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MEP Profiles: Outsiders

MEP Profiles: Outsiders

🕔21.May 2014

Having profiled the candidates from the three parties leading the polling let us take a look at some of the notable outsider-chancers – although Liberal Democrats’ egos may be bruised at the thought of being considered as such. But, as they are unlikely to reach even 10% in the polls, they are included here alongside the Green Party who may beat them into 4th and two former UKIP MEPs of note making waves in the region.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

PHIL BENNION

Phil Bennion has sat as a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands since 2012, having replaced Liz Lynne after she stepped down in February 2012. Bennion was second on the party list for the West Midlands constituency at the 2009 European Parliament election, as such, when Lynne stepped down, electoral rules meant that Bennion, as the next Liberal Democrat candidate on the list, took her seat.

A former county chairman of the NFU, he has also worked with Government Offices and the former RDA as well as MEPs and MPs on sustainable farming policies and renewable energy. He served as a councillor on Lichfield District Council from 1999 to 2011, and he has unsuccessfully contested four general elections, including Tamworth in 2005 and Telford in 2010. Bennion advised Charles Kennedy on agricultural issues during his leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

As said, it seems unusual to include the Liberal Democrats as outsiders, but with the party unlikely to poll above 10% in the region, he has a tough contest ahead of him to maintain his seat at the next election. If UKIP gain more than 30% of the vote, he’ll be pushed out altogether.

GREEN PARTY

WILL DUCKWORTH

Dudley Councillor Will Duckworth head’s the Green Party’s list in the region. He is the party’s current deputy leader. The Green Party have a slim chance of getting a MEP. Disillusioned Liberal Democrats may bolster their performance, but as with their yellow equivalents, the Greens must get over 10% if they stand a chance of electing a candidate – which is unlikely.

UKIP SPLINTER GROUPS

MIKE NATTRASS (An Independence from Europe)

A former Chairman and Deputy Leader of UKIP, Mike Nattrass was deselected in August 2013 as a UKIP candidate for the European elections having failed a candidate assessment test. UKIP’s candidate selection process involves a two-hour assessment which includes public speaking, an interview and a written test.

Elected to the European Parliament in 2004, one of 12 seats won by UKIP, with 16.1% of the vote. Nattrass was re-elected in West Midlands June 2009. Nattrass stood in many by elections and general elections representing UKIP, including the May 2008 Crewe and Nantwich by-election and in South Staffordshire at the general election in 2010.

Nattrass formed the An Independence from Europe Party, which opposes the privatisation of public services, in a sense making it the reverse side of the coin from the traditionally ‘Thatherite’ Farage UKIP. Farage has criticised the Electoral Commission, the elections watchdog, for allowing a similar sounding party on the ballot paper in Thursday’s poll.

NIKKI SINCLAIRE (We Demand a Referendum Party)

Former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire was elected MEP in June 2009 as a UK Independence Party candidate but later resigned from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in which UKIP is part of in the European Parliament, citing the alleged extreme right-wing views of some of the group’s members. Subsequently Sinclaire has sat as an Independent MEP from January 2010 until September 2012 when she established the We Demand a Referendum party. Sinclaire gained media attention when she accused UKIP leader Nigel Farage of employing both his wife and his ‘mistress’ using taxpayers’ money.

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