As our MEP’s turned up in Strasbourg for their last plenary session in the official seat of the European Parliament Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice hailed the day as a “historic moment” and colleague Rupert Lowe claimed it was “the start of an exciting new chapter in our nation’s history”. Britain is set to officially leave the European Union on January 31. Mr Tice wrote on Twitter: “Historic moment: arriving at Strasbourg European Parliament for the last day ever for British MEPs. Job almost done…”
Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe made similar comments to mark the occasion as he looked forward to an “exciting new chapter”.
He said: “Historic day. The last ever for British MEPs in Strasbourg. Ignore the Remainer doom-mongers.
“We’re at the start of an exciting new chapter in our nation’s history. Let’s embrace it and make it a roaring success!”
The European Parliament is split between two locations, Strasbourg and Brussels, with MEPs and their staff having to move between the two locations throughout the year.
Moving between the two centres costs taxpayers at least €114million (£97million) each year, not including the €5million (£4.2million) in travel expenses.
The twin location set-up has been heavily criticised, as it involves transporting some 2,500 plastic boxes full of paperwork on a 600 mile round trip.
But a change in the current system is unlikely, as it would require unanimity among all member states governments and ratification by each of their national parliaments.
In 1992 EU chiefs decided the locations of the EU institutions, opting to have three key locations.
It was decided the European Parliament should be based in both Strasbourg and Brussels, while its staff, known as the Parliament Secretariat, are formally based in Luxembourg.
The arrangements were officially incorporated into the EU treaty in 1997.
The European Parliament is one of two assemblies in the world with more than one meeting place and one of the few that does not have the power to decide its own location.
Brussels is the home to nearly all other major EU institutions and many favour having the city as the European Parliament’s only base.
But many France objects to this, as they are reluctant to surrender the only EU institution on French soil.
Last week British MEPs were asked to vacate their offices in Strasbourg and have been given until February 7 to clear their desks in Brussels.
Their contracts are due to expire on January 31 – Britain’s official departure date from the European Union.
But their salary will not end on this date, as MEPs are entitled to claim a two year “transitional allowance” of €8,611.31 (£7,357.62) per month for every year they were in office.
The fee comes before tax and will see veteran MEPs earn more than £176,000.
But those elected in last May’s European elections, including Mr Tice, will not eligible for the severance pay as the EU stipulates that politicians have to serve a minimum of one year.
The British MEPs will also be able to receive half of the General Expenditure Allowance for three months after Brexit day.
The allowance is a controversial €4,416 (£3,773) monthly payment that MEPs are given to cover office and other expenses, without having to provide any evidence of how the money is spent.
Nigel Farage has said he will refuse to take the severance pay.
As our MEP's turned up in Strasbourg for their last plenary session in the official seat of the European Parliament Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice hailed the day as a "historic moment" and colleague Rupert Lowe claimed it was "the start of an exciting new chapter in our nation's history".