Tuesday 28 May 2019

European Parliamentary Election 2019 ~ Facts

The European Parliamentary Elections were held throughout the European Union over 23-26 May 2019.  The UK election was on 23 May.  The Parliament has 751 seats and the UK allocation is 73.

The powers of the European Parliament's powers derive from Articles 223 to 234 and 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

After the elections one of the first tasks of an incoming Parliament is to elect a new President of the European Commission (the EU’s executive body).  Member states nominate a candidate for the post, but in doing so they must take account of the European election results.  Moreover, Parliament needs to approve the new Commission President by an absolute majority (half of the existing MEPs plus one). - see How are the Commission President and Commissioners appointed.

The overall voting turnout in the EU
was 50.94% - an increase from the 42.61% in 2014.  In the UK the turnout was a low 36.9%.  Voter turnout per member state may be seen at UK Political Info.

The recently formed Brexit Party obtained a 31.6% share of the UK vote and won 29 seats.  The Liberal Democrats had a 20.3% share and 16 seats.  Labour came third with a 14.1% share and 10 seats.  The Greens in 4th place had 12.09% and 7 seats.  The Conservative Party, in 5th place, obtained 9.09% of the vote and won only 4 seats, a loss of 15 from 2014.

The overall results are shown at European Parliament News and the UK results are shown at BBC News European Elections 2019.


Scotland returns 6 of the UK's 73 MEP - see Elections Scotland.  The Scottish National Party won 3 and one seat each went to the Brexit Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

Northern Ireland:

Northern Ireland returns 3 of the UK's 73 MEP.  One seat each for the Alliance Party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin - BBC News Northern Ireland.


Wales has 4 of the UK's 73 seats.  Two went to the Brexit Party and one each to Labour and Plaid Cymru - Wales Online.

Prime Minister:

On 24 May Theresa May announced that she would resign as Conservative Party Leader on 7 June 2019.  The Conservative Party will elect a new leader.  There will be change of Prime Minister once that new leader has been chosen.  The candidates - as at 28 May - are listed here.

Mrs May said, "I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions, and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded."

That reflects the constitutional position that HM The Queen appoints the Prime Minister to lead HM Government though the actual choice is governed by constitutional conventions.

General Election:

The Conservative Party currently holds 313 of the 650 House of Commons seats - State of the Parties and the government has been supported in a "confidence and supply" arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which holds 10 seats.    The agreement is described HERE.  Given that Conservative Party leadership will now change, it remains to be seen what will happen regarding this agreement.

It has not proved politically possible to get the House of Commons to vote in favour of the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement and the Agreement may not be ratified without a favourable resolution of the House - European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 section 13.  Furthermore, the government has planned to introduce legislation to  implement in national law the details of the Withdrawal Agreement - Institute for Government - The Withdrawal Agreement Bill.  If the WA is not ratified then the default position is that the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019 without a withdrawal agreement in place - (a 'no deal' Brexit).

The next General Election in the UK is scheduled to be held on 5 May 2022.  The law governing when general elections can be held is in the Fixed-term (Parliaments) Act 2011.  Given the State of Parties in the Commons and the major difficulties over Brexit it seems unlikely that a general election will be deferred until that date.  An earlier election is permissible as provided by the Act.  There are two routes to an early elections:

1.  The House of Commons votes to hold one - (the number of members who vote in favour must be  equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the House - including vacant seats

2.  If the government loses a vote of no confidence by a simple majority and a new government is not formed within 14 days.

Previous Post:

Law and Lawyers 18 April 2019


Initially, it was not intended to hold European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom, as Brexit (following the 2016 referendum) was set for 29 March 2019. However, at the European summit on 11 April 2019 the British government and the European Council agreed to delay British withdrawal until 31 October 2019. While it was then the default position in UK and EU law for the election to take place, the UK Government continued attempts to avoid participation by agreeing on withdrawal before 23 May.[ On 7 May 2019, the UK government conceded that the elections would go ahead.

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