10:14am Friday 2nd March 2012
By Andy Carswell
A BUCKS Tory MEP says there are too many people representing the south east in Europe - and has also called for the European Parliament voting system to be changed.
James Elles said this week that more 'centralised' constituencies should be created to represent British people in the European Parliament.
His party's most recent European election manifesto said the current set-up makes MEPs "too distant" and "unaccountable" to constituents - a view endorsed by former Great Missenden resident Mr Elles.
He said: "Instead of having ten MEPs elected for the whole of the south east region, there could be three 'localised' constituencies consisting of two three-members and one with four Members."
Mr Elles, who represents Oxfordshire and Berkshire in the European Parliament along with Bucks, also called for the EU voting system to be changed, criticising the fact voters cannot choose a candidate to elect.
A 'closed list' system, where voters choose which party to vote for rather than an individual candidate, was introduced for European Parliament elections in 1999.
The system also places each party's candidates in a ordered list of preference, but Mr Elles has called for a Conservative party election pledge to change things to be introduced.
Their 2009 European election maifesto read: "The current regional list system for electing MEPs is open to the criticism that it makes MEPs too distant from, and unaccountable to, their constituents. A Conservative Government will review the individual constituencies, while respecting the required element of proportionality."
Mr Elles said: "In the south east region which I represent, there are more than 80 Westminster constituencies within it. "Having opposed the proportional system, the four Conservative MEPs in the south east region divided the area into four sub-constituencies in 2004 to enable a more direct representation for our electorate, meaning that I represent the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire area for the Conservative Party."
There are ten MEPs who represent the south east of England at the European Parliament. They include UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Daniel Hannan, who achieved worldwide notoriety for criticising Gordon Brown's economic policy, and Sharon Bowles, the first Briton to chair the Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.
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