Earlier today, Liberal Democrat MEP Diana Wallis announced her resignation from the European Parliament, effective 31 January. Her statement is in full below, but reading between the lines and adding in what I’ve heard from party sources it looks like the BBC story over disagreements related to the elections for European Parliament posts are right.
Local Liberal Democrat MEP, Diana Wallis, had announced her resignation from the European Parliament. In a statement on her website she says:
“I have been in the European Parliament twelve years and I think that is time enough. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and it was truly a huge privilege; especially to serve as a Vice President of Parliament for the last five years. However, I think all of us, whatever our professions, need to turn a new page from time to time.
“At the mid-term of parliament many members come and go, so accordingly this moment following upon my unsuccessful bid for the Presidency is a good time to take stock. I undertook that bid for reasons that I deeply believe in but such a course of action is bound to lead to reflection. I want to take a break from politics and to take time and assess what next.
“I have been at the service of the people of Yorkshire and the Humber for twelve and a half years. I will always be grateful for the trust that was placed in me to carry out this role, but now is the time for someone with fresh eyes to take over.
“I remain a committed pro-European Liberal Democrat.”
UPDATE: Fellow Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies has rather put the boot in with his comments to the press, picking up on the fact that under the list election rules the person in line to take over from Diana Wallis is her husband, Stewart Arnold:
Davies said, “He is not guaranteed to succeed her but it is likely to do so. The problem is that this will leave a very bad taste in the mouths of a lot of people.
“It will serve to reinforce the ‘gravy train’ or ‘jobs for the boys’ image many people have of MEPs.”
He added, “Under current party rules, there is not much we can do about this but I think the party hierarchy should seriously now consider looking into possible ways of choosing a candidate other than the husband of Diana Wallis.”
Davies said, “One door shuts on her career in Brussels and another one opens for her husband. I really cannot imagine her constituents will be impressed by any of this. People will feel uncomfortable with this. It looks wrong and I share their assessment.”
Speculating on her reason for quitting, Davies said it may have been influenced by the fact that the Lib Dems supported McMillan-Scott for ALDE’s one vice-presidency post ahead of Wallis.