Using complex population calculations, the Treaty has allocated new seats to Spain (4), Austria (2), France (2), Sweden (2), Bulgaria (1), Italy (1), Latvia (1), Malta (1), the Netherlands (1), Poland (1), Slovenia (1) and the United Kingdom (1).
The new MEPs will be “elected” on the basis of the first-placed unsuccessful candidate at the 2009 European elections and will officially sit as "observers" in the Parliament without the right to vote (but with the ability to speak and attend committee meetings) until a complex legal protocol is ratified by national governments - expected to coincide with Croatia’s accession to the European Union in 2011.
The majority of countries have already confirmed the names of their new MEPs or released the timetable for their appointment. The Government of the United Kingdom is not amongst them.
A press spokesman for the Electoral Commission confirmed to me a few minutes ago that the Ministry of Justice has not yet, as legislation demands, directed the body to calculate a new seat allocation for United Kingdom European Parliament constituencies so as to determine which region will receive the new seat.
According to calculations made in June, the United Kingdom's 73rd seat would be allocated to the West Midlands region, a move which would see the “election” of Conservative Anthea McIntyre. The London and Scotland areas are also rumoured to be pushing hard to have the extra seat allocated to their regions. An extra MEP in the capital city would see Labour's Anne Fairweather “elected” while a seventh seat in Scotland would go to Conservative Belinda Don.
Whatever any of us might think about the European Parliament and its endless tide of damaging legislation, only a fool would deny the importance of ensuring the United Kingdom’s interests are defended vigorously in Brussels.
It's time for Labour to stop dragging its feet and send our new Member of European Parliament to Brussels.