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Straight Talking Roger Helmer

MEP Roger Helmer covers a range of subjects in his free-wheeling March Newsletter, which ranges from the Lisbon Treaty to global cooling to the Airbus/Boeing battle to the BBC's defence of freedom of the press in Strasbourg. We applaud the BBC, though feeling this might qualify as a man bites dog story - in other words, rare.

Free speech does not extend to MEPs, apparently. In December Helmer demonstrated with other MEPs in the European Parliament for national referendums on the EU constitution. For these democratic expressions the EU fined him over £600.

Extraordinary. Freedom of speech in the British Parliament was protected as long ago as the Bill of Rights, 1689, but the European Union, moving back into the future, tries to smother the free speech rights of its MEPs.