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Despite our legislative system's flaws, the UK is more democratic than the European Union

Published 09/06/2016

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor
Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

While I agree with Henry Page (Write Back, June 2) that the UK legislative system is undemocratic, his suggestion that we should therefore remain in the EU is fundamentally flawed. If we compare the respective institutions we can plainly see that the EU is even more undemocratic.

Mr Page asserts that the House of Commons is undemocratic as some governments "were voted in by less than 25% of those eligible to vote". In the 2014 European Parliament elections, the UK had a marginally better turnout of 34%. The significant difference is that all the MPs were voted for by the British electorate, whereas less than 10% of MEPs were.

Is it more democratic to be governed by 90% of MEPs for whom you could not even vote, even if you desired to? I think not.

In the UK legislation is scrutinised by the House of Lords. While Mr Page is correct that they are unelected, the 800-plus Lords reflect a cross-section of the UK's political demography and, on many occasions, have the British people's interests to the fore, as witnessed by some "bloody noses" given to sitting governments. The EU equivalent, the European Council, has one national minister for each State.

Is it more democratic to have legislation scrutinised by a group, 96%-plus of whom do not necessarily care for the British people's interests? I think not.

Our "unelected Queen as Head of State" is raised as a red herring by Mr Page. The European "head of state" is Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. Mr Juncker was elected, but by MEPs (of which less than 10% are UK MEPs), rather than the European electorate, and was an appointment opposed by David Cameron.

Is this more democratic than a constitutional monarch, who does not set public policy, or choose political leaders, but acts as a non-political figurehead for all British people? I think not.

FACTS NOT FICTION

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