MEP selection

1 Aug 2013 08:48:32

Two questions about the MEP candidate selections which CCHQ must answer

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Grassroots
Yesterday, the results were announced of the ballot ranking candidates for next year's European elections (ConHome was, of course, first to the news and the full lists were published here).

There are two questions that arise from the process, (aside from the absurd rule by which candidates are forbidden from campaigning):

1) What was the turnout?

While the adoption of a postal ballot system in all areas except Scotland is a step in the right direction, giving party members greater power and opportunity to take part in the selection process, the published results are still rather vague.

Last time round, in 2008, this site campaigned for the full figures to be published from the ballot, including turnout. Those calls were rejected, at the time to avoid the embarrassment of revealing that several female candidates bumped to the top of the list had proved much less popular than several of their competitors. 

It is very disappointing that despite the lip service that is paid to internal democracy, the importance of primaries and so on, this data has yet again not been published. I suspect there is nervousness at CCHQ that the data would reveal awkward facts about the scale to which party membership has declined, but concealing a problem is the opposite of solving it.

We will be asking again for the party to publish full turnout data and the total number of votes received by each candidate. In a democracy, party members have a right to know.

2) Were all the candidates fully committed?

As I noted yesterday, something strange happened in the results for Yorkshire and the Humber. Number Six on the regional list remains unfilled.

How could this happen when there eight candidates competing to fill six places? Well, it seems that three candidates must have turned down the places they were given by the party membership - presumably because they were too low to offer them a chance of becoming an MEP. I haven't yet spoken to Fleur Butler, Spencer Pitfield and Karl Poulsen about what happened, but the absence of all of them from the final Yorkshire list is quite bizarre.

Now, the place will be filled by someone co-opted by the Party Board - essentially meaning members have been denied a choice by those who told them they wanted to be candidates.

It's entirely possible - likely even - that candidates in other regions dropped out due to dissatisfaction, but that it was masked by a reserve being bumped up the list. That there were too many vacancies in Yorkshire for the reserves to make up the numbers is quite shocking.

A quirk of party rules means that if you are standing in the European elections, you cannot also become a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. One can follow the thought process of a candidate who is offered a choice between a no-hope position on the Euro list and a roll of the dice seeking a Parliamentary nomination, but choosing self-interest over the greater good is quite shameful.

Those candidates who have accepted low places on the list should be praised - they will flog around campaigning for the next year with no hope of reward, a great example to rebut the lazy assumption that everyone in politics is out for themselves. They should also be able to stand for Westminster if they so wish, as punishing them for doing the right thing is unfair.

Those candidates who refused to do such essential but unglamorous work should find their search for a nomination elsewhere harder as a result - is there a system to ensure their decision is noted by associations assessing their applications?

The question remains, why were such individuals put forward as candidates in the first place? Honour should be enough to ensure that candidates do not simply bail out when they don't get what they want, but the candidate assessment process should also try to prevent such incidents occurring in the first place.

31 Jul 2013 13:41:35

Selection results published for European election regional lists

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Today the results of the selection ballots for next year's European elections are announced, and candidates learn if they made the list and if so in which position. Our congratulations to those who have succeeded and commiserations to those who did not do as well as they had hoped.

We've been updating the results during the afternoon, and now can confirm that this is the full list:

East of England

1. Vicky Ford MEP

2. Geoffrey Van Orden MEP

3. David Campbell Bannerman MEP

4. John Flack

5. Cllr Tom Hunt

6. Margaret Simons

7. Jonathan Collett

It's interesting to note that while the regional selectoral college denied David Campbell Bannerman the privileged position of a sitting MEP, leaving him to compete with the wider list for his position, he still secured 3rd place - topping the members' ballot. It seems that while local party officials disliked the fact he had defected from UKIP it did him no harm among the membership.

South West

1. Ashley Fox MEP

2. Julie Girling MEP

3. James Cracknell

4. Georgina Butler

5. Sophia Swire

6. Melissa Maynard

London

1. Syed Kamall MEP

2. Charles Tannock MEP

3. Marina Yannakoudakis MEP

4. Caroline Attfield

5. Lynne Hack

6. Sheila Lawlor

7. Glyn Chambers

8. Annesley Abercorn

South East 

1. Daniel Hannan MEP

2. Nirj Deva MEP

3. RIchard Ashworth MEP

4. Marta Andreasen MEP

5. RIchard Robinson

6. Graham Knight

7. Julie Marson

8. George Jeffrey

9. Rory Love

10. Adrian Pepper

As with the East of England, the two MEPs who were stripped of their privileges by the selectoral college - Richard Ashworth and Marta Andreasen - have nonetheless topped the general list, coming in at 3 and 4 on the list respectively.

North West

1. Jacqueline Foster MEP 

2. Sajjad Karim MEP 

3. Kevin Beaty 

4. Deborah Dunleavy 

5. Joe Barker 

6. Daniel Hamilton 

7. Chris Whiteside 

8. James Walsh

North East

1. Martin Callanan MEP

2. Cllr Ben Houchen

3. Andrew Lee

East Midlands

1. Emma McClarkin MEP

2. Andrew Lewer

3. Rupert Matthews

4. Stephen Castens

5. Brendan Clarke-Smith

Wales

1. Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

2. Aled Davies

3. Dr Dan Boucher

4. Richard Hopkin

West Midlands

1. Philip Bradbourne MEP

2. Anthea McIntyre MEP

3. Daniel Dalton

4. Michael Burnett

5. Sibby Buckle

6. David Price

7. Dan Sames

Yorkshire and the Humber

1. Timothy Kirkhope MEP

2. Alex Story

3. John Procter

4. Carolyn Abbott

5. Michael Naughton

6. [To be confirmed]

It is unclear why Number 6 on the Yorkshire list is unfilled - this may be because CCHQ are awaiting confirmation from a candidate that they are willing to accept the position. Certainly in the past some candidates have stepped aside when they have been ranked low down the list, but we do not yet know if this is the case.

Finally we have the Scottish list, which was decided some weeks ago:

Scotland

1. Ian Duncan

2. Belinda Don

3. Nosheena Mobarik

4. Jamie Gardiner

5. Iain McGill

6. Stuart McIntyre

And there we have it, bar the sixth spot in Yorkshire - the full line-up of those who will be standing in next year's European elections.

24 Jul 2013 12:05:33

Sajjad Karim, Tory MEP, labels eurosceptics a "Taliban"

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Sajjad KarimAnnoyingly, the term "Taliban" has gained currency as a vague political insult - often, I suspect, used by those who lack the gumption to call anyone a Nazi. One example of the tendency comes from Vince Cable this morning, discussing the Bank of England.

Another comes from a Conservative MEP - discussing eurosceptic members of his own party.

The Daily Mail reports of Sajjid Karim:

"Writing on Twitter during a debate on Europe, he said: 'It seems the anti-EU taliban find it difficult to accept a different point of view!'

He added: 'The ANTI-EU TALIBAN don't want an informed British public or an informed debate. Bring it on!'"

A lot of Conservatives who would happily describe themselves as anti-EU would be surprised to hear one of the party's elected representatives label them an intolerant "Taliban". It certainly isn't a productive contribution to the debate, or helpful in improving relations between the party and its members.

It is one thing to disagree with people on your own side, and the Tory party is rightly a broad church, but it is quite another to go out of one's way to insult them.

Continue reading "Sajjad Karim, Tory MEP, labels eurosceptics a "Taliban"" »

23 Jul 2013 07:00:54

Full list of would-be MEP candidates in all regions - there's still time to use your vote

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Grassroots

By now, all Conservative party members should have received their ballot papers for the selection of MEP candidates to stand in next year's European Parliament elections. We've covered various of the regional shortlists over the last few weeks, but for the record here is the full list of all the candidates seeking selection.

Each region features two lists. Those sitting MEPs who received more the 60% of the vote in the regional selectoral college automatically go to the top of the list, and members now get to rank them in order. The general shortlist features the candidates who will make up the rest of the party's platform in each region - members vote for a number of them to decide the order in which they will be ranked below the approved MEPs.

It's noteworthy that three sitting MEPs (including both the defectors from UKIP and Richard Ashworth, the delegation leader) failed to secure the approval of the selectoral college, and are thus having to fight it out for a place among the general candidate shortlist. This is a good sign that local members and officials are starting to flex their muscles and become far more demanding when picking candidates to send to Brussels.

North East

Martin Callanan MEP

--

Ben Houchen

Andy Lee

John Sharp

 

North West

Jacqueline Foster MEP

Sajjad Karim MEP

--

Joe Barker

Kevin Beaty

Deborah Dunleavy

Charles Fifield

Daniel Hamilton

Greg Morgan

James Walsh

Chris Whiteside

 

Yorkshire

Timothy Kirkhope MEP

--

Caroline Abbott

Fleur Butler

Michael Naughton

Spencer Pitfield

Karl Poulsen

John Proctor

Alex Story

 

London 

Syed Kamall MEP

Charles Tannock MEP

Marina Yannakoudakis MEP

---

Annesley Abercorn

Caroline Attfield

Glyn Chambers

Lynne Hack

Sheila Lawlor

Warwick Lightfoot

Anthony Samuels

 

South East

Daniel Hannan MEP 

Nirj Deva MEP 

---

Richard Ashworth MEP

Chris Cortes

Tony Devenish

George Jeffrey

Graham Knight

Rory Love

Julie Marson 

Adrian Pepper

Richard Robinson 

(As noted previously, Marta Andreasen MEP is technically eligible to be a candidate on the general shortlist. Howeverm I'm told she hasn't attended at least one of the hustings, suggesting she may be ruling herself out of the running.)

 

South West

Ashley Fox MEP

Juie Girling MEP

---

Georgina Butler

Don Collier

James Cracknell

Melissa Maynard

Virginia Morris

Sophie Swire

 

East of England

Vicky Ford MEP

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP

---

David Campbell Bannerman MEP

Jonathan Collett

John Flack

Cllr Tom Hunt

Gagan Mohindra

Margaret Simons

 

West Midlands

Phil Bradbourn MEP

Anthea McIntyre MEP

---

Susan Arnold

Sibby Buckle

Michael Burnett

Daniel Dalton

Ian Jamie

David Price

Daniel Sames

 

East Midlands

Emma McClarkin MEP

---

Stephen Castens

Brendan Clarke-Smith

Andrew Lewer

Toby Makhzangi

Rupert Matthews

Sudesh Mattu

 

Wales

Kay Swinburne MEP

---

Dan Boucher

Aled Davies

Richard Hopkin

Steve Haggett

 

Scotland

Scotland ranked its candidates by votes at a series of hustings, rather than through the postal ballot process used in the rest of the country. The results of that ranking are:

1. Ian Duncan

2. Belinda Don

3. Nosheena Mobarik

4. Jamie Gardiner

5. Iain McGill

6. Stuart McIntyre

**UPDATE**

If, like me, you haven't received your ballot papers for some reason, you should contact Electoral Reform Services:

On-line voting: Tel: 020 8889 9203 Email: onlinevoting@electoralreform.co.uk
Postal voting: Tel: 020 8889 9203 Email: customerservices@electoralreform.co.uk

15 Jun 2013 15:25:40

MEP candidates and hustings for North East, North West and Yorkshire

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

We now have full shortlists for the European Election lists in the North East, North West and Yorkshire - along with information on the first hustings at which party members can quiz the candidates before ranking them.

Here's a reminder of the selection process: first, the regional selectoral college decide which candidates to shortlist. If MEPs are reselected, they automatically go above the non-MEP candidates on the eventual list, and non-MEP candidates make up the rest of the shortlist. Now that the shortlists are confirmed, party members use postal votes to rank the MEPs and the non-MEPs in the order they will be listed at the election next year.

North East Candidates

Martin Callanan MEP

Ben Houchen

Andy Lee

John Sharp

Yorkshire Candidates

Timothy Kirkhope MEP

Caroline Abbott

Fleur Butler

Michael Naughton

Spencer Pitfield

Karl Poulsen

John Proctor

Alex Story

Yorkshire Hustings:

  • Saturday 15th June: 10am at The Lodge at Leeming Bar, Great North Road, Bedale, DL8 1DT
  • Monday 17th June: 7pm at The Viking Hotel, Western Road, Goole, DN14 6RG
  • Friday 21st June: 7pm at Rio Grande, 144 Woodhead Road, Bradford, BD7 1PH

North West Candidates

Jacqueline Foster MEP

Sajjad Karim MEP

Joe Barker

Kevin Beaty

Deborah Dunleavy

Charles Fifield

Daniel Hamilton

Greg Morgan

James Walsh

Chris Whiteside

North West Hustings: 

  • Lancashire: Monday 17th June: 7pm at Preston North End Football Club, Sir Tom Finney Way, Preston, PR1 6RU
  • Cheshire East: Tuesday 25th June: 7pm at Toft Cricket Club,  Chelford Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8QX 
  • Cheshire West and Cheshire: Thursday 27th June: 7pm at Ellesmere Port Conservative Club, Worcester Walk, off Westminster Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 2ES (satnav postcode CH65 2AA)

NB 1: Charles Fifield and Chris Whiteside did not appear on the original North West list this site was given - this is now the complete list.

NB 2: Some regional hustings may require pre-registration to attend - members are advised to check with constituency chairmen to confirm their attendance.

18 May 2013 16:53:06

Tory MEPs' Leader Richard Ashworth and ex-UKIP defector Marta Andreasen deselected

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter

As if any further proof of grassroots dissatisfaction were needed, I've just been told by two sources that Richard Ashworth MEP - the Leader of the Conservative MEP Group in the European Parliament - and Marta Andreasen MEP - who recently defected from UKIP - have been deselected as candidates for the South East of England in next year's Euro elections.

This is significant not only because it suggests party members are becoming more willing than ever to flex their muscles on what they feel to be substandard representatives, but also because of the people who did the flexing. The regional electoral college is not the full membership of the party, it is their elected representatives - regional and constituency officials, representatives of bodies like the Conservative Women's Organisation and others who can hardly be described as disruptive elements, extremists or, whisper it, "swivel-eyed loons".

So not only will the Conservative MEPs be looking for a new Leader rather soon, the party leadership is in receipt of a rather unequivocal message. If even the reputedly tame electoral college is sacking sitting MEPs and rejecting defectors whom the leadership chose to let into the Conservative fold, they have serious problems.

**UPDATE**

Further to the above, an examination of the bizarre selection rules shows that today's vote - the most severe rebuke the electoral college can give to sitting MEPs - means Ashworth and Andreasen will now go into the general postal ballot of the membership.

As we have covered on ConHome before, the selection process is heavily biased in favour of sitting MEPs. Today's vote means that while Daniel Hannan and Nirj Deva have been reselected as MEPs, and thus have special privileges which put them at the top of the regional list, Andreasen and Ashworth lose those privileges.

Now it is down to the Conservative Party members in the South East to decide where on the list they should be ranked. Towards the top might offer them some chance of being returned as MEPs, anything outside the top two or three at a push would mean almost zero chance of re-election and as the shortlist will contain more names than there are seats, they may be dumped from the list altogether. 

Assuming, of course, that after today's humiliation they decide to continue in the process at all.

16 May 2013 15:15:06

MEP shortlists for the North West and London

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter

Following Scotland's selections last week, the North West and London have now carried out the first stage of selecting candidates for next year's European elections.

Readers may need a reminder of the slightly obscure process: first the regional electoral college choose the shortlist. If sitting MEPs are reapproved at this stage then they automatically go to the top of the list.

After that, the party members in the region rank the remaining candidates in order by postal vote. 

These are therefore the unranked shortlists, and are presented in alphabetical order by surname.

Continue reading "MEP shortlists for the North West and London" »

12 May 2013 08:54:36

MEP selections start with Scotland

The process of selection (or re-selection in many cases) of candidates for the 2014 European Parliament elections has begun. Most constituencies are still going through the first stage, of selecting which candidates will make the list, before going to a full postal ballot of party members to choose the order in which they will be ranked.

Scotland has got in early, though, despite using the more traditional system of numerous hustings around the country. The list is all-new, as the sitting Conservative MEP, Struan Stevenson, intends to step down at the elections.

Continue reading "MEP selections start with Scotland" »

23 May 2012 07:19:30

Would you like to be a Tory MEP? There could be nine vacancies in 2014...

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

Yesterday the Tory list for the next European Parliamentary Elections in 2014 was opened. Please get in touch with the Conservative Party's Candidates Department if you think you'd make a good MEP. There should be a good number of vacancies...

  • Since the last election two MEPs have left the Conservative Party; Edward McMillan-Scott from the Yorkshire region who joined the Liberal Democrats and Roger Helmer from the East Midlands who defected to UKIP.
  • We also had one MEP defect to us; David Campbell Bannerman from UKIP, representing the East of England.

Four MEPs have already announced that they will be retiring:

  • Struan Stevenson (Scotland)
  • Robert Atkins (North West)
  • Giles Chichester (South West)
  • Robert Sturdy (Eastern)

It is very possible that there may be other retirements. Speculation focuses upon Timothy Kirkhope, Malcolm Harbour, James Elles and Geoffrey Van Orden.

This could mean that there will be nine vacancies in the Tory MEP delegation. There are currently 26 Tory MEPs.

It is far from clear that the party will be able to match the top-of-the-poll 27.7% vote share that it won at the last elections in 2009 but the road to the Brussels parliament might be less jammed than the road to the Westminster parliament for Tory candidates. If the boundaries for the House of Commons are changed then there will be fifty fewer MPs and opportunities for people to become candidates in winnable seats will be very limited.

Conservative HQ has yet to decide on how MEP candidates will be selected and ranked. Five years ago the process was shockingly manipulated. Many incumbent MEPs were re-adopted even though they held Europhile views. Hustings were banned in order to minimise the opportunity for Eurosceptic candidates to promote themselves and be selected. Women were ranked higher on MEP lists even if they won fewer votes from members. Turnout figures for the election were suppressed.

If the party doesn't choose candidates this time that are in tune with party and mainstream national opinion on issues like Europe and prisoners' voting rights we will face an uphill struggle against UKIP.