Standing ovation from European Parliament on his final day for long serving East of England MEP Richard Howitt
The East of England's Euro MP Richard Howitt received a standing ovation from all sides of the European Parliament chamber on his last day in the European Parliament, where he has served for 22 years.
Richard Howitt MEP described himself as a working class boy who could never have expected to represent his country, but who had and would always argue for European cooperation.
In his leaving speech, the Labour MEP said: “Today is my last day in the European Parliament - one minute after 22 years.
“Thank-you to everyone in all Groups in the European Parliament, members and staff, for all your friendship and your cooperation.
“Thank-you to the British Labour Party and to the Socialist and Democrat Group in particular - to whom I will remain forever loyal.
“To my family too, who are in the public gallery.
“I am proud to have represented my East of England constituency. It really is “bootiful”
“Proud as a working class boy who could never have expected to do so, to represent my country and our continent.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve.
“I will always remember being here on the historic days of EU enlargement and conflict-resolution in our world.
“Of championing business responsibility on behalf of this parliament.
“And I now go on to a new career which is true to these values and principles.
“I, my party and many in my country argued for Europe and will continue to do so.
“We must take our responsibility for the referendum defeat and I’m sorry.
“Today when I leave this building, I expect that I will never come back as an MEP.
“But if my country makes the historic mistake of leaving the European Union, I look forward to the day that lit will return.”