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William B. Messmer, "Taming Labour's MEPs," Party Politics, 9 (March 2003), 201-218.

First Paragraph:
In most of Europe's national parliaments, political party leaders maintain systematic, disciplined control over their party's parliamentary voting blocs. In contrast to this, the relationship between national party leaders and their party's Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is considered to be weaker (Bardi, 1996: 102-5; Corbett et al., 1995: 90-2; Nugent, 1993: 59; Westlake, 1994: 132-45 and 237-44). Corbett (1998: 69) argues that MEPs vote in ways'. . . that demonstrate considerable independence from their national party line'. Raunio (2000: 221) similarly concludes, after a 1998 survey of national parties with MEP delegations, that 'Regarding legislative work, MEPs remain relatively independent of their national parties'. Further reflecting this view, Hix et al. (1999: 7-13) have created a theoretical model of forces influencing the legislative behavior of MEPs in which the party, far from being most important, is seen as only one of several possible influential factors.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: The link system and EPLP relations with the govenrment
Table 2: The link system and government influence with the EPLP
Table 3: Link-MEP attitudes about the link system
Table 4: Individual link-MEP comments about their link role
Table 5: MEP comments about the CLPR electoral system

Last Paragraph:
In conclusion, the Labour Party is a pro-European party, and the MEPs have contributed to this stance by further helping to ensure that Labour remains open to the possibilities in Europe. Additionally, in the setting of the EP, the link system may also be intensifying the sense of the 'national', at the expense of the 'European'. For those who fear this latter result, it might be seen as a reasonable price to pay if it helps to overcome the EU's remoteness in the perceptions of citizens.