Change UK MEP pulls out of Euro elections; cites concerns over maximising Remain vote

Earlier this month, Change UK / The Independent Group picked up two MEPs, Julie Girling and Richard Ashworth. Both had been Conservative MEPs before losing that party’s whip in a dispute over Brexit.

Now Julie Girling has decided not to run as a Change UK candidate in the European Parliament elections:

I have been following the online debate about how to maximise the “Remain Vote” in the coming European Elections with increasing dismay. I have decided to simplify the decision for the large numbers of constituents who have pledged their support to me personally by not accepting a place on the candidates list for Change UK. I would encourage my supporters to vote for candidates who have a proven record in the European Parliament and represent a party with a clear pro second referendum pledge.

I have been an MEP for 10 years and it has been a great privilege to serve the people of the South West and Gibraltar. I would like to thank you all for your support.

The point about how best to maximise the Remain vote is particularly relevant given the way the d’Hondt form of PR being used in these elections works. In short, it favours larger parties – and so there is the risk that if the Remain vote is split widely amongst several smaller parties, that makes it easier for Hard Brexit supporting MEPs to get elected.

UPDATE: Change UK has now also lost a Euro-candidate after unsavoury comments they made on social media came to light.

A candidate for new centrist party Change UK has been forced to resign the same day as the party’s campaign launch, after he caused a race row with comments about “Romanian pickpockets”.

Ali Sadjady, a former Tory who was standing for the European parliament elections in London, was accused of joining in “hate speech” against EU citizens. [The Independent]

Scratch that, make it two Euro-candidates as another one has now also gone.

UPDATE 2: And now there are other tactical candidate withdrawals in the air.

UPDATE 3: Julie Girling now says, ‘vote Liberal Democrat‘.

12 responses to “Change UK MEP pulls out of Euro elections; cites concerns over maximising Remain vote”

  1. So what is the Lib-Dem policy to maximise the Remain vote? To carry on as though nothing has changed?

    • Peter Lusher April 23, 2019

      The Liberal Democrats approached all other Remain parties to see if some sort of pro-Remain electoral pact could be formed. None of the other parties were prepared to-cooperate, and it was clear that there was widespread misunderstanding of how the electoral system used for the Euro elections works –
      it actually favours larger parties. So the ‘other parties’ are shooting themselves in their feet. It is relevant to point out that the Lib-Dems are fielding over 4,400
      local election candidates on May 2nd, and seem likely to make subsantial gains.

    • No it is to seek to work with the others but they (TIG) are blatantly trying to grab what they think is the “Centre Ground”, when in reality they have no party they have no policies other than Brexit and they are just a bunch of dissatisfied Tories/Labour with little than that in common. Answer your question for you? Good now instead of carping at the LibDems how about working with us to stop Brexit AFTER that you can do what you like I care not a fig. Thanks for continuing to split the Remain vote by the way

  2. A brave decision by Julie Girling, principled and brave. Now we must do her justice and get out the Remain vote!

  3. A senior decision by Julie, on Brexit the national interest trumps everything – we must all pull together to prevent national suicide.

  4. So who the hell is she supporting? I am in Wales, utterly opposed to brexit, but fearing that LD will go nowhere here!

  5. The decision by Change UK not to collaborate or run a common ticket with say the LibDems and the Greens is another example of ego/ambition getting in the way of a common aspiration: a progressive alliance of pro-Remain voters (something that UK politics desperately needs). The pro-Leave vote will by and large gravitate to Farage who has achieved two very clever objectives: he is not the Tories and he is not the ugly racist right. Electoral politics is a game of garnering motivated voters and the anti-Remain mob seem to have done a better job at the moment.

  6. I agree with almost all of these arguments and very much hope someone will explain the particular method of voting (didn’t know its exotic name is d’Hondt….try that one out on Brexiteers, the almost certain beneficiaries) to TIG/ChangeUK leader Heidi Allen, who astonishingly this morning didn’t seem to understand that only one vote per person can be cast in what is essentially a party list PR electoral method .
    No wonder people are worried that a substantial Remain vote may end up splintering in what may turn out to be a three way bet next month.

  7. a pity Julie didn’t publicly join the Liberal Democrats, that would have had a far stronger influence on the voters… still, not too late Julie..!

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