Brexit Party MEPs made themselves known at the opening session of European Parliament today, turning their backs as the European Union’s anthem was performed. The 29 Brexiteer MEPs carried out the orchestrated move as soon as the Ode to Joy began to play. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat MEPs arrived at the first sitting wearing matching yellow t-shirt emblazoned with “B******* to Brexit”.
The eventful first session has drawn criticism from both sides, but how much are MEPs paid?
Given Brexit had not taken place before the deadline for the EU elections, the UK was obliged to take part and elect Members of European Parliament (MEPs).
Today those elected took their seats for the first time, and from today will begin to receive their salaries and various benefits.
Those who were elected may have needed to have given up their previous jobs and will receive a salary for their role.
Since 2009, all MEPs have received the same salary, regardless of the country they represent.
The amount is set at 38.5 percent of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice.
MEPs do not receive extra income for chairing committees or holding special roles the way UK MPs do.
Currently, MEPs earn €8,757.70 (£7,599.14) a month, however after EU tax and insurance contributions this figure is reduced to €6,824.85 (£5,919.37) a month.
The cost is taken from the European Parliament’s budget, and UK MEPs are required to pay national insurance contributions, and the difference between EU and national tax, to HMRC.
This makes sure MEPs pay the same level of income tax and national insurance as people employed in the UK.
All MEPs final take-home pay is determined by exchange rates, so the strength of the pound can see the final total vary month to month.
Salaries are paid to MEPs monthly, so should the UK exit the EU on the scheduled date of October 31, they will not receive any pay in November.
All MEPs are also entitled to a pension when they turn 63, however, The European Parliament told BBC News that should the UK exit the EU on October 31 – those currently serving as MEPs would be entitled to any pension as they would not have held the role for a full year.
To add to their pension from this role, UK MEPs would have to hold their role until at least June 2020.
However, Nigel Farage – who has been an MEP since 1999 – would be eligible for a pension worth 70 percent of his MEP salary – the maximum amount under current guidelines.
MEPs also receive a flat rate of €320 (£286.16) a day from the European Parliament each day they are in either Brussels or Strasbourg on official business.
This money is meant for accommodation, meals and any other costs related to their stay, and is paid only if MEPs sign an official register.
MEPS also receive a transition allowance once their term ends, and this is based on how long they have served in European Parliament.
The payment is equivalent to one month’s salary for every year they were in office – however, the maximum sum is capped at two years.
For MEPs to qualify for this stipend, they must have been in office for at least one year – meaning again if the UK leaves the EU on October 31, new MEPs will not get this payment.