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The complete guide to the European Elections

The results of the European elections will be announced tonight. We will have an initial projection from the EU around 10pm and an overall outline of the UK result at 11pm. The specific results will be declared as the night rolls on, leading into tomorrow morning.

Both the Conservatives and Labour are anticipating bad results, while Ukip, which secured 24 seats in 2014, is expected to implode.  The Brexit party is tipped to win – but the extent of its victory will be an important barometer on public support for leaving the EU.

The UK has 73 seats in the European parliament, and there are currently 72 MEP’s in their posts, 43 of whom will be seeking re-election on Thursday. Fighting them for the seats will be 548 new candidates, many coming from the new Brexit and Change UK parties.

You can see a full list of all the candidates the parties put forward here.

The voting system 

For the European elections the UK is broken into 12 electoral regions, with each MEP serving as a representative to all of their region’s residents. Unlike the First Past the Post system used in General Elections, the D’Hondt System will be used, which works this way:

First, all the parties put forward a list of candidates to stand in each region, ranked in their preferred order. The candidate at the top of their list will be the first to take a seat if the party gets enough votes. In the polling booth, voters only select their preferred party, rather than individual candidates.

First round: The party which gains the most votes in a region wins a seat for the candidate at the top of their list.

Second round: The wining party’s vote is then divided by the number of seats they then have + 1. So if a party wins the first seat, their vote will be divided by two (one seat + 1). After the last round winner’s votes have been divided, the total votes are then reordered, and the party now at the top of the list will gain a seat.

Third round: Once again the party which has just won a seat has its total votes divided by one + the number of seats it has so far, and the results are again reordered – this process repeats itself until all the seats have been filled.

 

What will happen to MEPs if/when we leave the EU?

When (or if) the UK leaves the European Union, the European Parliament will reduce the number of its seats from the current 751 to 705. This means that 46 of the UK’s 73 seats will be removed, and 27 will be redistributed to ‘under-represented’ countries.

 

 

Odds:

The Brexit party are favourites to win the most seats in the election, with Ladbrokes putting their chances at 1/50. The Conservatives, meanwhile, are a staggering 100/1 to win the most seats this time. To put that into context Nigel Farage is 20/1 to become the next Prime Minister and the Queen is 80/1 to take up permanent residency in Ireland in 2019.

 

Guide to the regions:

East Midlands – 5 MEPs

2014 results:

Ukip  – 2
Conservatives – 2
Labour – 1

Poll predictions:

Brexit party – 3
Labour – 1
Conservatives – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

In the East Midlands, 58.8 per cent of the region’s residents voted in favour of leaving the European Union in 2016. Leave supporting candidates will therefore be expecting to do well, especially the new Brexit party who will hope to take seats from both the Conservatives and Ukip. The two incumbent Ukip MEPs for the region Jonathan Bullock and Margot Parker have already switched their allegiance to Farage’s new party, with Bullock set to run as a Brexit MEP for the region this time around.

Candidates to watch:

The headline candidate for the region will be the Brexit party’s Annunziata Rees-Mogg. Sister of Tory Brexiteer Jacob and former Conservative parliamentary candidate herself, Annunziata has been one of the highest profile names to stand for the new Brexit party and is expected to be the first candidate in the region to secure a seat.

Current Conservative MEPs Emma McClarkin and Rupert Matthews are defending their seats but will be in danger of losing them to the Brexit party. Rory Palmer for Labour will also be standing again, whilst veteran MEP Bill Newton Dunn, formerly of the Conservatives, will be hoping to siphon off the region’s Remain voters for the Lib Dems.

 

Eastern Region – 7 MEPs

2014 results:

Ukip – 3
Conservatives – 3
Labour – 1

Poll predictions:

Brexit party – 4
Lib Dems – 1
Labour – 1
Conservatives – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

With 56.5 per cent of the electorate voting in favour of leaving the EU in 2016, the Brexit party is hoping for one of its largest wins in the region, and expects to pick up all three of Ukip’s former seats.

Candidates to watch:

Richard Tice, the Brexit party’s lead candidate for the region will be expecting big gains. Geoffrey van Orden and John Flack will be contesting their seats for the Conservatives, but it is unlikely that they will both win. Labour MEP Alex Mayer will be hoping to hold onto his seat, whilst Stuart Agnew is one of only three MEPs for Ukip out of the 24 elected in 2014 who will be standing again for the party.

 

London Region – 8 MEPs

2014 results:

Labour – 4
Conservative – 2
Ukip – 1
Green – 1

Poll Predictions:

Labour – 2
Brexit party – 2
Lib Dems – 2
Green Party – 1
Conservatives – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

Currently, Labour occupy four seats in the region, while the Conservatives have two, and Ukip and the Greens have one. Whilst Labour are expected to lose out, with 59.9 per cent of London voting in favour of Remain parties, the Lib Dems and the Greens are both expecting strong results.

Candidates to watch:

As incumbent Labour MEPs Mary Honeyball and Lucy Anderson are not running this time, there is a potential vacancy for Labour candidates hoping to replace them. Competition over who should get these places has already created an internal proxy war of sorts within the party, with fierce fighting between supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. The party’s final list saw Katy Clark, Corbyn’s former political secretary, getting third position ahead of Laura Parker, national coordinator for Momentum. However, this scramble for the third position in Labour’s MEP list may end up being in vain, with polls suggesting that the party might only retain two of its current four seats in London.

Irina von Wiese of the Lib Dems will also be hoping to gain a seat, whilst Gerard Batten, the Ukip leader will be fighting to keep hold of his, having recently admitted in an interview with Sophy Ridge that it would ‘be untenable… to continue as leader’ if he lost his seat in London. On the Remain side, former Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler will be standing for Change UK as one of the party’s biggest names.

Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, will also be hoping to cause an upset, whilst Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam will be standing as an independent and hoping to win votes from environmentally concerned London voters.

 

North East Region – 3 MEPs

2014 results:

Labour – 2
Ukip – 1

Poll Predictions:

Brexit party – 2
Labour – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

In the Brexit referendum, 58 per cent of the electorate and all of the region’s constituencies, except Newcastle, came out in favour of Leave. With only three MEPs, the North East is, along with Northern Ireland, the region with the smallest number of European representatives meaning its seats will be tightly contested.

Candidates to watch:

Incumbent Labour MEPs Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen will be defending their seats, however, they will face strong opposition from the Brexit party, with Brian Monteith, former Conservative member of Scottish Parliament, leading the charge for Farage.

Labour will also be facing strong challenges from parties backing a second referendum with Frances Weetman, who quit the Labour Party over concerns about anti-Semitism, now standing as a representative for Change UK, and Fiona Hall of the Lib Dems, both expected to do well.

 

North West Region – 8 MEPs

2014 results:

Ukip – 3
Labour – 3
Conservative – 2

Poll predictions:

Brexit party – 3
Labour – 3
Lib Dems – 1
Green Party – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

The North West had three MEPs, including former leader Paul Nuttall, who were elected for Ukip but have since left and will not be contending their seats. The Brexit party will be hoping to make some real progress in the North West and libertarian Claire Fox is Farage’s headline candidate.

Candidates to watch:

Labour MEPs Theresa Griffin, Julie Ward and Wajid Iltaf Kham will all be hoping to retain their seats and Conservative Sajjad Karim is similarly standing for re-election, but could be under threat from Chris Davies of the Lib Dems. The controversial founder of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson will also be standing in the region.

 

Northern Ireland – 3 MEPs

2014 results:

Sinn Féin – 1
DUP – 1
UUP – 1

Poll Predictions:

Sinn Féin – 1
DUP – 1
Alliance Party – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

The voting system in Northern Ireland operates slightly differently to the rest of the UK. It uses a single transferrable vote system where voters can rank their candidates in order of preference.

Candidates to watch:

Northern Ireland elects 3 MEPs, and both Diane Dodds of the DUP (and wife of the party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds), and Martina Anderson of Sinn Féin appear likely to hold their seats. However, with Ulster Union’s James Nicholson standing down from his position there will definitely be at least one new MEP for Northern Ireland, and opinion polls are strongly suggesting that this will be the Alliance Party’s Naomi Long.

 

Scotland – 6 MEPs

2014 results:

SNP – 2
Labour – 2
Conservative – 1
Ukip – 1

Poll predictions:

SNP – 3
Brexit party – 1
Labour – 1
Lib Dem – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

Scotland voted 62 per cent in favour of remaining in the European Union and remain-backing parties will be expecting good results, especially the SNP. Many SNP politicians have also been advocating for a second Scottish referendum, and a strong outcome for the party in the European elections would certainly strengthen Nicola Sturgeon’s hand in calling for one.

Candidates to watch:

Alyn Smith the leading SNP candidate expects to keep his seat. The Brexit party has also touched on the topic of a second Scottish independence referendum with lead candidate Louis Stedman-Bryce saying that Nigel Farage’s party ‘would not stand in the way of an independence referendum’. The Lib Dems lost their only MEP seat in Scotland in 2014 to Ukip’s David Coburn and will be hoping to win it back.

 

South East Region – 10 MEPs 

2014 results:

Ukip – 4
Conservatives – 3
Labour – 1
Lib Dem – 1
Green – 1

Poll predictions:

Brexit party – 4
Lib Dems – 2
Labour – 2
Conservatives – 1
Green Party – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

The South East is the largest and most populated of the electoral regions and accordingly has the most MEPs. It will be one of the most important electoral battlegrounds and there are four former Ukip seats up for grabs.

Candidates to watch:

The South East will play host to a clash of titans between Brexit party leader Nigel Farage and high-profile Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan. Although Farage hit the headlines yesterday after having a milkshake thrown over him, his popularity appears undented in the South East and his party is expected to win at least four seats.

Interestingly, there are two candidates standing in the South East Region with the name of Alexandra Phillips. One is the lead candidate for the Greens, and the other the second candidate for the Brexit party. Amusingly, based on current polling they are both likely to win a seat – a potential cause of confusion in the EU parliament.

 

South West Region  – 6 MEPs

2014 results:

Ukip – 2
Conservatives – 2
Labour – 1
Green – 1

Poll predictions:

Brexit party – 3
Labour – 2
Lib Dems – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

Although the Brexit party will again be expected to do well in the South West, this could also be one of the places which witnesses a Brexit backlash, and remain backing parties are expected to also do well.

Candidates to watch:

The South West will also feature some star contenders. Former Conservative shadow home secretary and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ann Widdecombe is the lead candidate for the Brexit party, while Rachel Johnson, sister of Boris and former Lib Dem MP is the number one candidate for Change UK. Andrew Adonis, who has previously said ‘if you want Brexit don’t vote Labour’, is the number two candidate for Labour.

Molly Scott Cato will be hoping to retain her seat for the Greens, with Ashley Fox and Clare Moody hoping to do the same for the Conservatives and Labour. Controversial Ukip member Carl Benjamin will also be standing in the region, but as the party’s second candidate is unlikely to be elected. 21 years old Gibraltarian Luke Stagnetto, is a student at the University of Bristol and will be the youngest candidate standing in the European elections, however, at number six in the list for the Lib Dems, it’s extremely unlikely that he’ll win a seat.

 

Wales – 4 MEPs

2014 results:

Labour – 1
Ukip – 1
Conservatives – 1
Plaid Cymru – 1

Poll predictions:

Brexit party – 2
Labour – 1
Plaid Cymru – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

As in the rest of the country, the Brexit party is expected to do well in Wales, with recent polling by ITV suggesting Farage’s party could win up to 36 per cent of the vote. Remarkably though, the polling put Labour in third place (dropping from 30 to 15 per cent) behind the Remain backing Plaid Cymru. If you’re looking for clues about what Labour’s Brexit position will be after the election, Wales will be one to watch on Sunday night.

Candidates to watch:

Incumbent Ukip MEP Nathan Gill has switched allegiance to the Brexit party and will be standing as their lead candidate. Plaid Cymru candidate Jill Evans will be the only other candidate defend her seat and Change UK will be led by former Labour MP for Cardiff Jon Owen Jones.

 

West Midlands – 7 MEPs

2014 results:

Ukip – 3
Labour – 2
Conservatives – 2

Poll predictions:

Brexit party – 3
Labour – 1
Green Party – 1
Conservatives – 1
Lib Dems – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

At 59.3 per cent the West Midlands had the highest proportion of Leave voters in the UK, and Brexit supporting parties are expected to do well. Both Labour and the Conservatives are expected to lose seats in the region.

Candidates to watch:

Incumbent MEPs Neena Gill and Sion Simon of Labour, and Anthea McIntyre and Daniel Dalton of the Conservatives will be defending their seats against the Brexit party, led in the region by former chairman of Southampton football club, Rupert Lowe. On the Remain side, Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion will be hoping to regain the seat he lost in 2014.

 

Yorkshire and the Humber – 6 MEPs 

2014 results:

Ukip – 2
Conservative – 2
Labour – 2

Poll Predictions:

Brexit party – 3
Labour – 2
Lib Dems – 1
(via the Telegraph)

What to expect:

57.7 per cent of theYorkshire and the Humber voted to leave the EU and the Brexit party is again expecting to do well here. The region will also see the Yorkshire party, who could cause an upset, fielding six candidates.

Candidates to watch:

In Yorkshire and the Humber, John Longworth, co-founder of Leave means Leave will be the Brexit party’s main candidate. Amjad Bashir, formerly of Ukip, but now an MEP for the Conservatives will be hoping to maintain his seat.

Staunch Remainer, and Best for Britain CEO and founding member Eloise Todd is the number two candidate for Labour. There could also be a surprise win for former Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid ‘Magic’ Magid of the Greens. Interestingly, the English Democrats will also be putting forward four candidates with the surname Allen.

The picture across the Channel:

Two populist groups, the League Party and the Five Star Movement, rule by coalition in Italy’s parliament, and this election is seen as a test of their brand of politics in Europe. Matteo Salvini, leader of League, aims to form a movement of far right parties in Europe, who object to European bureaucracy, immigration and Islam. 11 leaders of EU populist groups shared a platform with Salvini at a rally on the 18th May in Milan. It is uncertain if his group will win significant power in this election, but Salvini already enjoys significant popularity in his native Italy, while Berlusconi languishes in single digits. 

The issue of Catalan independence hangs over Spain’s election, a topic which defined the general election last month. This time Puigdemont, the exiled independence leader, has returned to fight for public office again. After courting the far-right during the general election, the People’s Party have moved back to the centre, choosing “Centred on Your Future” as their slogan. PSOE are expected to win the most seats with a clear majority. Those who were predicting a catastrophic rise for Vox may have spoken too soon as the far-right party lags in the polls.

The election in France will take place on 26th May, with Macron and Le Pen neck-and-neck in the polls. Emmanuel Macron has recently suffered dire approval ratings and is expected to be punished accordingly at the polls. While Macron is relatively youthful on the old stage, he is made to look old by others in this particular race, with the 23-year-old Jordan Bardella leading the National Rally, and 29-year-old Manon Aubry at the head of left wing La France Insoumise’s list.


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