UKIP in U-turn embarrassment as party votes for more EU law and then changes its mind

Conservative MEP says booze duties are for Britain alone, while socialists and UKIP vote for EU power

Strasbourg, 24 May 2007 — UKIP MEPs, whose core message is to say no to the European Union, voted to keep EU rules in yesterday’s vote on minimum rates of excise duty on booze at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and then changed their mind.

Scotch whisky and beer drinkers lose out to wine buffs because of the so-called ‘minimum excise duties on alcoholic beverages’ (approx 4p a pint and £1 per bottle of whisky). The law attempts to force countries with low rates of excise duty to increase them closer to rates in high tax countries such as the UK so as to reduce incentives to bring booze home under single market rules. Conservatives, who want less European regulation, voted to abolish the rules but were defeated by socialists and UKIP.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Deputy Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, said: “UKIP do not know whether they are coming or going. Although they claim to fight for British sovereignty, their dozy MEP’s decided to vote in favour of keeping useless red tape which sets minimum duty rates for whisky and beer.”

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