EAST Midlands UKIP MEP Roger Helmer has announced his retirement from the European Parliament, effective as of July 31, 2017.
Mr Helmer was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, as a Conservative. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2009. In 2012, unhappy with the Conservative position on the EU issue, he crossed the floor to join UKIP, and was elected again as a UKIP MEP in 2014. He retires at the age of 73, after serving 18 years in the parliament.
Mr Helmer expects to be replaced by the next candidate on UKIP’s 2014 East Midlands candidate list, Jonathan Bullock.
Commenting on his retirement decision, he said: “It has been a great privilege to serve the voters of the East Midlands as their MEP for nearly two decades, spanning not just two centuries but two millennia.
“The main objective of my political career has been to free our country from the morass of the European Union, and to re-establish our proper status as a great global trading nation, and as a an independent, self-governing country.
“Despite the current turmoil around the Government’s position and the Brexit negotiations, I see last year’s Brexit vote as the vindication of a long campaign and a long career.
“As UKIP’s energy spokesman, my second major focus has been climate and energy, and I am encouraged to see the first tentative steps away from climate hysteria, with the current US administration withdrawing from the hugely damaging Paris Climate Treaty, and the UK government cutting back on renewables subsidies”.
He added: “There will inevitably be speculation that my retirement decision was influenced by the outcome of the June election. But this is not the case. I had reached a decision soon after the Brexit referendum to retire in 2017, and I signed the formal resignation papers in the parliament a couple of weeks before the General Election.”
On the subject of his successor Jonathan Bullock, he said: “I have known Jonathan for many years, and we have campaigned together as euro-candidates more than once.
“He is an extremely sound man, especially on the Brexit issue, and has extensive commercial experience. I am convinced that he will do a fine job riding shotgun on the Brexit negotiations and representing the voters of the East Midlands in Brussels during the remaining pre-Brexit years.”