Lib Dems hoping for three MEPs

BUOYANT Liberal Democrats yesterday claimed they were on course to win three of the seven seats up for grabs in the Eastern region elections to the European Parliament on June 10.

By Graham Dines

BUOYANT Liberal Democrats yesterday claimed they were on course to win three of the seven seats up for grabs in the Eastern region elections to the European Parliament on June 10.

Andrew Duff, who heads the party's regional list for the proportional representation elections, said Labour was in "deep trouble" with its core voters while the Conservatives were "all over the place" and failing to pick up support.

"This region cannot afford again the costly luxury of electing four Conservative MEPs. The East of England is no longer a shire county region and this should be reflected in the Euro MPs sent to Brussels and Strasbourg.


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"Iraq is forming the background of the current British political scene and it will be a quietly decisive factor for many people in these elections.

"Internationalists will have to decide whether they back Labour or the Tories who are both manacled to George Bush, or give their support to the Lib Dems' policy of greater European co-operation on foreign affairs and defence," said Mr Duff at the media launch of his party's regional campaign in Cambridge.

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Mr Duff, first elected in 1999 when the Lib Dems only won one seat, said his party would fight the elections from a position of clarity and candour. "We will not disguise our pro-European beliefs.

"Britain's interests lie in a more parliamentary and effective European Union which its weight in world affairs."

Campaigning under the banner "Making Europe Work For You," the top three Lib Dems on its list are Mr Duff, Hertfordshire county councillor Chris White, and Suffolk county councillor Kathy Pollard.

Charles Kennedy will be in the region to support the candidates later this month. The East of England euro constituency covers Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

The number of Euro MPs to be elected for the region has been reduced from eight to seven to accommodate MEPs from the 10 Eastern Europe and Commonwealth nations that joined the EU on May 1.

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