Heard in Europe

The postponement of a European Parliament vote on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) raised a few interesting questions – not least the possibility of a split between the ruling “grand coalition”.

But what has become very clear is that the UK Independence Party is firmly against the EU-US trade deal.

They, with the Five Star Movement, their Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy stablemates, voted for the planned debate to take place yesterday. The postponers narrowly won by 183 votes to just 181.

Nigel Farage marched to the front of the room after MEPs narrowly voted in favour of the last-minute delay, which he said was proof the EU was “running scared” of the strength of opposition to TTIP.

Heard in Europe was later told that the entire EFDD was firmly resolved to oppose TTIP.

According to our Eurosceptic mole, other MEPs had assumed that UKIP would automatically be in favour of the free trade agreement.

UKIP are in favour of free trade, the source whispered, but not when negotiations are handled by an unelected European Commission.

Nigel Farage’s party are also concerned it hands too much power to multinationals and threatened the British National Health Service. Both charges are hotly denied by the Commission, of course.

Our source went so far as to suggest that pro-TTIP MEPs were terrified that the EFDD’s 47 politicians would vote against the whole deal.

“They didn’t realise we would vote against, but they are starting to now,” Heard in Europe was told in conspiratorial tones.

The European Parliament must ratify the finalised agreement in plenary by majority.

It’s hard to say if UKIP and Five Star could tip the balance against TTIP.

But it certainly muddies the waters at a time when division over the trade deal in the Parliament have never been so public.

Photo courtesy of YouTube and Raheem Kassam.

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