Chris Heaton-Harris and Roger Helmer are both MEPs for the East Midlands. Together they have put out a press release urging the scrapping of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This would have to be done by national governments, and last week Timothy Kirkhope wrote to Gordon Brown (who was in Strasbourg this week) on the matter.
Twelve times a year MEPs travel 250 miles from Brussels to Strasbourg (on the Franco-German border). Mr Helmer and Mr Heaton-Harris estimate the cost at £180 million annually, and say it causes tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 to be emitted.
Mr Helmer said:
"Moving the European Parliament from one country to another is completely pointless and a huge waste of taxpayers' money. There is no practical reason why we should go to Strasbourg as we have all the facilities we need in Brussels.
The two-seat operation of the European Parliament is a small amount of money compared to the vast debts being run up by our government this year, which are now larger than the entire EU budget; but scrapping it would send an important message that the EU is serious about cutting waste."
Mr Heaton-Harris added:
"Conservative MEPs have led the campaign against the Strasbourg parliament. It is time for Gordon Brown to finally raise the issue with his European counterparts and demand they end this profligacy.
We need strong leadership from our Prime Minister if we are to end this unacceptable situation. For all his bluster and lecturing on the economy, he has failed to seize on one important piece of waste in the EU budget that could be slashed tomorrow."
This is a worthy cause, but I doubt it'll be successful any time soon … not when Franco-German pride is at stake!