Britain’s 73 MEPs and their staff will be handed over £6 million in order to extend their European Parliament mandate to at least May 22. The eye-watering figures, paid out of the taxpayers’ pocket, includes over £700,000 in scandalous General Expense Allowance handouts, which are paid into MEPs private bank accounts and isn’t monitored any further. Visitor groups from Britain, to either Brussels or Strasbourg, will also still be able to claim back expenses for their trips to the Parliament’s two seats.
The Parliament’s Budget committee signed off on the plans “to provide the means for salaries and allowances of Members elected in the United Kingdom and their assistants, as well as costs related to group visits from the UK for the period from the end of March to the end of May”, according to documents obtained by Express.co.uk.
The £6.5 million pot for British MEPs is due to come from the Parliament’s “savings on transitional allowances and the contingency reserve”.
“Parliament’s 2019 budget has been calculated on the assumption that the United Kingdom would leave the Union on March 29, 2019,” the memo circulated to MEPs reads. “ As a measure of prudence, appropriations on the contingency reserve has been increased to €10.5 million, higher than he usual level.
“The reserve should now be used to cover the salaries and allowances of of members elected in the UK and of their assistants for the period end of March to end of May 2019, for which these expenses have not been budgeted.”
The Parliament’s budget bosses set aside £77,210 for British MEPs to invite constituents to visit them in either Brussels or Strasbourg.
MEPs are paid £7,705 a month and on leaving Parliament receive a golden handshake payment, which can be worth up to £180,000, depending on their length of service.
Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said the extra money assigned for British MEPs is merely a “precautionary measure”.
She said: “This is just a precautionary measure to ensure that staff can continue to be paid until the end of May.
“There is still Parliamentary work to be done and if the UK is still In the EU after April 12, UK MEPs will continue working until the end of the legislature.”
Former Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott said: “We’ve been waiting almost three years for our politicians to finally get on with Brexit and delivering the will of the people.
“Now the Budget committee has voted to authorise paying MEPs’ salaries till May 22nd, even though we’re due to leave in 10 days’ time. It’s breathtaking arrogance to assume that the UK will still be in the EU; Parliament has voted down May’s appalling deal three times already.
“I’m asking Britain and Brussels to just get on with Brexit – so you can stop paying my salary and the salaries of all the other British MEPs.”
EU Parliament bosses may once again decide to bulk its coffers for paying British MEPs if Theresa May agrees a lengthy delay to Brexit.
If Britain is still in the bloc beyond June, MEPs and their staff will secure another extra month’s pay.