Lincolnshire

Local Democracy Weekly: Once more unto the polls

Just when you thought one election was over, another one is pencilled in for less than two weeks time.

As we leave behind one polling day that saw the country’s two major parties suffer at the hands of the electorate, voters will head to the polls once more for a second helping.

Brexit was the elephant in the room, claimed one Lincolnshire council leader following the collapse of his party’s majority in North Kesteven.

The local elections seemingly suffered from a hangover from the bombardment of negotiations with Brussels over the past couple of years.


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So, it’s fitting that the next time Britain’s voters wield a pencil and ballot paper, it will centre on Europe.

The European Parliament elections will see MEPs returned to Brussels to make decisions on legislation that affects the 28 member states of the European Union.

Eight parties and one independent will field candidatesin the East Midlands regional constituency.

The vote will be the first time since the 2017 General Election that the public’s opinion on the handling of Brexit has been tested, despite the overtones of last week’s council elections.

Bill Newton-Dunn, Liberal Democrat candidate for the East Midlands at the EU elections. Picture: Daniel Jaines for the Lincolnshire Reporter.

In Lincolnshire, the staunch leave vote will be tested again with the likes of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and UKIP taking the field.

The Liberal Democrats will also look to replicate their good performance across the county.

But, lead MEP candidate for the party, Bill Newton-Dunn, played down expectations for his success and emphasised that the campaign was about an “alternative message”.

Meanwhile, independent candidates have said the UK needs to get the most out of Europe before it leaves.

Marianne Overton, Independent Network candidate for the East Midlands at the EU elections. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Marianne Overton, leader of the Independent Network and candidate at this year’s elections, said the “leave or stay debate is history” and that the country deserves better.

Change UK, Labour, The Green Party, Conservatives and the independents will also be looking to make inroads on May 23.

In the past, the EU elections have been overlooked and often a chance for fringe parties to grasp some success.

UKIP and the Greens have seen candidates returned to Brussels over the years.

But with fringe parties controlling the narrative on Brexit and seeing an increased voice in the media, the election result may have a bigger effect on the future political scene.

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