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‘.