2019 European Parliament elections

751 MEPs are elected to the European Parliament from across all member countries and elections are held every five years. The UK is taking part in these elections, today, in spite of the notification of the intention for the UK to leave the EU. Counting of the votes won’t take place until elections held by all EU countries have finished on Sunday 26 May.

Due to the delay in Brexit, and EU law, the UK has to take part in the elections for MEPs, although the elected candidates from the UK may not take their seats in the European Parliament it the UK were to leave the EU before the end of July (which is not looking likely).

Prior to the elections Nigel Farage announced that the Brexit Party, launched on 12 April 2019, will contest all the seats, apart from those in Northern Ireland. The Brexit Party was formed in response to the lack of progress by the Government in implementing the result of the EU Referendum held in 2016.

Brexit Party Website

Surveys held in the run up to the elections consistently indicated massive support for the Brexit Party. There were also many indications that Conservative supporters, frustrated by the delay in leaving the EU, planned to vote in support of the Brexit Party.

In final polls the Brexit Party were showing support at an average of 32% – indicating a clear message that a large proportion of the public still want to see the UK out of the EU and may also show a lack of confidence in Theresa May and her Government being able to achieve that aim.

Although the Labour Party initially showed support at around 24% at the time of the local elections held on 6 May, polling shows falling support mainly because of the unclear and ambiguous message on Brexit presented by the party. Some polls place Labour in 3rd place, with support at 13%-15%, behind the Liberal Democrats who are polling strongly with their anti-Brexit stance.

The Conservative Party are likely to finish in fourth place depending on whether there is a surge in support for the Green Party.

ChangeUK web-site

Support for the Change UK Party is not showing much traction (around 1%-2%) and it will be interesting to see if the new party survives in the longer term – does this mean a merger with the Liberal Democrats? and UKIP is likely to lose support as their followers migrate towards the Brexit party.

Although the major parties are hoping that electors will vote based on topics other than Brexit, it is likely that the election will be treated as a protest vote indicating support for either remaining or leaving the EU. In some respects, the election is meaningless and a waste of time, money and effort if the UK were to leave the EU during the next session of the EU Parliament. It is also possible the the UK representation to the Parliament will be strongly anti-EU – although with a total of 751 MEPs in the Parliament, somewhat ineffective.

European elections in the UK use a form of proportional representation to elect MEPs, with 73 seats available spread across regions in the UK.

Region Number of seats
East Midlands 5
East of England 7
London 8
North East 3
North West 8
South East 10
South West 6
West Midlands 7
Yorkshire and the Humber 6
Scotland 6
Wales 4
Northern Ireland 3

Electors vote on the basis of a political party rather than individuals as in Local and General elections. In England, Scotland and Wales, seats are awarded according to the share of the vote for the party. A list of candidates is put forward in ranked order by each party and MEPs are selected from these lists.

In England, Scotland and Wales the voting system for the European elections is the d’Hondt system of proportional representation – regional closed list. In Northern Ireland the system is Single Transferable Vote.

Read more about the mechanism at

The EU Election Voting System in the UK

General Info

Apparently in an election you’re not voting for a Party

In a recent petition on the Government and Parliaments web-site the response from the Government said

Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent. The Government does not plan to change this constitutional position.

The full response continued

There is no requirement for a Member of Parliament to stand down and cause a by-election to be held if they decide to leave the party for which they stood and were elected. Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent; although it is recognised that many people vote on the basis of party preference. It is generally agreed that a candidate, if elected to the House of Commons, is not deemed to be a delegate of a particular party, and will hold the office to which they have been elected in a personal capacity.

When a Member of Parliament decides to leave the party for which they were elected, it is for them to decide whether to stand down from their seat in the House of Commons and seek re-election in the subsequent by-election, or to continue to sit in the House of Commons.

A Member of Parliament who decides to leave the party for which they were elected and to continue to sit in the House of Commons will be required to stand as a candidate at the next General Election if they wish to remain in office.

Amending the existing law would involve a significant change to our constitutional arrangements, and would raise important issues about the role and status of Members of Parliament, which would need careful consideration. The government currently has no plan to make such changes.

Cabinet Office.

This does raise a number of questions such as:

Is the ballot paper misleading when it includes the candidate’s party as it is suggesting that if you vote for this candidate you are voting for their party ?

If you are voting for the individual then how can you have a Government of Conservatives ( or Labour etc.) when you are not voting for the party ?

Why are Election Results presented and interpreted as though you were voting for a party when you voted for the individual ? e.g. “Newport West by-election: Labour holds on to seat

For elections to the EU Parliament a different system is used.

Since 1999 voters in Britain have elected MEPs under a proportional representation system. The European Parliamentary Elections Act of that year introduced a regional list system with seats allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the vote.

So in this case, you ARE voting for a party!! Although you vote for a UK party, this ends up as a different party in the EU Parliament and I’ve no idea what those parties are – so if you vote for Labour in the UK, you may prefer to vote Conservative in order to be in the EU party you support – confusing or what.

And does your vote matter anyway ? Judging by the EU referendum – if you vote for the winning option, this is still ignored by the “political elite” who believe they know best and ignore the votes.