POLLING UPDATE: Cambridge Stays recommends voting Green or Lib Dem in the East of England constituency in the European Parliament elections on the 23rd May!

The European Parliament elections on Thursday 23 May are a key opportunity to show politicians the strength of opposition to Brexit, and to force them to stop taking the votes of those who want the UK to stay in the EU for granted.

What is Cambridge Stay’s position on the European Parliament Elections?

Cambridge Stays is a cross party – and non-party – campaign group, and our priorities in the 2019 European Parliament elections are:

  • to ensure that the maximum number of votes are cast for parties that are unequivocally committed to holding a People’s Vote (also termed a confirmatory referendum) on any version of Brexit, with the option to stay in the EU, and to campaign in that referendum to stay in the EU
  • to ensure that as many pro-EU and pro-People’s Vote MEPs as possible are elected

Having considered the positions of the parties taking part and polling data in the East of England Constituency that we are part of, we are encouraging our supporters in the East of England constituency to vote for either the Liberal Democrats or the Green Party.

See below for the reasons why we are making this recommendation.

East of England Parties and their positions on a People’s Vote

In the East of England European Parliament Constituency we have the following options:

Parties that unequivocally commit to a People’s Vote on Brexit and will campaign to stay in the EU

Parties that back a People’s Vote on Brexit in some circumstances

Parties that support Brexit and oppose a People’s Vote

Tactical voting in the European Parliament elections

As we want to elect pro-EU candidates to the European Parliament who will support the UK’s continued membership of the EU and fight for our rights as EU citizens, we will have to vote tactically.

Two polls published by YouGov and Opinium, which sampled public opinion on the 8th and 9th of May, gave an early insight into how the campaign is developing, with voters deserting the Conservative Party and UKIP to back the Brexit Party, and moving from Labour to vote for the Liberal Democrats and Green Party, and to a lesser extent Change.UK. Other polls conducted since then have found the same overall trend.

A poll of almost 10,000 people published on 19 May – conducted by YouGov on behalf of Best for Britain and Hope Not Hate – provides data on voter support for parties the East of England. Of the parties that unequivocally support a People’s Vote on Brexit the Liberal Democrats have the highest support at 17%, giving them a very good chance of having an MEP elected, with the Greens on 10%, right on the threshold of the number required to get an MEP elected.

Change.UK are trailing further behind on 4%, well below the threshold for having an MEP elected.

On the basis of this polling data the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party are the best tactical choices for voters in our region who want to elect an MEP from a party that unequivocally backs a People’s Vote on Brexit.

The tactical voting websites Remain Voter and Remain United also make recommendations for the East of England constituency, one recommending voting for the Green Party and the other for the Liberal Democrats, so we suggest voting for whichever of the two whose manifesto and record you prefer!

What can I do to help Pro-EU parties to win in the 2019 European Parliament elections?

There are several things you can do to

  • Join Cambridge Stays and get involved in our campaign activities and events
  • Join the “This Time I’m Voting” campaign and make sure your friends family and colleagues vote.
  • Volunteer with the Pro-EU party of your choice, and help their European Parliament election campaign…they all need volunteers for leafleting, stalls, canvassing, and back-office tasks, so get involved! (their websites have information on this).
European Parliament election voting system in the UK

You have only one vote in the European Parliament election, and you vote for a single party rather than an individual candidate.

Each European Parliament constituency has several seats (the East of England has seven), and each party puts forward a ranked list of candidates for that constituency. The number of MEPs that are elected from each party list to represent a region depends on the overall share of votes that party receives, with the candidate at the top of the list getting the 1st seat, the candidate next on the list getting the 2nd seat etc.

Seats in the European Parliament are distributed according to the d’Hondt system, a type of proportional representation. While arguably fairer than the UK’s first-past-the-post “winner takes all” system, it still disproportionately favours parties with more votes relative to those with fewer votes. To have any chance of getting a candidate elected a party needs to get at least 10% of the vote, and in practice a larger share is often needed.

About the European Parliament

The European Parliament is directly elected by EU citizens across the 28 member countries of the European Union. It approves, rejects, or amends EU laws, budgets, and treaties with other states, and has powers and responsibilities to hold EU institutions accountable, and protect the rights of EU citizens. We need to ensure that when we stay in the EU we will have UK MEPs who will defend our interests (unlike Nigel Farage who didn’t even bother to attend important fisheries committee meetings).

The European Parliament is made up of 751 Members (MEPs) from across the EU. The UK is represented by 73 MEPs – nearly 10% of the parliament.

In the UK, there are 12 European electoral regions, and each region is represented by between 3 and 10 MEPs. You can find out who your MEPs are here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/en/european-elections/uk_meps.html

And you can find out more about the European Parliament here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/about-parliament/en

What do MEPs do?

Your MEPs are your elected representatives in the EU and they represent your interests and those of your city or region. They listen to people with local and national concerns, interest groups and businesses. They can question and lobby the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. Find out more here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/en/european-elections/what_do_they_do.html