Parties make their final pitches ahead of European election

Voters across the country head to the polls onThursday to choose their representatives in the European Parliament EMN-140429-150406001

Voters across the country head to the polls onThursday to choose their representatives in the European Parliament EMN-140429-150406001

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Voters across the country head to the polls on Thursday to choose their representatives in the European Parliament.

Northamptonshire is part of the East Midlands region, which elects five MEPs via a form of proportional representation.

At the last election in 2009, the Conservatives had two East Midlands MEPs elected, with Labour, UKIP and the Lib Dems all earning one each.

Meanwhile, in Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northants exclusively, the Tories won 29,000 votes in 2009, ahead of UKIP on 16,000, Labour on 14,000 and the Lib Dems on 8,000.

There were also more than 20,000 votes cast for other parties.

However, only about one in three eligible voters in the East Midlands cast their ballot in the election.

This time, UKIP hopes its nominees, who include Corby by-election candidate Margot Parker and Kettering councillor Jonathan Bullock, will win the most votes on their pledge to leave the EU.

The Conservatives – among whose candidates is Stephen Castens, from Ashley in the borough of Kettering – say they are the only party who are both willing and able to reform the European Union.

Lib Dem Bill Newton Dunn, the UK’s longest-serving MEP, says the Eurosceptic parties were putting millions of British jobs at risk and said his party was the only one making the case to remain a member of the union.

Labour has said its priority is not to leave the EU but to change it in order to help raise living standards for British families. The party’s number one candidate in the East Midlands, Glenis Willmott, is leader of the Labour group in the European Parliament.

To find out more about the main parties click here.

There will also be five other parties on our ballot papers, equating to a total of 41 candidates in the region.

The other parties include the pro-EU Green Party and four others who demand withdrawal.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, May 22.

Registered voters will have received a polling card telling them where they should cast their ballot. Anyone with a postal vote should return it by 10pm on May 22.

The results will be announced once the other 27 European Union countries have finished voting on the evening of Sunday, May 25.

As well as the counting of votes taking place locally, Kettering Council is administering the election for the region as a whole.

The authority’s chief executive David Cook is the regional returning officer, so will officially announce the results for the East Midlands.

European Parliament’s remit

The EU’s 28 member states will elect 751 MEPs next week, with 73 of them being chosen by British voters.

Those who are elected will have powers in areas including consumer rights, workers’ rights, international trade and the environment.

Members of the European Parliament also have the power to approve or reject the EU’s budget.