Not content with our imminent departure from the European Union, the Brexit Party is continuing to obstruct important policies in European Parliament.
The Brexit Party delegation of MEPs this week abstained on a resolution to stop discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, with some of their MEPs voting against key amendments.
The resolution, which was passed despite the Brexit Party’s efforts, represents a supranational commitment to uphold the rights of LGBTI people.
The resolution acknowledged concern about “the growing number of attacks against the LGBT community” and said it “strongly condemns any discrimination against LGBT people and their fundamental rights by public authorities, including hate speech by public authorities and elected officials”.
“LGBTI rights are fundamental rights.
“EU institutions and the Member States therefore have a duty to uphold them and protect them”
But Brexit Party MEPs decided that this was an issue worth sitting on the fence about, with all their MEPs present for the vote opting to abstain. Louis Stedman-Bryce, who resigned from the party last month, also voted against it.
What’s more, Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe – who has in the past claimed that science could “produce an answer” to being gay – voted against an amendment to the motion. This amendment sought to condemn the attempts of some countries to “censor LGBTI-related content and materials”. She also voted against an amendment calling on member states to recognise same-sex marriage.
Additionally, the resolution called for an end to homophobic harassment at school. It called for member states to enhance the investigation of hate-based crimes, and to put further pressure on Poland to stop homophobic discrimination.
The resolution condemned “incidents of hate crime and hate speech motivated by racism, xenophobia or religious intolerance, or by bias against a person’s disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics or minority status, which occur in the EU on a daily basis”.
In their abstention, the Brexit Party did not join this condemnation.
Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament, criticised the Brexit Party’s apathy.
Speaking to Scram News, he said:
“It is unsurprising, but telling, that right wing populists from across Europe opposed the European Parliament’s criticism of Poland’s disturbing LGBT free zones. The values of Europe are under threat. We have to push back against attacks on individual freedoms and rights wherever they emerge.”
And it is not the first time the Brexit Party has declined to use its powers in the European Parliament. Recently, they have abstained on a vote calling for international action against child abuse. Alongside Tory MEPs, they also abstained on a resolution condemning a proposed Polish anti-abortion law.
Meanwhile, in September, Farage’s MEPs abstained on a resolution calling for Iran to release imprisoned dual EU-Iranian nationals, including jailed Brit Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
And when Farage’s MEPs have used their vote, they have done so oppose self-evidently beneficial policies, such as a resolution calling for action against foreign election meddling and Russian disinformation. They have also voted against two climate change motions, one to declare an emergency and another to commit the EU to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Writing on Twitter, Catherine Rowett, MEP for the Green Party added that the Brexit Party came to Parliament “to disrupt things”. She said:
“Europe will be happily rid of those MEPs.”
Judging their voting record, she’s not wrong.