Follow rules over MEP’s successor

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From: Coun Dr Nader (Lib Dem), Hope Street, Hebden Bridge.

I WRITE in response to the hoo-ha over Diana Wallis’s resignation as MEP for the Yorkshire and Humber region (Yorkshire Post, January 23).

I am of course surprised and saddened that she won’t be able to complete her term as our representative in Brussels/Strasbourg, but I feel that she is being unfairly maligned and vilified in the Press and media at large.

Let us not forget that she has given more than a dozen years of unstinting service on behalf of the people of Yorkshire and the Humber, working hard to raise issues as varied as endometriosis, Equitable Life, gender equality, and working for the environment, indeed she was voted the region’s greenest MEP.

In the last two sessions she has addressed Parliament more than a thousand times, asked dozens of questions, put forward 30 motions for resolution, amended nearly 100 reports, drafted some 15 reports, and had an attendance rate of well over 90 per cent. A punishing schedule by any standard, and easily the most active British MEP by a long chalk.

She also succeeded in getting July 11 recognised as the day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide all over the EU and has been awarded the Srebrenica prize in Bosnia. No mean feat especially in the week we commemorate Holocaust memorial day.

I am not alone in wishing her well in all her future endeavours.

As for who should succeed in taking her seat in the European Parliament, the rules are very clear, the person who finished below her should, if he is willing, to take her place. Anything else would be a travesty. It would be ludicrous to exclude that person because he happened to be married to Diana Wallis.

Stewart Arnold won his place on the list on his own merits, fair and square.

If he declines, what next? Would we go down to the next person (who doesn’t live in Yorkshire), or the next (who lost his council seat last May), or to the person who finished fifth on the list? That would be ludicrous.

Oh, wait a minute that last person would be me! On second thoughts...

No, let’s play by the rules, stop all the sniping and let Stewart get on with the job of continuing the fine work that Diana has done for so long.

Pledge over caged hens

From: Linda McAvan MEP, Labour spokesperson on Environment, Food Safety and Health, European Parliament.

YOU are right that the ongoing production of eggs from caged hens in some EU countries is distinctly unfair to farmers who have complied with the new higher welfare standards now in place (Yorkshire Post, January 13).

That is why myself and colleagues pressed the European Commission not to grant exemptions from the new rules, despite heavy lobbying from some quarters.

This means that countries which are still producing eggs from caged hens are breaching EU law and we expect the European Commission to act quickly in enforcing the ban and create a level playing field across the EU.

The Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, is due to meet with MEPs in February and I will again take this opportunity to press home the importance of this issue for farmers and animal welfare.

Gardens invaded

From: Derek Russell, Aike, Driffield.

AS a resident of Aike, we are visited by the Holderness Hunt which plies its obnoxious “sporting activity” during the hunting season.

The latest visit last weekend was to be one of the worst we have experienced. On two occasions during the day their hounds entered private land, including people’s gardens.

Many of your readers express their support for these people and their “sporting” activity. I would hazard a guess that many have never experienced at first hand the sordid pursuit of a defenceless animal hunted to death in a cruel and callous manner.

I agree that the law surrounding the Hunting Act 2004 needs reviewing; I would suggest that fox hunting needs banning equivocally and without any ambiguities. That day will come sometime in the future and I hope and pray I shall be around long enough to see it.

Complacency in boardroom

From: T Marston, Lincoln.

I WAS interested to read the letters (Yorkshire Post, January 21) from former school governors urging headteachers to take Education Secretary Michael Gove’s advice on dealing sternly with “poor teachers”.

Initially, somebody appointed the “poor teachers” to their positions; probably, if I’m not mistaken, headteachers and governors.

Could it be that here is another example of complacency in the boardroom?

From: Keith Woodard, Belmont Avenue, Calcutt, Knaresborough.

I NOTE Michael Gove’s plan (Yorkshire Post, January 21) to weed out poor teachers – but has anyone thought about where the replacements will come from? Where are the plans to expand teacher training places to fill the gap?

Sanctimony and humbug

From: John Wilson, Wilsons Solicitors, New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds.

THE juror being jailed for a bit of internet research is a disgrace. We need more lay involvement in the legal process not less, and this will hardly encourage it (Yorkshire Post, January 24).

The real issue is not the juror using a bit of common sense and initiative, but the legal system that conspired to withhold from the jury a fact that a reasonable jury member (eg this one) thought relevant. Who needs lawyers when jurymen can figure it out for themselves (perish the thought)?

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