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Farage: close EU vote has ‘no legitimacy’. How about Brexit?

by Jonathan Spink | 17.07.2019

The European Parliament has voted in favour of appointing Ursula von der Leyen as head of the European Commission. Her appointment was somewhat controversial among MEPs and the vote was close. Von der Leyen needed to pass a threshold of 374 votes; in the end the result was 383 for, 327 against (with 22 abstentions and one void vote).

Nigel Farage wasn’t happy with von der Leyen’s narrow margin of victory. Shortly after the vote he tweeted: “Ursula von der Leyen has scraped in by 9 votes. Power but no legitimacy.”

Once you take away the MEPs who abstained, the votes came out as 54% to 46%. Close, but not as close as the 2016 EU referendum result which Farage has repeatedly insisted “must be respected”. If you added abstentions in the “against von der Leyen” column, then the result becomes 52% to 48% – the same as the Brexit referendum.

Let’s not forget, Farage has voiced his concerns about close vote results before. In May 2016, he claimed that a close vote on the Brexit referendum would be enough to possibly trigger another referendum, telling the Mirror that a “52-48 referendum … would be unfinished business by a long way”.

Farage also called the vote on von der Leyen a “one horse race”. Misleading again, as she was actually selected by the elected leaders of all 28 EU members after weeks of discussions over multiple candidates, in which MEPs had several opportunities to get behind a candidate of their own. 

Farage seemed uncomfortable when the tables were turned on his LBC show and he was asked about the processes and voting system by which he became leader of the Brexit party, to which he responded that he “founded the thing” before hanging up on the caller. It is worth noting that Farage did not found the Brexit party, it was Catherine Blaiklock, who had to resign over anti-Islam messages.

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Other Brexiters have sarcastically called for a “confirmatory vote” on von der Leyen, given the closeness of the vote and the argument that people may not know who or what they were voting for – mimicking the arguments used by anti-Brexit campaigners. 

They will be happy to know that once the entire Commission has been appointed, MEPs will indeed get a vote again to decide on the whole package in October, to see whether – now they can fully see what they’re getting – it is actually what they wanted. The European Parliament, ultimately, retains the power to approve and dismiss the Commission and in the past the Commission has stood down ahead of Parliament exercising these powers.

Perhaps Farage and his fellow Brexit party followers could learn something from their time in Strasbourg. Just as MEPs get multiple chances to approve the new European Commission as it evolves, so the British public should get the chance to reject a chaotic no-deal Brexit foisted upon them by Boris Johnson. If you agree, join us this Saturday in central London to say “No to Boris, yes to Europe”.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

9 Responses to “Farage: close EU vote has ‘no legitimacy’. How about Brexit?”

  • As per usual Farage manipulating principles as he goes along. The Brexit Party has no members, only subscribers. So nobody has any power to dismiss Farage as its leader. And this is the party which refused to publish a manifesto before the EU elections. I wonder why that might be? Also, Farage wants to politicise parts of the Civil Service and armed forces. Where have we seen that before in European history??

  • As usual it is very hard to take any noise from the Brexit camp seriously, even if I have no problem myself under their banner of ditching political correctness. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the grassroots of the Brexit movement take no notice of what people with a modicum of active grey matter point out so yes, the country appears to be on its way to the cliff edge. It will be interesting to find out which bit hits rock bottom first.

  • And, just for the record, I am happy with von der Leyen. She has an impeccable track record and comes from good political background. More than can be said of Farage.

  • At least Farage is elected by an electorate. Who the hell is Von Der Leyen and what electorate voted for her???? If that’s democracy then no thanks!

  • We are indeed in a ‘post-truth’ era. Farage, Rees-Mogg, Duncan-Smith, etc., are not a jot about the comment they make today which contradicts the one they made yesterday and the fact the statement they make tomorrow will contradict the one they make today.

    This is even worse than ”do as I say, but not as I do” as Farage and the equally lamentable Brexit Party simply do not care about the rest of us pointing out these blatant contradictions and outright lies. They shrug their shoulders and say ”so wot”.

    Sadly, his followers will blindly follow him and parrot words no matter how stupid and ill-informed it makes them look.

  • Peter:
    I think you need to do your homework. Von der Leyen was an elected member of the German Parliament until becoming President-elect of the European Commission. She was proposed for President by the 28 (elected) Heads of Government of the member states of the EU, and then voted for by the members of the European Parliament (also elected). Quite a lot of democracy there.

  • Peter;
    Let’s ask you question again.
    Please would you tell us what sort of a country Britain will be after a no deal Brexit? Why will it be better than now? Please provide supporting evidence in your answer and avoid rhetoric and sweeping assertions. Citations also required. I have asked you twice before and you failed to answer.

  • Anyone who “looks outward” and has an ounce of brain power to spare to look at foreign affairs would have known who von der Leyen is and what job in the European Union she’s taking up. Her election was transparent and totally democratic, as even this article points out. Please don’t flog your inimitable Brexiteer ignorance as if it is something new and interesting.

  • Brexiters, tell me, when did you last get to vote for the Secretary-General of the UN? When did you last get to vote for the Secretary-General of NATO? Or the Secretary-General of the OAS? Or the managing director of the IMF? Or any other international or regional IO?