At the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, one of the most important issues on the agenda was a resolution to reject a Commission proposal for an implementing regulation on air operations.
This proposal has attracted great hostility from the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) and from individual pilots who have lobbied strongly to reject the proposal.
Among their many concerns are that under this proposal:
• Pilots will be legally allowed to land an aircraft having been awake for 22 hours.
• Pilots will be operating longer haul flights (such as to west coast USA) with only 2 crew rather than the current 3
• Pilots could be forced to work up to 7 early starts in a row. Something that is proven to cause dangerous cumulative fatigue.
Air safety is something that concerns every one of us, whether we travel regularly on business, or occasionally when going on holiday.
British carriers have a first class record in this area, and our pilots are deeply concerned about the implications of this EU 'one-size fits all' proposal.
I voted to reject the Commission proposal.
I have to report that UKIP did not, they voted in favour of this EU initiative. The Earl of Dartmouth, Stuart Agnew, Gerard Batten, John Bufton, Roger Helmer, and Paul Nuttall all voted against the resolution to reject the European Commission proposal. Three UKIP MEPs, Nigel Farage, Derek Clark, and Godfrey Bloom simply failed to turn up for work that day.
We are told that UKIP's raison d'être in the European Parliament is to oppose the tidal wave of EU legislation that emanates from Brussels. It would appear that, like the Conservatives, they say one thing at home when they are fundraising, but do something else when they are in Brussels and Strasbourg drawing down their substantial salaries and inflated daily expenses.
Is it incompetence, or is it the greatest con-trick in British politics?