Some people seem to think that non-Labour MEPs shouldn’t criticise Gordon Brown in the European Parliament.
For instance The Economist’s Bagehot states this:
But on the other hand—and while I hate to be or seem a killjoy—I wonder whether Mr Hannan was really right to behave as he did. Whether he and we like it or not, Mr Brown is Britain’s prime minister. He was in Strasbourg to rally support for his plan to combat the downturn (and for baser personal motives, of course). Is it proper for an elected representative to ambush his national leader, on diplomatic duty as Mr Brown was, in the virulent way that Mr Hannan did? Does such a bilious public attack improve Britain’s image or its chances of achieving worthwhile international agreements? I doubt it. Wouldn’t it perhaps be better to keep this sort of thing in the family?
And Labour’s Tom Harris says this:
What was truly repugnant about his speech was the total absence of any sense of patriotism. Some Tories on the extreme right of the party share the problem of some Republicans in the States: they don’t regard the head of government to be the nation’s leader unless he or she is also a member of their little party.
Gordon Brown isn’t just Labour’s prime minister; he’s Britain’s prime minister, and for any UK politician to launch such a disgraceful, personal attack on his country’s leader — in a foreign country — is nothing short of disgraceful.
I really don’t get this. If this had happened in a truly foreign parliament, such as the US Congress, I could understand what they were getting at.
But the European Parliament is elected by all of the EU, including the UK, so it’s not a foreign parliament any more than Westminster is a foreign parliament for Scots.
As far as I can see, Daniel Hannan’s attack on Brown is no more out of order than it would be for Tom Harris, as a Scottish Labour MP, to say something similar to First Minister Alex Salmond in Westminster.
Is he suggesting Scottish politicians of all colours (including Gordon Brown) should refrain from criticising Alex Salmond when in England (including Westminster) out of a sense of patriotism?!? This simply would not make any sense.
The European Parliament is not foreign soil to Gordon Brown and Daniel Hannan, so obviously there’s no reason why the latter should keep shtum.