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Although they are an endangered species nowadays, numbering only 13 out of Britain's 72 elected euro-representatives, UK Labour Party MEPs will play an important role in the Labour leadership election, writes Stephen Gardner.

Their votes count equally with those of members of the Westminster parliament. Thus it has been that in the last few weeks, four leadership hopefuls – Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and both Milibands – have pitched up in Brussels to state their cases.

But what of the fifth candidate, Diane Abbott? Well, she was invited. But MEPs were somewhat surprised to receive the emailed reply that Diane would be unable to attend a meeting due to being "very busy with the leadership campaign". Has anyone told her that she ignores Brussels at her peril!

A version of this article appeared in Private Eye.

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