One of the best arguments against European political integration is the people with whom British political parties end up allied in the European Parliament. For reasons of parliamentary influence and, let’s be frank, money, British parties don’t want to sit on their own, so instead sit as part of broader European groups.
Now, all of these groups contain MEPs whose views would be considered distasteful in Britain. But even by this standard, Ukip’s latest recruit to its group seems pretty extreme — Robert Iwaszkiewicz comes from a party that even Marine Le Pen refused to do business with. The leader of his party, the Polish Congress of the New Right, has spoken of a ‘Holocaust industry’, and the MEP himself has talked about when hitting women might ‘help them come back down to earth’, though he claims that this was a joke.
Ukip will be hoping this story doesn’t gain much traction — they’ve not signed this MEP up to their group because they agree with him, but to get access to EU money and power in the parliament. But if it does, it will be very hard for Ukip to defend this alliance; saying they’ve just done it for the money is a pretty poor excuse.