European elections 2019: Who are the South West candidates?
PUBLISHED: 12:37 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:36 17 May 2019
The mere existence of the forthcoming European elections will be anathema to many but, notwithstanding a very dramatic twist in the Brexit saga, the polls will open once again on Thursday, May 23.
Many politicians will be reluctant to campaign ahead of the vote, but fear of a Brexit reversal has spurred on parties such as the Brexit Party and UKIP. The momentum of the People's Vote campaign has driven on parties such as the Liberal Democrats and Change UK.
All the main parties are fielding candidates in the South West Region, and three Independents will be on the ballot.
The European Parliament is made up of 751 members from the 28 member states. Although the UK's newly elected MEPs will have no direct say on Brexit, all parties are using it as a platform on which to continue the debate.
If the Brexit process in the UK is completed by June 30, the newly-elected members will not even take up their seats.
The Europeans Parliamentary Election operate on a list system, known as the D'Hondt method. When the votes in the region are counted, the party (or Independent) with the most votes wins the first seat. The first name on the party's list takes the seat.
That party's vote count is then halved, and the party with the most votes gets the next seat - and then their vote is halved, and so on.
In the South West there are seven seats, so the major parties have put forward lists of seven candidates.
Change UK - The Independent Group
Change UK - The Independent Group was formed after eight MPs left the Labour Party and three left the Conservative Party, saying they wanted to work together to put the national interest ahead of party political advantage.
It is staunchly pro remain and is calling for People's Vote and another referendum to decide the issue. The rally cry is to 'get things done based on evidence, not ideology'.
Standing for Change UK in the South West and their order on the ballot are: Rachel Johnson, Jim Godfrey, Oliver Middleton, Matthew Hooberman, Elizabeth-Anne Sewell, Crispin Hunt.
Change UK has been contacted for a more detailed statement.
Conservative and Unionist Party
The Conservative Party says it remains committed to honouring the Referendum result and leaving the European Union in an orderly manner.
A party statement said: "What is deeply frustrating is that so many MPs who stood at the last election on a manifesto commitment to respect the Referendum result have failed to do so.
"Almost all Conservative MPs have voted for Brexit in one form or another. Sadly only per cent of Labour MPs have done the same. It is this that has caused the current impasse. MPs have voted against leaving the EU with a deal, voted against leaving without a deal and then voted against every other option as well.
"Local residents might be tempted to protest against the Government in these elections. If this happens then the main beneficiary will be the Labour Party - a party that is deliberately trying to thwart our efforts to leave the EU.
"The Conservative Party is committed to leaving the EU and we hope we can count on your vote on May 23."
Standing for the Conservatives in the South West and their order on the ballot are: Ashley Fox, James Mustoe, Faye Purbrick, Claire Hiscott, James Taghdissian, Emmeline Owens.
The English Democrats firmly believe in leaving the EU and 'putting England first' - including campaigning for the creation of an English Parliament.
It is putting up two candidates for the South West - Jenny Knight and Mike Blundell.
First candidate on the ballot, Mrs Knight, said: "I am from a Devon military family from Great Torrington and went to school in Bideford, North Devon but now live in Somerset. I am a local historian having written guide books on Bath.
"I am standing for the English Democrats Party whose manifesto includes leaving the EU and Putting England First. We also campaign for England to have her own Parliament to equalise that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
"I am also supporting those women born in the 1950's who suffered financial hardship when the state pension age was raised for women from age 60 to 66, with little or no notice and implemented through the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Acts. Thousands of women in the South West were affected, losing in general up to £45,000 each.
"If elected I will campaign with Pension Reformers United for all those women across the South West who, quite rightly, feel they have suffered an injustice at the hands of successive Governments and deserve recompense."
Second candidate, Mike Blundell, said : "The European Union is an inward looking, authoritarian and inefficient institution. The sooner we are out of it the better.
"I am a family man, living and working in Bristol for more than 30 years. In that time I have experienced the decline in the quality of our public services.
"We should be spending our taxes on improving our hospitals and schools and not being forced by the European Union to have them spent funding subsidies for tobacco, wine and sugar. We can add to this slipper farmers, receipt free MEP expenses and the endless travel between Brussels and Strasbourg.
"The EU is outdated, it is the past. Time to say goodbye."
The Greens are unequivocally pro-European and pro-remain, saying Stopping Brexit and remaining in the EU is the only acceptable outcome and can be achieved through a People's Vote.
Sitting Green MEP Molly Scott Cato and the first name on the ballot said: "I'm the only experienced MEP seeking re-election standing for a Remain party. I'm proud of my track record of fighting tax avoidance, helping fund a sustainable economy, and working for more sustainable farming.
"Greens have been clear on Brexit. Our MP Caroline Lucas has shown national leadership in the campaign for a People's Vote. We are an unequivocally pro-European and pro-remain Party.
"But while we are tough on Brexit, we are also tough on the causes of Brexit. We need to address the reasons why so many chose to vote Leave in 2016. Greens are the only Party with the bold economic and social policies to tackle inequality and so restore hope to those feeling abandoned and betrayed.
"Greens are also uniquely placed to act on the climate emergency which is the defining issue of our time. People trust us to tell the truth on climate provide a clear and practical plan for ambitious action."
Standing for the Green Party in the South West and their order on the ballot are: Molly Scott Cato, Cleo Lake, Carla Denyer, Tom Scott, Martin Dimery, Karen La Borde.
Labour's official policy is to get the 'best Brexit deal for jobs and living standards', and for the country to remain in the customs union and the single market during a transition period. Andrew Adonis, the second name on the South West candidate list, argues that a 'People's Vote is now the only possible way to resolve this Brexit mess'.
A party statement on the Euro campaign said: "The Tories' chaotic handling of Brexit has left our country in crisis. The government has spent the last three years arguing and negotiating with itself - and that's led to jobs being lost, and investment being withdrawn. Labour is the only party that is trying to bring people together.
Our South West MEP Clare Moody, alongside Labour MEPs across the country, have been fighting hard in the European Parliament for laws that make a difference to people's lives. Labour MEPs were instrumental in setting targets to reduce emissions, promoting renewable energy and combating climate change. They've led the fight against aggressive tax avoidance by large multinationals, on securing better rights in the workplace and on getting rid of mobile roaming charges.
A vote for Labour on May 23 is a vote to stop the Brexit Party's regressive politics; only Labour has the policies to improve and invest in our communities to make them work for the many, not the few.
Standing for the Labour Party in the South West and their order on the ballot are: Clare Moody, Andrew Adonis, Jayne Kirkham, Neil Guild, Yvonne Atkinson, Sadik Al-Hassan.
The Lib Dems say they have a clear message: 'vote for us and stop Brexit'. Candidate David Chalmers, chairman of the Liberal Democrat European Group said: "Looking at the amazing local council election results, that's clearly what many South West voters want. They know Brexit is a national embarrassment and an economic, social and environmental disaster.
"Lib Dems are the only party that's been fighting for a People's Vote since the day after the EU Referendum."
The party says it is delighted to have 'a powerful slate of candidates', led by former Reuter's journalist, freelance editor and successful social entrepreneur Caroline Voaden from Totnes in Devon.
It includes two former MPs, Cheltenham's Martin Horwood and Bristol's Stephen Williams.
Recently re-elected councillor for East Devon Eleanor Rylance and Queens Award for Enterprise Winner David Chalmers from North Devon are joined by Luke Stagnetto. Bristol University student Luke is both the South West's youngest candidate at 20 and the only candidate from Gibraltar.
Standing for the Liberal Democrats in the South West and their order on the ballot are: Caroline Voaden, Martin Horwood, Stephen Williams, Eleanor Rylance, David Chalmers, Luke Stagnetto.
The Brexit Party
The Brexit Party needs little introduction and its aim is to bring about Brexit, with six candidates standing in the South West. Leader Nigel Farage says it intends to present a full slate of policy ideas once the Euro elections are over.
He said: "These European elections were not supposed to happen. In June 2016 17.4m voted to leave the EU - the biggest democratic mandate in British history.
"After 25 years of campaigning for Brexit I believe we had won. Yet almost three years later, the government and MPs have betrayed Brexit.
"The battle is no longer just about the EU. We must fight back against our failing MPs who have defied 17.4m of us. Their two party system cannot cope with Brexit. Politics is broken. Enough is enough.
"We need to change politics for good. Let's put the principles of trust, honesty and integrity at the heart of our democracy. This is about more than Brexit, it's about what kind of country we are."
Standing for the Brexit Party in the South West and their order on the ballot are: Ann Widdecombe, James Glancy, Christina Jordan, Ann Tarr, Roger Lane-Nott, Nicola Darke.
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
UKIP is fielding six candidates in the South West and is claiming credit for the 2016 referendum. The candidates stand for Brexit and says a vote for UKIP is 'a vote against uncontrolled and unlimited immigration'. The party claims to support armed forces and veterans and stands 'against political correctness and for free speech'. Its slogan states 'a vote for UKIP is a vote to make Brexit happen'.
Standing for UKIP in the South West and their order on the ballot are: Lawrence Webb, Carl Benjamin, Anthony McIntyre, Lester Taylor, Stephen Lee, Alison Sheridan.
Archant has contacted UKIP to ask for a more detailed response.
Maxey, Larch Ian Albert Frank - Independent
Dr Maxey is standing as a Climate and Ecological Emergency Independent candidate and says 'everything must change'.
He is a strong supporter of Extinction Rebellion and believes everyone should vote in this election, but that 'voting isn't enough'.
He said: "It requires each of us to tell the truth and act on it, to really let the truth into our hearts and feel it. Only then will we take appropriate action and see that business as usual is not an option.
"We need to reboot politics by using Citizens' Assemblies to decide how we go zero carbon, starting now. This year, according to the science, we need to reduce UK carbon emissions by at least 10 per cent.
"I'm standing to urge action. Please ask the other candidates if they'll support Citizen's Assemblies on the CEE and if not why not. Join a mass civil disobedience movement such as the Youth Strikes and Extinction Rebellion.
Dr Maxey said as a start all Euro candidates could demand: 1. The Council of Ministers and the European Parliament must tell the truth and take action to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
2. The Emergency Declaration must demand a zero carbon Europe by a date no later than 2030.
3. National Citizen Assemblies on Climate & Ecological Justice must be instituted and have a leading role in shaping a zero carbon Europe.
Rahman, Mothiur - Independent
Mr Rahman from Bideford in North Devon is a Climate and Ecological Emergency Independent candidate alongside Dr Maxey. He also want to highlight the need for urgent action to prevent a climate catastrophe.
"'Don't vote for me, rebel' is our slogan," said Mr Rahman, who previously worked in the City as a lawyer before becoming an MEP candidate. He added: "We need system change and for that we must work together over the next few months. We need a robust, resilient movement."
Archant has contacted Mr Rahman for a more detailed statement.
Seed, Neville - Independent
Independent candidate Neville Seed is from St Germans in Cornwall and feels 'democracy demands we leave the EU', but 'a better deal is possible'.
He said: "The UK government has stated it will follow EU policy in many areas even if we leave the EU. To have any influence on these policies you need to look to your MEP and not to the MPs in Westminster. This is why I am standing as an independent MEP.
"The main parties of Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and Change UK are so in-thrall to the EU that they will agree anything and simply rubber stamp whatever the EU want regardless of any negative impacts on the UK.
"Not everything the EU does is good. The Brexit and UKIP parties will not engage in discussion on policy and the future direction on EU policy and ultimately our own as they have stated they just want to give a kicking and cause trouble.
"I will read every piece of EU legislation and proposals. I will publish this alongside my synopses so that everyone will be informed of what is happening before it becomes law. As an Independent I can vote on individual policy for the best result and not by party diktat..
"My manifesto is available at http://nevilleseed.co.uk/policies"