North-east residents are set to go to the polls to select new Members of the European Parliament. Here’s what you need to know at the election.
Where to vote
Voters will be able to visit their usual polling stations, which are dotted across the north-east in churches and other community buildings, between the hours of 7am and 10pm tomorrow.
Who is standing?
Each of the major parties is fielding six candidates in Scotland, which is being treated as a region of the UK for the purposes of this election.
The SNP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have registered candidates, as well as the Green Party and UKIP.
Relative newcomers Change UK, created from the parliamentary Independent Group of former Labour and Tory MPs who left their respective parties earlier this year, and the Brexit Party, set up by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, will also be looking to make their mark on their first election campaign.
What do they stand for?
- SNP – Anti-Brexit, anti-austerity, pro-Scottish Independence. Current Aberdeen City councillor Christian Allard is among the party’s candidates.
- Labour – Torn over thoughts on Brexit. Some party members would like to see it move forward, others would like to stop it, and a further group would like a second referendum. Aberdeen-based activist Callum O’Dwyer is fifth on the list of Labour candidates.
- Conservative – Largely pro-Brexit, the party didn’t want to fight the election in the first place and thus never released an EU manifesto. One of the party’s candidates is city centre community councillor Michael Kusznir.
- Liberal Democrats –Vehemently anti-Brexit, and would like to see a second referendum on the terms of any future agreement with the European Union, with an option to stop the UK leaving.
- Green Party – Environmentalists, who oppose leaving the European Union, Aberdeen University rector and Greens co-convener in Scotland Maggie Chapman has been chosen as the party’s lead candidate in the region.
- Change UK – The newly-minted breakaway party formed by ex-Tory and Labour MPs will face its first electoral test, standing on a “remain and reform” platform which will see the UK stay in the EU but enact changes.
- Brexit Party – Nigel Farage’s newest political venture believes their MEPs should be part of future Brexit negotiations in an effort to protect the 17.4 million leave voters from a “dodgy May/Corbyn Brexit deal” according to a pledge card it released.
- UKIP – A party which has shifted further to the right since Farage’s departure, bringing in “alt-right” figures such as EDL founder Tommy Robinson and controversial internet personalities Carl Benjamin and Mark Meechan. UKIP stands for fighting for Brexit, as well as standing against “political correctness and for free speech”.
In the UK, the voting method used is named the D’Hondt method, which is a form of proportional representation.
Under this method, parties rank candidates in descending order, and voters select a party as opposed to an individual.
The person at the top of the list of the party with the most votes is then elected to that seat.
In the second round, the party with the most votes has its tally cut in half and the number one candidate for the party with the most votes after that is selected.
For the third round, the total votes for the leading party are divided by the number of seats already won plus one, until all seats are allocated.
When will we find out?
Votes will be kept under lock and key between 10pm on Thursday and 6pm on Sunday, when the count at the AECC will begin.
Some EU countries hold elections on a Sunday, meaning the rest of the continent must wait for all votes to be cast before the count can start.
A result is expected after 10pm on Sunday.
What does this mean for Brexit?
Surprisingly, not a great deal. Despite most parties running on heavily pro or anti-Brexit-based manifestos and platforms, the Tory-led UK Government remains responsible for the negotiation of the Brexit deal.
Some parties claim a good showing in this poll would show support for their take on Brexit, but the reality is a win in this election won’t give any one party a direct mandate to impact the Government and its dealings with the European Union.