European Parliament Election 2014: MEPs who offer best value for money face defeat

Analysis of pay and expenses shows that those who cost the least are most likely to lose their seats

It is one of the ironies of the democratic system: working hard and being “value for money” is not necessarily enough to save you at the ballot box.

An analysis by The Independent of how hard the UK’s MEPs work in the European Parliament – compared to what they claim in expenses – reveals that the parties which are best value for money, on this measure at least, are most likely to face the chop.

The Liberal Democrats, for example, have a value-for-money rating of eight out of 10 but are almost certain to face heavy losses among their current 10 MEPs. By contrast Ukip, which has a value for money rating of just 4.4 out of 10, could see its representation double.

The Independent analysed the attendance record of 55 MEPs from the four main parties and combined it with figures for the number of parliamentary questions they asked, committee reports they were involved in, motions and opinions drafted, and signed written declarations.

The statistics do not include other committee work, or constituency work. These figures were then divided by their estimated  total cost to the taxpayer – a figure made up of parliamentary allowances, expenses and salary. 

Nigel Farage and his deputy, Paul Nuttall, had the worst attendance ratings of any UK politician in Brussels but still managed to cost the taxpayer over £600,000 each in salary and allowances.

Over the last parliament Mr Farage has not drafted or amended a single report and voted just 42 per cent of the time. Mr Nuttall spoke in parliament on average just 10 times a year and asked 24 parliamentary questions.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage, right, cost the taxpayer £600,000 in salary and allowances (Getty) Ukip leader Nigel Farage, right, cost the taxpayer £600,000 in salary and allowances (Getty)
But the Earl of Dartmouth, Ukip’s representative for the South-west, had one of the best participation records in the parliament.

He has asked over 550 questions and made over 260 speeches yet only cost the taxpayer £50,000 more than Mr Farage.

In contrast the Liberal Democrats cost a little more – but tended to work a lot harder. Their most assiduous MEP was Sarah Ludford who voted 93 per cent of the time while another of their MEPs Sir Graham Watson asked 394 questions and was involved in 55 reports. Both will struggle to hold on to their seats. Of the Conservatives, Sir Robert Atkins, who will retire at this election, appeared to have one of the lowest work rates but he had a serious back operation that curtailed his activities.

Jacqueline Foster, who has a very high attendance rate, appears to be less involved in parliamentary activities, but Ms Foster said this was because they are not included in the statistics collected by the transparency website VoteWatch.eu

Overall the Tories had a value-for-money rating of 6.3 out of 10, broadly the same as Labour which was 6.5  out of 10.

A Ukip spokesman pointed out that party leaders tended to have poor voting records. “It is not all about how often you turn up; it’s about how well you represent your party and you constituents,” he said. “Paul is very visible in the North East and works very hard – but that doesn’t mean just signing in on the register.”

A spokesman for the Liberal Democrats said he hoped voters would recognise the value of MEPs who got “stuck in” and defended Britain’s interest in the Parliament.

“We are proud of how hard our MEPs work,” he said.

Work rate was calculated using European Parliament data collated by VoteWatch.eu.

Other aspects of an MEP's workload, such as participation in committees and delegations, and meetings with constituents, were not taken into account because they are difficult or impossible to quantify.

 

Top five: The hardest workers

Charles Tannock: Conservative

Elected as an MEP for London in 1999, Mr Tannock is the UK spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Human Rights in the European Parliament.

William Legge: Earl of Dartmouth, Ukip

The Ukip peer was elected in 2009 as an MEP for the South West of England.

Sir Graham Watson: Liberal Democrat

Sir Graham has served as an MEP for the South West of England since 1994.

Marina Yannakoudakis: Conservative

Elected first in 2009, the MEP represents London and campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation.

Baroness Sarah Ludford: Liberal Democrat

Baroness Ludford was elected as an MEP for London in 1999, 2004 and 2009.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Day In a Page

Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference