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    European Parliament members attend a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

    EU Afraid UK to 'Return 73 Nigel Farages' if Stay for European Elections - MP

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    LONDON (Sputnik) - Officials in Brussels are fearful of the United Kingdom staying in the European Union in time for this May’s European Parliament elections as the UK voters may vote overwhelmingly for euroskeptic candidates, David Coburn, an EP lawmaker for Scotland, told Sputnik on Friday.

    "They are absolutely terrified in Europe of an election, because essentially we could return seventy-three Nigel Farages. And I don't think they can cope with that. They're terrified of that happening. That's what they don't want and that's why they are trying to change the date so they do not have to have a European election," he said.

    Coburn claimed that this was the main reason EU leaders on Thursday set such a specific deadline for the country’s departure, with the most likely outcome being an "accidental" no deal in the event of the British parliament again failing to support Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal.

    May appeared to clinch a last-minute deal with EU leaders on Thursday over delaying the country's exit until May 22, albeit only in the event that she is able to win approval for her now twice-defeated Withdrawal Agreement. If the British parliament fails to back her the country will likely leave on April 12 with no deal, itself a scenario long feared by pro-Remainers as involving potentially serious economic damage.

    READ MORE: UK to Seriously Consider 'No-Deal' Brexit Amid Robust Economy

    Responding to a question on European Council chief Donald Tusk's recent statement that the UK House of Commons now has a choice between the prime minister's deal, no deal or revoking Article 50, Coburn also claimed Tusk was "out of touch," given the allegedly undemocratic nature of the bloc itself.

    "I think that Donald Tusk is utterly and completely out of touch with what British people are thinking. That's half the trouble. The European Union is not about democracy but rule by bureaucrats. Their aim is to have the whole of Europe run from Brussels, not by elected politicians, but by bureaucrats. Nobody voted for Jean Claude Junker. Nobody voted for Donald Tusk," he argued.

    Coburn also claimed the ruling Conservative party had suffered considerably over the course of Brexit negotiations, with the success of Theresa May's Brexit deal in any potential vote next week depending on how "desperate" Tory lawmakers were to save their own party.

    "They have a big problem at the moment in that the party looks terrible, she [May] has made it look worse and quite frankly they said they were going to deliver Brexit and have done everything except deliver Brexit," he stressed.

    Critics believe May is unlikely to be able to get her Brexit deal approved by Parliament, however, given the scale of defeats suffered previously in votes held in January and last week.

    READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn Set to Discuss Possibility of ‘Soft Brexit' With Theresa May

    January 15 saw the Prime Minister endure a sizeable loss as parliamentarians rejected her Brussels-approved deal by a majority of 230. Lawmakers rallied against her deal again on March 12 by a less decisive although still sizeable majority of 149, with a potential third vote being initially ruled out last Monday by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, unless "substantial" changes were made.

    May is believed to have yet further reduced her chances of gaining Parliamentary approval for her Agreement by allegedly alienated members of parliament by appearing to place the blame for the current impasse on lawmakers themselves.

    Parliament will, however, most likely vote for a third time on the May's deal next week. If successful, the United Kingdom will enjoy a longer extension of Article 50 until a day prior to elections to the European Parliament on May 23. If unsuccessful, it stands to crash out of the European Union without a deal on April 12.

    The views and opinions expressed by in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    election, Article 50, Brexit, European Union, United Kingdom
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