Parties prepare for European election battle next summer

The European Parliament.

The European Parliament.

Both the Conservative and Labour parties have selected their slate of candidates for next year’s European Parliament elections.

There are seven MEPs to be elected from the East of England in next year’s elections – voted in by a system of proportional representation.

The last time the seats were contested, in 2009, the Conservatives won three, UKIP two, with Labour and the LibDems winning one each.

One of the two UKIP MEPs – David Campbell-Bannerman – subsequently rejoined the Conservatives and is now third on their list of possible MEPs.

Labour’s list is headed by sitting MEP Richard Howitt. Second is Mr Howitt’s former researcher Alex Mayer, and third on the list is Suffolk County Council opposition leader Sandy Martin, who represents the St John’s Ward in Ipswich.

He said: “I am pleased to be quite high on the list. It will be a tough battle, but it is a contest that should be winnable.

“I shall be trying to persuade people that the issue of jobs and growth is the most important in this election – it is a policy that is needed to get out of this recession both in Europe and in this country.”

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Other Labour candidates on the list are Bhavna Joshi, Paul Bishop, Naseem Ayub, and Chris Ostrowski.

The Conservative list is headed by sitting MEPs Vicky Ford, Geoffrey Van Orden, and Mr Campbell-Bannerman. Their other candidates are, in order, John Flack, Tom Hunt, Margaret Simons, and Jonathan Collett.

Writing in her latest newsletter, Mrs Ford said: “I believe this is an extremely strong list combining experienced campaigners with diversity.

“During the months ahead we look forward to delivering our message. We are campaigning for a Reform of the UKs relationship with Europe, a Repatriation of powers from Brussels to Britain and paving the way towards an IN/OUT Referendum.”

The LibDems’ list is headed by sitting MEP Andrew Duff, with Josephine Hayes, Belinda Brooks-Gordon, Stephen Robinson, Michael Green, Linda Jack, and Hugh Annand. UKIP is currently finalising its list for next May’s election.