A Sir and two Dr: Graham Watson elected head of SW LibDem list for 2014 elections - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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A Sir and two Dr: Graham Watson elected head of SW LibDem list for 2014 elections

Sunday, 2 December 2012
Incumbent MEP Sir Graham Watson has been re-elected the first candidate on the list in the region for the 2014 European elections by Liberal Democrat party members in the South West.

Sir Graham, who has been an MEP for the region since 1994 and is the current President of the European Liberal Democrat pan-European political party, received the most votes ahead of Dr Kay Barnard and Dr Brian Mathew.

Andrew Wigley and Jay Risbridger will appear fourth and fifth on the ballot paper respectively. The sixth place on the list will be a candidate nominated by the Liberal Party of Gibraltar.

The result should give Sir Graham the best chance of re-election in 2014 and since he is the loudest and most experienced voice for the region in negotiations in Brussels and Strasbourg, this would ultimately be good news for citizens of the South West of England and Gibraltar.

Elsewhere across the country, sitting MEPs were elected first on the Liberal Democrats list for every constituency with the exception of the North East following the decision of current delegation leader Fiona Hall not to seek re-election. Recalling that European citizens can stand for election anywhere in Europe, this honour interestingly falls to a German citizen currently the press officer for the LibDem MEPs in Brussels.

UPDATE (03/12, 11.53):

While I am sure it will please Sir Graham enough to have been elected head of the list, he will no doubt be delighted to learn he received the most first preference votes from party members of all the other LibDem MEPs seeking re-election in 2014.

According to results emailed to this blog of the vote carried out using the single transferable vote system, Sir Graham received 79.1% of first preference votes ahead of Chris Davies in the North West (72.4%) and Edward McMillan-Scott in Yorkshire and the Humber (66.9%). Both Andrew Duff (East of England) and Baroness Ludford (London) received less than half of the first preference votes in their regions.

With almost eight of out every ten Liberal Democrat party members in the South West casting their first preference vote for Sir Graham, that to me represents quite a considerable vote of confidence in his work.

UPDATE 2 (05/12, 13.05):

Sir Graham has welcomed the result, this morning tweeting:

Additionally, in an article published on his website, he outlined his work programme and prioirties if elected for a fifth term as an MEP for the region:

"I want to see us work proactively with our EU partners, to make our area more prosperous, safer and greener. The challenges we face on a daily basis, from a changing climate, to tackling organised crime and to securing our future energy and food supplies require us to work with other countries.

I want to continue to fight for a fair deal for the South West, using my knowledge and experience to deliver more funding for our region. Funding to spend on training our young people, getting more people back into work and investing in broadband and transport. I will continue to campaign for South West businesses which trade outside the UK, often selling goods and services onto new markets in India, China and the Middle East.


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