In her final speech at the European Parliament in Brussels, 30th January, Claire explained her decision to abstain on the motion relating to the gender pay gap. She said that it was in protest of the pay gaps that are rarely discussed such as the pay gap between the wealthy eurocrats and the underpaid and unrecognised heroes in the staff that run the daily functioning of the European Parliament, who she thanks for their work during her brief period as an MEP.
In her penultimate speech at the European Parliament in Brussels, 30th January, Claire expressed warm sentiments to her fellow European colleagues light-heartedly saying that this was not goodbye not in fact ‘au revoir’. She said that this was not because we would be re-joining but actually because we would continue to remain friends and enjoy bilateral relations as equals with the member states that make up the European Union.
At the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 15 January, Claire spoke on the parliament’s debate on whether to penalise Hungary under the rules of Article 7. She began by paying tribute to Roger Scruton, who recently passed, praising his courage in assisting Eastern Europe in their struggle against authoritarian communism. Claire said that these nations having only recently fought for their sovereignty were once again under threat by the EU, whose actions were beginning to mirror those of USSR.
At the Strasbourg parliament, 16th January, Claire explained her decision to abstain on the motion on the Conference on the Future of Europe. She explained that as the director of the Academy of Ideas, she has always sought to champion public debate and civil engagement in politics. However, the motion sought to use citizen participation as a superficial mechanism that would lend the appearance of greater engagement whilst retaining the same top down bureaucratic system.
During the explanation of her vote at Strasbourg, 16th January, Claire explained her decision to vote against the Parliament’s Article 7 proceedings against Hungary and Poland. She rejected the motion as a bullying weapon in defiance of the Polish and Hungarian voters, condemning the parliament for themselves failing to live up to European values, particularly respect for democracy, whilst having the hypocrisy to accuse those upholding democracy as betraying European values.
At the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 15 January, Claire spoke about the EU-UK arrangements on citizens’ rights. Although she welcomed the fact that both sides had reached am amicable arrangement that protects all citizens, she opted to vote against it. Claire explained that the decision to include an article on EU citizens self-declaring their status in the UK would unfairly put the burden of proof on the UK government.
At the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 15 January, Claire commented on the EU Future of Europe initiative to develop the policy goals of the next legislature. She criticised the use of faux-democratic citizen assemblies, arguing that these were self-serving gimmicks and that if the EU was truly interested in the opinions of its citizens it should actually listen to them rather than orchestrating clever ways to hear what they want.
At the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 14 January, Claire reflects on her final Strasbourg session and the fact that there is now acceptance among European MEPs that we will indeed be leaving. She spoke about the end of mandate meeting and the hostile atmosphere between UK MEPs at the meeting, as well as the parliament’s bizarre but clearly hostile decision to ban national flags inside the plenary chamber.
At the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13 January, Claire expressed her concerns at the parliament’s approach to homelessness, despite seeing merit to the ‘housing first’ approach. She argued that this ‘one size fits all’ approach neglected many of the root causes of sleeping rough. Claire mentioned Eurozone austerity as a factor that has exacerbated the problem along with freedom of movement, noting that continental Europeans account for one third of London’s homeless.
Claire spoke to the IIEA in Dublin on 9 January, on the topic ‘Identifying the Sovereign Origins of Britain’s Withdrawal’. Claire argues that both inside and outside the UK, Brexit has been predominantly framed as a reactionary backlash, a rejection of the progressive values that many associate with the EU. In her address, she states that, despite immigration being an influential factor, the decision to leave the European Union was deeply rooted in a historical commitment to the sovereignty of the people, and a firm belief that politicians should not be able to ‘outsource accountability’.