As you know, European elections will be contested on 23 May. They matter.
- For however long we’re there, it’s important that Britain has good representatives to defend the interests of our constituents.
- This election is shaping up to be a battle for first place between Labour and Nigel Farage’s so-called “Brexit party” (which is not a party with members, but a private limited company set up by Farage that is refusing to reveal its sources of finance). We cannot let a shady outfit of neo-liberals and racists win a nationwide election!
- A strong contingent of Labour MEPs could make the Socialist Group the largest one in the European Parliament at a crucial time and just as it elects the next President of the European Commission.
- Brexit itself will be an issue and we must underline that Labour opposes the bad deal the Tory government has negotiated and believes that if the government is so confident that it is a good deal, it “should not be afraid to put that deal to the public” (to quote our manifesto). Brexit is turning out to be very different from what the Leave campaign promised and it is only right that the public have an opportunity to confirm that they want to go ahead with it – or not.
The Greens, LibDems and Change-UK are all seeking to take votes from Labour arguing that they are more clearly committed to stopping Brexit than we are. They know that, even in so-called “Leave” areas, most Labour voters are “Remainers”, and that public opinion is anyway shifting against Brexit. They already had some success with this in the local elections. But in reality, even with proportional representation, in a 6 member constituency like Yorkshire & Humber, the threshold for getting a single seat is too high for them to easily get one – meaning such votes are wasted in terms of seats and any voters switching from us to them would serve only to reduce Labour’s vote and risk giving an extra seat to the Brexit party.
As to the Tories, they own the Brexit shambles. Their incompetence, their divisions and their inability to deliver anything viable have made a bad situation worse. Meanwhile, the country’s critical problems – austerity, the state of the NHS, housing, crime, crumbling infrastructure, and much else, are neglected.
Labour has a good team of candidates. The list is:
– Richard Corbett
– Eloise Todd
– Jawad Khan
– Jayne Allport
– Martin Mayer
– Alison Hume
Many of you will know that my colleague Linda McAvan has decided to stand down after many years of exemplary service as a hard working and respected MEP for our region. She will be much missed, but will be supporting us strongly.
You will receive an email from the regional party later today with further information about the election campaign, including details about free campaign leaflets and other materials available for your CLP.
I look forward to joining you on the campaign trail!