Saturday 20 January 2018

MEP baffles colleagues as she abandons Labour group

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

AN MEP has abandoned the Labour grouping in the European Parliament just four years after she left the Greens to join the party, the Irish Independent has learned.

Nessa Childers said she left the group in case she was asked to lead it following the retirement of Proinsias de Rossa, and she now describes herself as an "Independent Labour MEP".

The Ireland East MEP said she was afraid she would come under pressure to follow policies and orders from Dublin and claimed the pressure she was put under over the appointment of former Department of Finance chief Kevin Cardiff to a top EU job played a major part in her decision.

Ms Childers opposed Mr Cardiff's nomination to the European Court of Auditors, against the wishes of the Labour leadership, and also opposes the new fiscal treaty.

"I'm not putting myself in that position anymore, where someone puts me under pressure to do something I don't want to do," Ms Childers said, and repeated her claim that Mr de Rossa pressured her into supporting the Government's nomination.

She wrote to party colleagues yesterday informing them of her decision, but it caused bafflement within Labour, with one source saying: "We haven't a clue what she's playing at."

Some in the party also speculated Ms Childers could be shaping up to run as an Independent in the next European elections in 2014, but she said she would run as a party candidate.

She also insisted she was still a member of the wider Parliamentary Labour Party. Ms Childers was originally a Labour member but left in 2004 when she failed to get a nomination to run for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. She then switched to the Greens and was elected a councillor.

Irish Independent

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