Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: PaulBrannen

NEEDLESS to say I am being asked a lot about what happens to my job as a Member of the European Parliament now that the UK has voted to leave the EU.

As I've only been an MEP for two years I have to admit to it all being most frustrating. Just as I've reached the point of being conversant with the workings of the Parliament, the Commission and the Council, at the point at which I've developed good working relations with fellow MEPs from across the EU and across the political divides and, most importantly, when I've finally reached the point at which I feel I am able to start delivering for the North East the rug has been pulled from under my feet.

It is still not entirely clear but it looks as if we will remain MEPs until the point at which the UK formally leaves the EU, which most people seem to think will be in around two years time.

At a practical level, continuing to paying the mortgage and looking for a new job, this is a reasonable length of time but politically it has the potential to be the 'kiss of death' to the UK's 71 MEPs.

Already there are indications that we are less likely to get major pieces of work to do in the parliament, a blow to our democratic mandate.

Will our colleagues from across the EU, both politicians and officials, consider it worth their time investing in relations with UK MEPs who will soon be gone? To me the UK's decision to leave has made us overnight lesser beings, diminished, 'dead men walking'.

Hopefully you will be pleased to hear that Jude Kirton-Darling, my fellow North East Labour MEP, and I have decided not to go 'gentle into that good night', but rather we are going to engage in a bit of 'rage against the dying of the light'. We both believe the best thing we can now do for the North East is to ensure the region is not forgotten about, either by central government or the EU, as the UK negotiates its exit deal.

We have already seen Scotland, Wales and Cornwall move quickly to demand assurances and support as the UK begins the tortuous process of extracting itself from over 40 years of joint EU working. …

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