Richard Ashworth, the former leader of the UK Conservative delegation in the European Parliament, was expelled from the Conservative party this week in a shock move by the party Chairman, Brandon Lewis.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Ashworth said: “In October 2017, I, along with Julie Girling, voted in support of a European Parliament resolution that said, “Not enough progress has been made, by the EU and the UK, in resolving the question of the Irish border after Brexit”. Only five Conservative MEPs took part in the vote, which was not a political statement but a factual one.”
In light of that vote, Prime Minister Theresa May announced at the following PMQs “I have suspended the party whip from two Conservative MEPs”.
Subsequently, Both MEPs in defiance of the British Conservative delegation, voted to censure the far right Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. Consequently, Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis, announced this week that Ashworth and Girling had been expelled from the Conservative party.
Ashworth added: “Having been a party worker for over 30 years and, having been former group leader and party board member, I find this extremely disappointing. I always have been, and always will be, a Conservative. However, I am surprised that the party does not apply the same standards in Westminster and I am extremely concerned that this once broad-church pragmatic Conservative party has deserted the centre ground in favour of far right ideology and intolerance”.
Richard Ashworth MEP for South East England was among Conservative MEPs who this week put their names to a charter pledging support for British farming.
Richard signed a five-point pledge committing support for UK agriculture and backing British growers in producing healthy, sustainable food.
The pledge called for fair contracts, sustainable growth, balanced trade deals with other countries, a central place for science in agricultural decision-making, and a simpler, more-equitable Common Agricultural Policy.
Richard signed up to the pledge at an event organised in the European Parliament in Strasbourg by the four farming unions of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Richard was thanked for his support by the President of the National Farmers’ Union Meurig Raymond.
Richard Ashworth MEP said: “Farming is central to the economy, health and wellbeing of the whole country and if we fail to support farmers we fail to support ourselves. The pledge sets out a clear vision of a fair deal for farming that should reassure consumers while securing a viable future for agriculture.
“I was delighted to be asked to lend my support and I shall continue to ensure that the voices of British farmers are heard here in Strasbourg and in Brussels.”
A top-to-bottom overhaul of the European Union budget was demanded by Conservative MEPs today as the European Parliament in Strasbourg debated a looming black hole in spending plans.
Budget spokesman Richard Ashworth said a complete rethink of spending patterns was needed to head off a worsening payments crisis caused by a yawning gap between the EU’s commitments and its anticipated funds.
“Current spending plans are unsustainable,” he said. “The solution is not continually to seek an increased budget. Instead we must work within fiscal limits and set the correct priorities within them.
“That means conducting a radical review of the whole budgeting process.”
MEPs were debating EU Commission figures showing that member states submitted claims in 2013 which were €10bn above those from 2012.
Mr Ashworth, Conservative MEP for South East England, said he fully backed recent cuts to the EU budget – but he also supported increased spending on initiatives to combat youth unemployment, stimulate economic growth and boost research, development and innovation.
He stressed that the only way to achieve both those things was for traditional spending to be cut to allow greater focus on the areas that mattered.
“Unless there is a significant reduction in other traditional spending patterns, an ever-deepening payments crisis is inevitable. We must prioritise spending strictly in line with value for money,” he said
Richard Ashworth Conservative MEP for the South East has called on car rental firms operating throughout the European Union to stop “ripping off” customers with unfair and in some cases illegal charges when hiring cars.
Increasingly my constituents across the South-East of England who are travelling to other EU member states and hiring cars during holidays are being charged unfairly for the use of hire cars.
In one situation I was informed of a constituent who hired a car in Spain, and discovered that he was charged 256 EURO’s for a car shelf replacement in the vehicle, even though the vehicle did not have a car shelf. In another case a constituent placed the keys of the hire car through a letter box and not a person at the desk as it was late at night, and the hire firm claimed the keys were lost and charged my constituent 300 EURO’s for a replacement key.
In many cases I believe that consumers feel vehicle hire companies have unfairly charged their credit cards when these were provided to the company as a guarantee to cover expenses in case anything would happen during the hire period. These charges are very often made without being accompanied by any kind of explanation and set up a disappointing surprise for the consumers. A negative conclusion of this practice is that these charges are perceived by consumers as non reasonable and non acceptable.
The general advice is when you are going to hire a car within the European Union, is to make sure you know how much you will be liable for in the event of accident inspect the vehicle carefully (with a car rental company employee present) when collecting and returning it. Request a written statement that the car was returned in good working order before you leave.
I support a coherent legal EU-wide framework that governs car hire agreements and believe the issue of vehicle hire is appropriate for EU action; and it is within the EU’s scope to act. As the vehicle hire sector is mainly a cross-border market, this matter should be solved at EU level. By harmonising Member States’ laws, regulations and administrative provisions on vehicle hire contracts, a common high level of consumer protection can therefore be better achieved at Community level than by the different Member States themselves
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