European elections: Who should I vote for if I’m a Remainer or a Leaver?

Who should you vote for in the European elections? (Picture: Getty)

The UK is going back to the ballot box - again - with the European elections taking place on Thursday.

But the spectre of Brexit means many people might be looking at voting for a different party to the one they usually support.

Tory peer Lord Heseltine is one person who has said he will go against his usual party politics, saying he will vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections because of the Government’s Brexit policy.

The former deputy Prime Minister is unlikely to be the only one. So who should you vote for in Thursday’s elections?

The major parties and their stance


What do the Conservatives want out of Brexit? (Picture: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool)

It’s no secret that the Conservatives are divided in their Brexit stance, but Theresa May has made it clear that she will not support a no-deal Brexit.

The party hasn’t published a manifesto for the EU elections, though it has issued a campaign leaflet which says it’s the “only party which can get Brexit done”.

The PM is keen to get her own deal through Parliament, which would lead to withdrawal from both the customs union and single market following a two-year transitional period.

The Conservatives are against a second referendum and want to get a deal through Parliament before MEPs would sit in the European Parliament in July.


Labour wants to leave but to retain a closer relationship with the EU (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Labour’s position is to honour the result of the EU referendum and to leave Europe, but it wants the UK to stay in a permanent customs union.

Its preferred deal would see a closer relationship with Europe including the protection of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

The party has agreed to keep the option of a second referendum open but the leadership has avoided backing such a move.

Labour’s manifesto says it is the "only party trying to bring our country back together" and that its policies will "transform Britain and Europe, for the many not the few".

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a second referendum (Picture: AP/Matt Dunham)

The Liberal Democrats have positioned themselves as the ‘stop Brexit’ party - aligning themselves with Remainers.

The party named its EU proposals the “stop Brexit manifesto” and supports a public vote on the proposed Brexit deal, including the option of remaining in the EU.

“Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit and stay in the European Union,” it says.

The Lib Dems also want to make EU institutions more democratic and efficient, with greater transparency on negotiations and voting and says it will reform the Common Agricultural Policy and defend Britain's fishing industry.

The party has also pledged to create an "emergency Brexit Support Fund" of more than £7.5 billion to support businesses affected by Brexit uncertainty.

The Brexit Party

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party's stance on the issue is clear (Picture: AP/Frank Augstein)

The Brexit Party’s stance on the issue is clear.

Nigel Farage has said that a vote for his newly-formed party is a vote in favour of a no-deal Brexit, effectively on WTO terms.

The party hasn’t published a European manifesto for the elections and has said it will not until after the elections, but is clearly the party of choice for those who want an immediate departure from the EU.

Change UK

Change UK interim leader Heidi Allen speaks during a pro EU-party Change UK rally at Church House in Westminster, London in April (Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP)

Recently-formed Change UK, whose members include Heidi Allen and Chukka Umunna, has positioned itself as a pro-Remain party.

The party’s manifesto says staying in the EU is the only way for Britain to remain prosperous and healthy, and its MPs are also campaigning for a 'People's Vote' - a second referendum on any Brexit deal.


UKIP is campaigning under the banner: "Vote UKIP: Vote to make Brexit happen." (Picture: AP/Matt Dunham)

Nigel Farage’s former party has maintained its approach to Brexit, campaigning under the banner: "Vote UKIP: Vote to make Brexit happen."

The party's manifesto claims Brexit is being "betrayed by the political class in Westminster" and pledges to block a second referendum so the 2016 result can be "honoured and implemented".

The party wants the UK to adopt a "unilateral and unconditional withdrawal" from the EU and has also vowed to "repeal or amend EU derived legislation".

The Green Party

Newly appointed joint Green Party leaders, Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley outside their party's headquarters in south east London following the Green Party leadership election result (Picture: PA)

The Green Party has said that a vote for them would be a vote to “Remain in the EU, backing a second referendum.

The party said its MEPs will also tackle the causes of Brexit in their communities to make sure a similar result doesn’t happen again.

What else do you need to know about the EU elections?

Which region are you in?

The constituencies for the European elections are different to UK general elections (Picture: European Parliament)

Your constituency for UK general elections is different to that for the European elections.

For the EU vote, there are only 12 constituencies in the UK compared to 650 for the general election.

These are:-

  • East Midlands (five MEP seats)

  • East of England (seven)

  • London (eight)

  • North East (three)

  • North West (eight)

  • Northern Ireland (three)

  • Scotland (six)

  • South East (10)

  • South West (six)

  • Wales (four)

  • West Midlands (seven)

  • Yorkshire and the Humber (six)

How many people are likely to vote?

While European elections may not have garnered huge interest in the past, Thursday’s vote is expected to attract a large UK turnout.

Many see the election as an opportunity to see exactly how strong feeling is about the UK’s departure from the EU, hence parties aligning themselves to leave or remain.

For young voters, it’s the chance to have their own say on Brexit, especially if they were too young to vote in the 2016 EU referendum.

When will we know the result?

Results of the elections can be officially declared on Sunday, May 26 from 10pm onwards.

In most areas, votes are likely to have been counted earlier in the day and the results passed to one of the regional declaration centres.

That said, we’re unlikely to know results until the early hours of Monday morning.

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