83 politicians vying for Euro votes

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There will be 83 candidates scrapping for every single vote in the European elections on Thursday.

And, as in other parts of the UK, one question facing electors will be whether UKIP can win the battle for Europe – even though they don’t want to be there in the first place.

Nigel Farage’s party has stormed ahead in some polls, with some commentators predicting a victory ahead of


The Conservatives, who triumphed in 2009, were tipped to finish in third.

Chorley and Leyland voters are part of the North West region to elect eight MEPs through proportional representation (PR).

Ten parties are putting up eight candidates each in the region. An 11th – the Pirate Party UK – is fielding three.

Under PR electors vote for a party, not an individual.

The total vote for each party will decide how many of the North West’s eight seats they take, with candidates listed in order of preference.

Five years ago, the Tories took three in the North West, with Labour bagging two, the Liberal Democrats one, UKIP one and British National Party leader Nick Griffin taking the other.

Three of those MEPs are standing down. Labour’s Arlene McCarthy and Brian Simpson have decided not to seek re-election, while Sir Robert Atkins has called time on his political career after

33 years.

“It has been hard work, frustrating at times, satisfying at others,” said the former South Ribble MP, who was Sports Minister in the early 1990s.

“You may not like the European Parliament, but be under no illusions, it matters.

“You may not know as much about it as you would like, but you cannot ignore it. It is very significant in its influence.”

The remaining five North West MEPs are seeking re-election. Conservatives Jacqueline Foster, from Wirral, and Burnley solicitor Sajjad Karim are the top two picks.

Nick Griffin, the BNP’s only serving MEP, is standing again in the North West, where his party won eight per cent of the vote (132,194) five years ago.

Lytham-born Chris Davies tops the Lib Dems’ candidate list and UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall, from Bootle, will go again, hoping the surge in support for his party will mean he is not UKIP’s only North West MEP by the end of the month.

He told a press conference he expects three will be elected in the region.

Simon Noble, a former Conservative county councillor in Lancashire, who lives near Garstang, is sixth pick for UKIP in the North West, meaning the party would need a landslide victory for him to be elected.

Lancashire has the youngest European candidate in the country, with 24-year-old Joe Barker-Willis, from Morecambe, one of the Conservatives’ eight-strong field. He is number five on the Tory list.

University of Central Lancashire lecturer Wajid Khan is one of Labour’s candidates, along with Theresa Griffin, who has been on the Labour list in previous Euro elections.

The Green Party candidates include three who live in Lancashire and a fourth who works as a lecturer here.

County councillor Gina Dowding, who represents Lancaster Central at County Hall, is second on the Greens’ list.University professor Ulrike Zeshan, who lives in Preston, is sixth and Kevin Morrison, from Thornton Cleveleys, is their eighth choice.

Former Chorley man Derek Bullock is among those standing for the English Democrats. He was employed at the ROF site for 28 years and is a former Euxton parish councillor.

Other parties fielding candidates in the North West are An Independence from Europe, No2EU and the Socialist Equality Party.

For the full list of nominations, visit www.chorley.gov.uk.