The main eurosceptic group in the European Parliament has been wound-up after a Latvian member pulled out.
The Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) bloc – which includes the UK Independence Party and Italy’s Five Star Movement – no longer meets the criteria of representing at least seven countries.
Iveta Grigule’s departure is a major blow for other group members. They will not only lose funding and access to committee seats, but may also see their influence weakened.
The EFDD was set up earlier this year, after May’s parliament elections.
Half of its 48 members were from UKIP – which wants Britain out of the European Union. Seventeen represented the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
Grigule was the sole MEP from Latvia’s Union of Greens and Farmers.
Far-right parties from the Netherlands and France – led by Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen – could profit from the group’s collapse.
They have so far failed to form a parliamentary bloc and some of the former EFDD members may now be persuaded to join them.