Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban looks up during a plenary session at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, Belgium April 26, 2017. 

© 2017 Reuters

It can’t be easy being a British Conservative member of the European Parliament. Their party called the referendum that led to the Brexit vote, and is now in charge of negotiating an agreement that will inevitably mean the end of British members (MEPs) in the European Parliament. 

But for as long as they sit in Europe, British MEPs have a responsibility to uphold the democratic values of respect for human rights and rule of law that the European Union and United Kingdom share.

Next week, British Conservatives and other elected representatives in the European Parliament face a test of their commitment to those values, and a chance to be on the right side of history.

The European Parliament will vote to decide whether Hungary’s government should be held to account for its persistent efforts to undermine democratic institutions, civil society, and the rule of law.

Specifically, they will decide whether or not to endorse a recommendation that Hungary should be politically sanctioned under the EU treaty because its actions pose a real risk to the values of the EU. 

All indications are that the vote, currently scheduled for September 12, will be extremely close. And because of the parliament’s rules, a two thirds majority of the voting members need to vote “yes” for the measure to pass. Abstaining will have the same effect as a “no” vote.

Winston Churchill understood that supporting democratic institutions in continental Europe is in Britain’s best interests.

British Conservatives in the European Parliament should vote “yes” to defend those same values from the attacks they face in Hungary today.