for the European Parliament elections
London4Europe Committee member and former Home Office senior civil servant Michael Romberg looks at who is on the party lists and whether they are “for Europe” or against. Separate articles will look at the European and UK manifestos of the parties.
The voting system
There are eight MEP spaces in London. Voters have one vote which they cast for a party or an independent. Where seats are allocated to a party, the first person on the list is given the first seat, the second the second seat and so on. More on the D’Hondt system here.
Voters cannot choose between candidates on a party list: if you are basing your voting decision on the candidates, your decision needs to be based on the higher placed candidates on the slate as a whole. We have been publishing a series of blogs converting opinion poll results into seats and electoral trackers – check on the latest blogs page for updates.
There are many ways of being “pro-Europe”
London4Europe is all-party and non-party. This article ignores everything about the candidates except their stance on Brexit and a Final Say referendum.
A reminder of the obvious. MEPs will have a rôle in considering the Withdrawal Agreement from the point of view of the EU. However, the decision whether to go ahead with Brexit will be for the Westminster Parliament.
Voters should take these elections seriously in their own right. They are not just a scene in the Westminister melodrama. But in the end a vote in the European elections is a vote for a Party, not for an individual. So Voters need to ask themselves how much they will gain from electing a “pro-Europe” MEP from a party which is committed to Brexit because such a party manifesto would be “anti-Europe” by definition.
As far as I can make out all of the candidates in the Change UK (formerly The Independent Group of MPs), Green and Liberal Democrat parties are “for Europe”, against Brexit, for Remain, for a People’s Vote (though some of the Greens and the ex-Renew members of Change UK may be keener on just revoking the Article 50 notice than on a referendum).
Our tracker shows that on polls so far the Conservatives are in the running to win 0-2 seats. For the Conservatives, 2ndplaced Charles Tannock MEP is for Remain and a Final Say referendum. The rest are pro-Brexit in varying degrees although some had voted Remain in 2016. I have asked some of them to clarify their stance and will publish an update if I receive more information.
For Labour, our tracker shows that on polls so far the party are in the running to win 2-5 seats.
- Both serving MEPs in the top two slots have taken the Remain-Labour pledge for a referendum and to campaign for Remain. Second-placed Seb Dance MEP is a highly active campaigner against Brexit and for PV; first-placed Claude Moraes MEP is barely visible as a supporter.
- 3rdplaced Katy Clark is a Corbyn ally with no publicly stated view on Brexit/ PV.
- 4thplaced is Momentum’s national organizer Laura Parker who supports a referendum on any deal. She also strongly supports Corbyn so it is not clear which way she would go in a conflict.
- For the other four, one has taken the Remain-Labour pledge and the position of the others is not clear (I have asked and will update this article if I hear from them).
THE CANDIDATE LISTS
- Benjamin Naeem Habib
- Lance Philip Forman
- Graham Barry Shore
- Alka Sehgal Cuthbert
- Jimi Ogunnusi
- Simon Joel Solomon Marcus
- Mehrtash A’zami
- Aileen Janet Quinton
- Gavin Esler
- Jan Vincent-Rostowski
- Carole Tongue
- Annabel Mullin
- Karen Newman
- Nora Mulready
- Jessica Simor
- Haseeb Ur-Rehman
Annabel Mullin – A Leader of the Renew Party which is co-operating with Change UK in these elections. Renew believe in Revoking A50 without delay.
Karen Newman – attended March PV march
Nora Mulready – anti-Brexit
- Syed Kamall MEP
- Dr Charles Tannock MEP
- Joy Morrissey
- Timothy Barnes
- Scott Pattenden
- Attic Rahman
- Kirsty Finlayson
- Luke Parker
Syed Kamall MEP campaigned for Leave in the referendum and used to write articles for Brexit Central. His own website refers to his role as an MEP in helping the UK/EU negotiations. He used to attend Rees-Mogg's ERG meetings but says that he stopped going after the 2017 general election. No recent concrete statement that I can see but no reason to doubt that he still supports Brexit.
Charles Tannock MEP supported Remain in 2016. He is now a campaigner for a referendum on EU membership with the option to Remain and supports “Right to Vote”.
Timothy Barnes – had voted Remain. In 2017 he opposed another referendum and said that Brexit should go ahead. I have asked for confirmation of his present position.
Scott Pattenden seems to support Brexit, judging by a few retweets but there is no definitive public evidence I have asked for confirmation
Attic Rahman is Chair of East Ham Conservatives. Until a few days ago his Twitter name had been “αttíc rahman #StandUp4Brexit”, which I took to be a bit of a clue. His pinned tweet (as at 2 May 2019) has #Brexit and #NoDealNoPoroblem.
- Scott Ainslie,
- Gulnar Hasnain
- Shahrar Ali
- Rachel Collinson
- Eleanor Margolies
- Remco van der Stoep
- Kirsten de Keyser
- Peter Underwood
Scott Ainslie stands for Revoke & EU membership and/or PV
Gulnar Hasnain – for PV
Shahrar Ali – Anti-Brexit. He has confirmed to me that he fully supports the Green Party's official policy as voted by conference in Autumn 2018: Remain & People's Vote.
Rachel Collinson - seems to be pro Revoke/ pro Remain
Eleanor Margolies - pro-EU. I have asked about PV.
Remco van der Stoep campaigns for PV
Peter Underwood supports revoke, remain, PV
- Claude Moraes MEP
- Seb Dance MEP
- Katy Clark
- Laura Parker
- Murad Qureshi
- Taranjit Chana
- James Beckles
- Sanchia Alasia
Katy Clark according to Labour List is “an ally of Jeremy Corbyn. Clark used to work for the Labour leader as his political secretary. A former MP, she led the party’s democracy review last year and took a job in the general secretary’s office.”. I can find no expressed view on a referendum. She is said to have campaigned against the Euro and the European Constitution.
Laura Parker, a former Brussels civil servant and private secretary to Jeremy Corbyn, now Momentum national organizer, is seen by the PV campaign and by Labour List as a supporter of another referendum. She is a supporter of anti-Brexit group Another Europe is Possible. Seems to have gone on the march 22 March 2019 (photograph of her, I think, here). She called in the Guardian of 29 April 2019 for a Final Say referendum on any deal. However, her publicly expressed support is mainly for Corbyn and there must be a question which way she would jump if forced into a choice.
Taranjit Chana – I can find no information on her Brexit stance and have asked her. She is associated with the GMB Union, who back a Final Say referendum; but it is not clear whether that is her position.
James Beckles – Regional Co-ordinator for London for New Europeans.net. Campaigns for Remain. Signed a public letter to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn calling for a referendum. Has taken the Remain-Labour pledge.
Liberal Democrat Party
- Irina Von Wiese
- Dinesh Dhamija
- Luisa Porritt
- Jonathan Fryer
- Hussain Khan
- Helen Cross
- Graham Colley
- Rabina Khan
If you click on the individual's name below you can read the manifesto the candidate produced for the internal Liberal Democrat selection process to stand for election. That will tend to overweight party activities compared to any manifesto they may produce later for the campaign itself. Most make clear their Brexit stance in those statements. Source here.
All are for Remain and for a People's Vote
Luisa Porritt is pro-Remain and pro-PV. She is a Camden Councillor. If you have been following our campaign to support councilors arguing for a People’s Vote motion then you will know that she was the leading figure in bringing the ruling Labour group – and even a Conservative councilor – to support an unequivocal call for a PV. Clearly a persuasive character.
UK Independence Party
- Gerard Batten MEP
- Richard Braine
- Peter Muswell
- Freddy Vachha
- Robert Stephenson
- Peter McIlvenna
- John Poynton
- Ronie Johnson
Gerard Batten MEP is the Leader of UKIP
There are also candidates standing for:
- The Animal Welfare Party (supported Remain in 2016. In 2017 general election opposed a 'hard Brexit' and supported a ratification referendum on the final exit deal)
- UK European Union Party (calls for a second referendum and for the UK to stay in the EU)
- Women’s Equality Party (Pro-EU)
There are eleven independents, seven of whom are standing as Climate and Ecological Emergency Independents, a movement inspired by Extinction Rebellion. Brexit does not feature on the manifesto.
The Regional Returning Officer's full list
LB Lewisham's returning officer is the regional returning officer for London.
Scroll down to "statement of persons and parties nominated and notice of poll" to download the full list as a two-page pdf.
The London4Europe blogs page is edited by Nick Hopkinson, Vice-Chair. Articles on this page reflect the views of the author not necessarily of London4Europe.