Fond memories and respect for the EU: MEP Ellie reflects on her time in Brussels

"It's been an honour and a privilege to serve as an MEP. I'm leaving with fond memories and lots of respect for the colleagues that I leave behind here."

Green Party MEP Ellie Chowns is preparing to leave the European Parliament when the UK departs the EU on January 31, 2020.
Green Party MEP Ellie Chowns is preparing to leave the European Parliament when the UK departs the EU on January 31, 2020.

Ellie Chowns is one of 73 British MEP who this week cleaned out their offices and bode staff farewell having attended the European parliament for the final time.

With the Brexit deal approved in a historic vote on Wednesday, the UK's presence in Brussels was brought to an end, curtailing the terms of office for British MEPs who were elected just eight months ago.

It marked a sombre moment for Mrs Chowns, the Green Party's first – and last – West Midlands MEP, who despises Brexit with a passion and says she is proud to have battled hard on a local level to extol the benefits of the EU.

"Obviously I accept that we lost that argument, but I have done everything I can to connect with people and push forward the case for Europe," she said.

"The European parliament will continue to exist and the UK will need to continue to cooperate with the EU, which will be harder after Brexit.

Green Party MEP Ellie Chowns is preparing to leave the European Parliament when the UK departs the EU on January 31, 2020.

"I suppose I feel that I have been a credit to my country, that's what my European colleagues have told me, that they really appreciate how hard I have worked."

Mrs Chowns will now return to her job as a lecturer at the University of Birmingham on a part-time basis, and will also devote more time to her role as a councillor in Herefordshire.

She is determined to stay involved in Green politics on a local level, as well as pushing for reform of the voting system, which she believes was at the root of "this Brexit mess" in the first place.

Looking back on her time in Brussels, she says she is proud of to have worked with her fellow Green MEPs to have successfully pushed forward the case for climate action.

In a whirlwind eight months, she also stood as the Green Party candidate in North Herefordshire in the general election, receiving 9.3 per cent of the vote, while her passion for climate issue saw her arrested at an Extinction Rebellion protest in London in October.

She was released without charge and the Royal Courts of Justice later found the Met Police had acted unlawfully in banning the protest.

"It was an important victory in the rights of free speech and the rights of assembly," she said.

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