- Nigel Farage predicts a low Labour turnout at 2019 General Election
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- Electoral method
- Is there any point voting tactically in the EU elections and why?
- Expected cancellation and contingency planning
2019 election of members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom
All 73 United Kingdom seats in the European Parliament
Map of the results indicating the seats won in each region by party
The United Kingdom's component of the 2019 European Parliament election was held on Thursday 23 May 2019 and the results were announced on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 May 2019, after all the other EU countries had voted.
Initially no election was planned in the United Kingdom, as Brexit (following the 2016 referendum) was set for 29 March 2019.
Nigel Farage predicts a low Labour turnout at 2019 General Election
However, at the European summit on 11 April 2019 the British government and the European Council agreed to delay British withdrawal until 31 October 2019.
While it was then the default position in UK and EU law for the election to take place, the UK Government continued attempts to avoid participation by agreeing on withdrawal before 23 May. On 7 May 2019, the UK government conceded that the election would go ahead.
The election was the ninth time the United Kingdom has elected MEPs to the European Parliament (and the fourth for Gibraltar).
Candidate nominations were submitted by 16:00 on 25 April 2019, and voter registration was completed on 7 May 2019. Owing to the uncertainties over Brexit, it is uncertain for how long British MEPs will sit in the 2019–2024 Parliament.
Brexit was the central issue of the election campaign; arguments were made that it was a proxy for a second Brexit referendum. The Brexit Party won the most votes and became the largest single national party in the European Parliament, being the dominant choice of those who had voted to leave the European Union.
The votes of those who had voted to remain were more fragmented: the Liberal Democrats made substantial gains, finishing second nationally, while the Green Party of England and Wales and Scottish National Party also improved on their 2014 result; however, Change UK failed to win any seats.
Compared to the 2014 result, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party suffered enormous losses, and the previously dominant UK Independence Party failed to elect any MEPs.
In Northern Ireland, the Republican pro-Remain Sinn Féin and the Unionist pro-Leave Democratic Unionist Party both held their seats, while the Ulster Unionist Party lost its seat to the pro-Remain non-sectarian Alliance Party.
It’s time Corbyn reflected his own party, and opposed Brexit
In Scotland, the Scottish National Party elected three MEPs, while Labour lost both its MEPs and failed to win a seat in Scotland at a European election for the first time in its history. In Wales, the Brexit Party became the largest party, while the nationalist Plaid Cymru came second.
The Liberal Democrats became the largest party in London.
This was the first national poll in the United Kingdom since December 1910 that a successor to the Liberal Party had come higher than third-place in the number of votes or seats, or in which either the Conservatives or Labour received less than 10% of the votes cast.
To vote in the election, individuals had to be:
Individuals had to be registered to vote by midnight on 7 May 2019. A person with two homes, such as a university student with a term-time address but living at home during holidays, could be registered to vote at both addresses as long as they are not in the same electoral area, but could vote in only one constituency at the election.
European Union citizens (except for British, Irish, Cypriot and Maltese citizens) also had to submit a European Parliament voter registration form (also known as Form UC1 or Form EC6) by midnight on 7 May 2019 to confirm that they would vote in the European Parliament election only in the UK, and not in their home country. However, in the top 10 local authorities with EU citizens, only 21% of EU citizens who were on the Electoral Register returned this form by the deadline. EU citizens who did not submit this form were unable to vote in the election.
Further information: European Parliament constituencies in the United Kingdom and List of members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom, 2014–2019
The United Kingdom is divided into 12 multi-member constituencies: the nine regions of England, plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Gibraltar is assigned to the South West England constituency.
Labour needs a reboot – and it could start with bringing back Ed Miliband | Owen Jones
As has been the case since 1999, the English electoral constituencies are based on the government's nine English regions. The seat allocation has been the same since 2014.
The breakdown of seats just prior to the election was:
In Great Britain, candidates stand either on a party list, known as a closed list, in a set order of priority decided by that party, or as an independent. Voters choose a party (not an individual party candidate) or an independent candidate.
Is there any point voting tactically in the EU elections and why?
Seats are allocated proportionally to the share of votes cast for each party or individual candidate in the electoral region using the D'Hondt method of calculation. The first seat is allocated to the party or individual with the highest number of votes.
After each seat is allocated to a party, for the purpose of allocating further seats that party's total votes are divided by one plus the number of seats already allocated to that party, to give the party's quotient. The second and subsequent seats are allocated in turn to the party or independent candidate with the greatest quotient.
The Northern Ireland constituency uses the single transferable vote (STV) system to allocate its three MEPs.
Voters rank the candidates sequentially, in the order of their choice.
Expected cancellation and contingency planning
The United Kingdom invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union on 29 March 2017 following a referendum on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union.
As a result, the country was due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, before the European Parliament elections took place. Nonetheless, on 27 May 2018, it was reported that the UK's Electoral Commission had set aside £829,000 for its "activities relating to a European Parliamentary election in 2019". The Commission described the money as a "precautionary measure, so that we have the necessary funds to deliver our functions at a European Parliamentary election, in the unlikely event that they do go ahead".
The European Parliament resolution of 7 February 2018 on the composition of the European Parliament (2017/2054(INL) – 2017/0900(NLE)) included these clauses:
- H7 refers to the re-allocation of some UK seats following the UK withdrawal from the EU, stating: "Underlines that the seats to be vacated by the United Kingdom upon its withdrawal from the European Union will facilitate the adoption of a new allocation of seats in Parliament, which will implement the principle of degressive proportionality; further underlines that the new allocation proposed would allow for a reduction in the size of Parliament; notes that the use of only a fraction of the seats vacated by the United Kingdom is sufficient to ensure no loss of seats for any Member State".
- H6 has a contingency for the situation that the UK does not leave the EU before the 2019 election, stating that "in case the above mentioned legal situation concerning the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union changes, the allocation of seats applied during the 2014–2019 parliamentary term should apply until the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union becomes legally effective".
The European Council also drew up contingency plans allowing the UK to retain its MEPs should Brexit be postponed:
- However, in the event that the United Kingdom is still a Member State of the Union at the beginning of the 2019–2024 parliamentary term, the number of representatives in the European Parliament per Member State taking up office shall be the one provided for in Article 3 of the European Council Decision 2013/312/EU until the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union becomes legally effective.