A week is a long time in politics – let alone a five-year parliamentary term.
Representation of Yorkshire in the European Parliament is set to look vastly different after Thursday’s elections, following a term dogged by political infighting and controversy.
Of the six candidates elected to represent the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency in 2009, only two are standing again for the same party.
In 2009, the Conservatives won two seats, for Edward McMillan-Scott and Timothy Kirkhope, with Labour’s Linda McAvan, Godfrey Bloom of UKIP, Liberal Democrat Diana Wallis and Andrew Brons of the BNP also successful.
However, Mr McMillan-Scott quit the Tories for the Liberal Democrats, Mr Brons quit the BNP with a biting attack on the party leadership, Mrs Wallis retired from politics mid-term and Mr Bloom, while remaining a UKIP member, quit his party’s European group following a string of controversies to become an Independent.
Mr Bloom and Mr Brons have both since announced they are standing down at the end of this term, as has Mrs Wallis’ replacement, Rebecca Taylor.
Announcing his retirement, Mr Brons, who became an Independent after quitting the BNP, before forming the British Democratic Party, said: “I’ve done as much as I could possibly do as someone who doesn’t have a main party. As one man, ploughing a lone furrow. And I think my record shows I’ve not been a slouch.”
He said his attendance at European meetings was within the top four out of 73 MEPs, with his speaking record standing at number 11.
Mrs Wallis, from Humberside, retired from politics in January 2012 after failing in a bid to become president of the European Parliament.
Former Sheffield University student Rebecca Taylor was selected by the Liberal Democrats to replace her as MEP, but is standing down after saying it was not the right time for her,
She said: “I went into Parliament very quickly and suddenly. I had to resign a job I had only got four months previously and I am doing a part-time Masters degree in public health and I have been very lucky to have been given an extension to finish it.
“I just decided it wasn’t quite the right time to stand again, but I don’t rule it out for the future.”
Mr Bloom had the UKIP whip withdrawn last year after striking one journalist, threatening another and making sexist comments about a group of female UKIP supporters.
He announced he would stand down shortly after, saying the new UKIP was ‘not right’ for him.
Mr Bloom said: “Our message is clear. Self Government. Our wonderful and loyal membership will win through with their dedication and hard work. It has been a pleasure to work with them for 15 years.
“May I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the thousands of people who have supported me with messages of good will in the recent months and particularly in recent days. There have been simply too many to make a personal response, forgive me.”
Ten parties are now bidding to win one of the six seats at Thursday’s election, including Yorkshire First, An Independence from Europe and the English Democrats – and politicians are urging people to use their vote due to the importance of the European Union.
Mr McMillan-Scott, who defected from the Tories to the Liberal Democrats in protest at the party’s decision to align itself with right-wing parties which have been accused of anti-Semitism, said: “When I was first elected in 1984, the European parliament was a talking shop. Today it co-decides almost all EU law with national governments.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader and MP for Sheffield Hallam, said: “More than ever these European Elections will have an effect on Britain and the lives of ordinary people in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. There are some big issues at stake.
“Europe is our biggest export market and is vital to British jobs – just ask many of our local manufacturing companies who employ thousands of local people and rely on trade within the EU. Europe also plays a key role in the battle against climate change and ensuring cooperation between our police forces to catch criminals who cross our borders.
“The EU is a global economic superpower. It has the clout to defend not just our own interests, but the interests of our continent as a whole. You only have to look at the situation in the Ukraine to see why this is important.
“There’s no doubt that I’m a pro-European who believes that, while the EU needs reform, Britain’s best interests are served by being in Europe.
“But, whatever your views are, it’s really important for people to cast their vote and take part in the democratic process. Barely one in three people voted in the last European elections back in 2009. I hope that by starting the debate on Europe, whether you agree with me or not, more people will be able to take a view on the arguments and cast their vote on Thursday.”
Choosing a winner
Voters choose a party, rather than a candidate.
The six Yorkshire and the Humber members of the European Parliament are then elected via the d’Hondt formula.
Each party nominates up to six candidates in a preferential order.
The total number of votes for each party is collated and the first seat is allocated to the party which has polled the most votes.
Each subsequent seat is allocated to the party with the highest number of votes after the following calculation – ‘Total number of votes received’ divided by ‘the number seats the party has already been allocated plus one’.
Any party which has been allocated as many seats as there are candidates on its list will be excluded from subsequent stages of the calculation.
The results will be announced on Sunday, after 10pm, when the last polling stations in Italy close.
The candidates (in their party’s list order)
An Independence From Europe – ‘UK independence now’
1 Christopher Booth, of Tamworth, Staffordshire;
2 Kerrie Oxenham, of Hampton-in-Arden, West Midlands;
3 Malcolm Snelling, of Dorridge, West Midlands;
4 John Martin, of Dorridge, West Midlands;
5 Paul Sootheran, of Kenilworth, Warwickshire;
6 Howard Blake, of Coventry, West Midlands
British National Party – ‘Because we can make Britain better’
1 Marlene Guest, of Old School Close, Greasbrough, Rotherham;
2 Adam Walker, of Spennymoor, County Durham;
3 Daniel Cooke, of Highstone Road, Barnsley;
4 Joanne Brown, of Spennymoor, County Durham;
5 Steven Harrison, of Bolton, Lancashire;
6 Stuart Henshaw, of Swinton, Greater Manchester.
Conservative – ‘For real change in Europe’
1 Timothy Kirkhope, of Scotton, North Yorkshire;
2 Alex Story, of Barnes, Greater London;
3 John Procter, of Leeds, West Yorkshire;
4 Carolyn Abbott, of Sloade Lane, Ridgeway, Sheffield;
5 Michael Naughton, of Yeomans Way, South Anston, Rotherham;
6 Ryan Stephenson, of Leeds, West Yorkshire
English Democrats – ‘I’m English, NOT British, NOT EUropean’
1 Chris Beverley, of Wakefield, West Yorkshire;
2 David Wildgoose, of Old Park Road, Greenhill, Sheffield;
3 Ian Sutton, of Midhurst Grove, Barugh, Barnsley;
4 Colin Porter, of Barugh Lane, Barugh, Barnsley;
5 Tom Redmond, of Morley, West Yorkshire.
6 David Allen, of Anchorage Lane, Sprotborough, Doncaster;
1 Andrew Cooper, of Brockholes, Holmfirth;
2 Shan Oakes, of Beverley, East Yorkshire;
3 Vicky Dunn, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire;
4 Denise Craghill, of York, North Yorkshire;
5 Martin Hemingway, of Leeds, West Yorkshire;
6 Kevin Warnes, of Shipley, West Yorkshire.
1 Linda McAvan, of Townhead Road, Dore, Sheffield;
2 Richard Corbett, of Shipley, West Yorkshire;
3 Eleanor Tunnicliffe, of Leeds, West Yorkshire;
4 Asghar Khan, of Leeds, West Yorkshire;
5 Helen Mirfin-Boukouris, of Mosborough Hall Drive, Halfway, Sheffield;
6 Darren Hughes, of Blue Mans Way, Catcliffe, Rotherham.
1 Edward McMillan-Scott, of Wetherby, West Yorkshire;
2 James Monaghan, of Knaresborough, West Yorkshire;
3 Joe Otten, of Cruise Road, Nethergreen, Sheffield;
4 Chris Foote-Wood, of Bishop Auckland, County Durham;
5 Jacqueline Bell, of Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland;
6 Aqila Choudhry, of Leeds, West Yorkshire.
NO2EU – ‘Yes to Workers’ Rights’
1 Trevor Howard, of Wakefield, West Yorkshrie;
2 Mary Jackson, of Highfield Crescent, Thorne, Doncaster;
3 Carrie Hedderwick, of Cannon Hall Road, Fir Vale, Sheffield;
4 Adrian O’Malley, of Wakefield, West Yorkshire;
5 Steven Andrew, of Abbeydale Road, Heeley, Sheffield;
6 Iain Dalton, of Leeds, West Yorkshire.
1 Jane Collins, of Brough, East Yorkshire;
2 Amjad Bashir, of Leeds, West Yorkshire;
3 Mike Hookem, of Hull, East Yorkshire;
4 Gary Shores, of Beverley, East Yorkshire;
5 Jason Smith, of Bradford, West Yorkshire;
6 Anne Murgatroyd, of Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Yorkshire First – ‘A voice for the region’
1 Stewart Arnold, of Swanland, East Yorkshire;
2 Richard Carter, of Oslo, Norway;
3 Richard Honnoraty, of Driffield, East Yorkshire.