MEPs from the North West, has been branded “Britain’s laziest MEP” for asking only two questions and giving two speeches since the last European elections in 2004. It was revealed earlier this year that the MEP made payments to his wife, Carolyn, of up to £60,000 a year for her services as a secretary.

Mr Sumberg, who lives 200 miles from his constituency in a £2m house in London, says he now employs his wife, who is still described on the Conservative Party website as a freelance translator and mature student, as a fulltime assistant.

Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West, said: “It really cheeses me off when an MEP so ostentatiously ignores their duty of service. We all get tarnished.” A statement on Mr Sumberg’s website says he is standing down next year.

“Ten years in the European Parliament is long enough. This is particularly so for me as someone who is not a signed-up member of the European project,” it read. “It is no secret that, unlike most of my MEP colleagues, I do not support a more centralised and federal European Union.”

Mr Sumberg says he specialises in foreign affairs and has a particular interest in relations with the US. He began his political career on Manchester City Council and was MP for Bury South for 14 years, serving as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then Attorney General, Sir Patrick Mayhew, from 1987 to 1990.

He has two children and lists one of his interests as travel.