The UK’s registered political party are gearing up to fight elections to the European Parliament in six weeks’ time.
The planning needed to stage the canvas on 23 May is under way, even though Theresa May still hopes the UK will have left the EU by then and they won’t need to happen.
As recently as the end of March, the prime minister said the public would find it “unacceptable” to have to elect a brand-new group of 72 MEPs almost three years after they voted to leave the EU.
But things have changed since then.
Under expressions agreed with EU presidents in Brussels, the UK has been given a Brexit extension until 31 October.
The UK “must hold the elections to the European Parliament” and if it fails to do this, the UK will leave on 1 June without a deal.
Given the political backdrop, they could turn out to be the more controversial and unreliable European elections in UK history.
In short, in something of a hurry.
The defendants have to submit the names of the candidates representing them to the elections watchdog by 25 April or, in the instances of the South West region, 24 hours earlier.
MEPs are elected on a regional roll basis, representing Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and nine English regions, using a organisation of proportional representation.
If you want to know more about the European parliament elections, the UK electoral process and the cost of staging the elections, read our Reality Check guide.
While many Brexiteers are angry about the UK having to participate at all, accepting it is a waste of time and fund, the probability of all types of boycott seems remote.
Many now regard the tally as a proxy referendum on Brexit and the UK’s future in the EU.
UKIP leader Gerard Batten, whose party topped the 2014 ballot, has propelled a crowdfunding safarus and said the party’s letter would be one of “unilateral withdrawal” from the EU and “no surrender”.
Given the lack of time, the selection process is likely to be more truncated than usual.
Labour is affording its existing MEPs preferential treatment by guaranteeing them smudges at the top of each regional candidate index. As it stands, 16 of the 20 Labour MEPs elected in 2014 have applied to stand.
Would-be Conservative campaigners had until Tuesday 9 April to give themselves forward.
The Conservative Home website said it was very unlikely all 18 incumbents would try again as many have been planning for life after Brexit.
It queried whether the party would be able to replenish all 70 places on its respective directories with “candidates’ WhatsApp groups full of jokes about the futility of taking part”.
The current ruler of the Conservative group in the European parliament elections, Ashley Fox, has confirmed he will be taking part and joked about the likely receipt he could get on the doorsteps.
This will be me in 2 weeks epoch https :// t.co/ rZ5klphbHg— Ashley Fox MEP (@ Ashleyfoxmep) April 6, 2019Report
The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party witness the tallies as an opportunity to meet the dispute for continued EU membership, with the Greens vowing to “mobilise one of the strongest pro-EU movements ever”.
How much will the elections rate?
The estimated cost of taking part in European Parliamentary elections has been given as up to PS109m. This is based on the cost in 2014 which was PS108. 7m.
What happened last go?
The political scenery was different the last hour the European elections were held in 2014.
The Conservatives and Lib Dems were reigning in faction and even if they are David Cameron had signalled his desire to hold an EU referendum if he won an overall majority, the prospect still seemed far off.
But, with hindsight, the result could be used to have been harbinger of things to come as UKIP surfaced the ballots for the first ever time, winning practically 27% of the vote and 24 seats.
The party offset its first suitable electoral breakthrough a decade earlier when it earned 15% of the vote and 12 sits in 2004 ‘s polls.
European elections have historically been more fertile subject for anti-establishment parties, which have struggled to translate elects into accommodates in general elections because of the first-past-the-post system.
The Conservative and Labour are understandably apprehensive that this trend will continue if the canvas go ahead.
Will there be any brand-new faces this time?
For the past 20 years, UKIP has been the insurgent party in British politics but now it is facing a challenge from its onetime lead Nigel Farage, who has propelled a competitive attire called the Brexit Party.
Mr Farage, who will be standing as presidential candidates in the South East region, has vowed to “teach the creation a lesson”.
The party, which will propel its campaign on Friday, is situating itself as the real alternative to the Conservatives and Labour which it says have betrayed the 17.4 million people who elected to leave the EU.
There is little beloved lost between Mr Farage and Mr Batten after the latter equipped anti-Islam campaigner Tommy Robinson as an adviser.
There are reports the ex-English Defence League leader could play some sort of capacity in UKIP’s campaign.
Eurosceptic voters are likely to have a plethora of alternative in May’s canvas, with other parties set to stand including Our Commonwealth, an entity worded last year by the short-lived UKIP leader Henry Bolton.
The prospect of a possible realignment is not confined to the right of British politics.
The breakaway Independent Group of former Labour and Tory MPs are hoping to battlefield a significant number of nominees if their application to become a political party is accepted by the Electoral Commission.
They hope to fight the election as Change UK – The Independent Group, on a platform of searching another referendum on the rules of Brexit, with the option to remain.
Interim governor, ex-Tory MP Heidi Allen, has said the poll is a “real opportunity” to build a brand-new political action, hinting the public is crying out “for someone to lead and say we can just stay”.
What will happen after such elections?
How long any UK MEPs get to stay in Brussels and Strasbourg is anyone’s guess at this stage.
The new European Parliament is set to reassemble in early July, and the Brexit extension is due to run up to 31 October.
It is no longer beyond the realms of possible that UK politicians and their staff, who only recently were seeing a future outside the European Parliament, will find themselves there.
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