The UK MEPs hoping to become MPs: an overview of their chances on May 6th - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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The UK MEPs hoping to become MPs: an overview of their chances on May 6th

Saturday, 1 May 2010
In case you missed it, there is a General Election planned in the United Kingdom for Thursday 6th May in which Gordon Brown’s Labour Party is widely expected to lose its status as the governing majority. But amongst the candidates seeking election in the 650 constituencies that currently compose the country, are 11 current Members of the European Parliament.

Here I give a short overview of their election battleground in which they are campaigning to exchange their seat in Brussels and Strasbourg for one in Westminster.

With the exception of UK Green party leader Caroline Lucas, it hardly comes as a surprise to note the other declared standing candidates all campaign for the UK to leave the European Union…

AGNEW, Stuart (EFD/UKIP) – Broadland

Broadland is a new constituency at the election, replacing the new abolished Mid Norfolk seat and also includes part of the North Norfolk and Norwich North seats. In 2005, the seat as it was then was won by the Conservatives with a majority of 6,573 and is one of the Liberal Democrats’ targeted seats. UKIP polled only 4% of the vote last time so a large swing is required for Agnew to win the seat.

BATTEN, Gerard (EFD/UKIP) – Romford

Romford is a very safe Conservative seat reclaimed back from Labour in 2001. The Conservative majority was increased further in 2005 to 12,120 accumulating 59% of the vote. The UKIP candidate in 2005 received only 2.2% of the votes so an ever larger swing is required for Batten to win the seat.

BRONS, Andrew (Non-attached/BNP) – Keighley

A Liberal seat until 1918, the Yorkshire seat of Keighley has since regularly changed hands between the Conservative Party and Labour. In 2005, Labour polled 44.7% of the vote to win the seat ahead of the Conservatives (34.3%). Mr Brons will be standing in the seat his leader Nick Griffin fought for in 2005, finishing last with 9.2% of the vote. The BNP vote increased by 9% that time around but an even bigger increase is needed for the right-wing party to gain their first seat in Westminster.


Suffolk South is a very safe Conservative seat in which the incumbent minister first secured a majority of 11,269 at the 1983 election. Although this was cut to 4,175 votes at the 1997 election, and to 6,600 in 2005, it is unlikely to change colour. An ambitious target seat for the Liberal Democrats this time around, UKIP polled 5% of the vote in 2005 and is unlikely to poll better.

CLARK, Derek (EFD/UKIP) – Northampton South

Mr Clark is standing again in this constituency which has switched between Conservative to Labour and back to Conservative in 2005. The incumbent MP won the seat then with a majority of 4,419 votes, which is four-times the amount of total votes Mr Clark polled for UKIP in 2005. He will hope to increase his vote this time around even though the result last time was lower than the previous year.

FARAGE, Nigel (EFD/UKIP) – Buckingham

Breaking with Parliamentary convention, the former leader of UKIP is standing against the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow in Buckingham. The convention is that no party puts up a candidate against the Speaker so Mr Farage is the most notable opposition candidate. There are plenty of other independent candidates standing but it is still considered a safe Conservative seat (although Bercow is no longer officially Conservative since becoming Speaker). In 2005, when he was not the Speaker, the Conservatives won 57.4% of the vote, compared to 3% for UKIP. While not expected to lose, Mr Bercow has clearly been fluttered by Mr Farage’s candidacy so there could be a surprise here. One to watch.

GRIFFIN, Nick (Non-attached/BNP) – Barking

Barking has been a Labour seat since 1945 and is the current seat for veteran Labour minister Margaret Hodge. However, this time around she faces a tougher breed of candidate in Mr Griffin of the BNP. It is certainly possible for Griffin to do well here with the BNP in 2005 out-polling the Liberal Democrats with 16.9% of the vote to take third place and were only 27 votes behind the Conservatives. Former boxer Frank Maloney is standing here for UKIP, but it is Griffin and the BNP vote to watch out for here – it is the BNP’s best chance of winning a seat in Westminster.

LUCAS, Caroline (Greens) – Brighton, Pavilion

Once a traditional Conservative seaside town, 1995 Labour won the seat and has held it since despite the majority falling in both 2001 and 2005. However, the story in 2005 was provided by the Green Party who ran the Conservatives very close for second place. This time around its leader Caroline Lucas is fighting the cause in what is a three-way marginal seat. Despite polling 22% in 2005, the Greens are highly expected to claim their very first seat in UK Parliament thanks additionally to the ‘Cleggmania’ which could transfer votes from Labour and the Conservatives to the Green ‘alternative’. Again, one to watch closely.

NATTRASS, Mike (EFD/UKIP) – South Staffordshire

Containing no major towns, this rural constituency has been Conservative since 1997. In 2005 the death of the Lib Dem candidate during the general election campaign caused the poll to be postponed until a deferred poll in June. Nonetheless the majority of 8,346 was enough to re-elected Sir Patrick Cormack, the second longest-serving MP, who is not standing this time around. In 2005, the UKIP polled 10.4%, an increase of 6% from 2001 which is why they are expecting another good result, although very unlikely to gain the seat.

NUTTALL, Paul (EFD/UKIP) – Bootle

Bootle, in Merseyside, has been a safe Labour seat since the outbreak of World War II. Incumbent Joe Benton took hold of the seat in 1990 and has remained MP ever since although his majority was cut in 2001 and 2005, and still stands at more than 16,000. Mr Nuttall is again standing for UKIP after obtaining only 4.1% of the vote in the first time it contested election in that seat.

SINCLAIRE, Nikki (Non-attached/Independent) – Meriden

The now independent MEP after her expulsion from the UKIP party is standing in the ‘centre of England’ constituency of Meriden which is safe Conservative with a majority of over 7,000. The biggest fight here will come from the Labour party which polled 33% in 2005, so Ms Sinclaire will have to fight hard to keep her deposit standing for Solihull and Meriden Residents Association (SAMRA).

Ones to Watch: Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion), Nick Griffin (Barking) and Nigel Farage (Buckingham).

Most likely to become an MP: Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion).

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