Tag Archives: elections

  • Courtesy Flickr

    May is trying to pre-empt Brexit difficulties – it could backfire!

    Theresa May has sprung an early election, breaking her earlier pledges not to, for three reasons: She knows the Brexit negotiations will very quickly cause her problems, as the unpalatable choices she has to make will alienate many voters and elements in her party – better to have the election before that begins to bite! […]

  • courtesy Wikimedia

    Antonio Tajani elected

    Antonio Tajani of the European People’s Party (EPP, aka Christian Democrats) has been elected as the new President of European Parliament, beating Gianni Pittella, candidate of the centre left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) in the fourth and final ballot. Tajani has been an MEP and a European Commissioner. He is also a staunch Berlusconi supporter. […]

  • courtesy Public Domain Pictures

    Update from USA

    I just spent four days in Washington and Virginia ahead of the US presidential election, meeting congressional staffers, party officials, diplomats, think tanks, journalists and ordinary people. After the latest events, the presidential race looks uncomfortably close. There is even a small chance that there will be no overall majority in the electoral college (in […]

  • EU referendum: who gets to vote?

    Two thirds of the way into her speech at the State Opening of Parliament this afternoon, the Queen announced what we’ve all been expecting: “My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all Member States. Alongside this, early legislation will […]

  • courtesy DFID via Flickr

    An open letter to David Cameron

    British Influence have today published my open letter to David Cameron. The full text is below. Dear Prime Minister, Firstly, congratulations on your election result. Your majority is thin, and your government will be fragile — but it is a government nonetheless. In the course of winning power, you have committed us all to a […]

  • courtesy Russavia via Wikimedia Commons

    Cameron’s difficulties start now

    There will be no honeymoon for our returning Prime Minister. He can savour his moment of triumph, but governing over the next five years with such a slim majority — the smallest of any incoming Conservative PM since the 1840s — will leave him in hock to even the smallest of rebellions on his backbenches, […]

  • Le Bar de l'Europe

    At le Bar de l’Europe

    An extended, light-hearted interview for French TV about British attitudes to Europe. It’s in French, so I’ve also provided an English transcript.

  • Catalan TV screengrab

    Commenting on Brexit for Catalan TV

    I spoke to the Catalan channel Televisió 3 about possible outcomes of the UK general election, including the threat of a British exit from the EU, opposite ‘el conservador Daniel Hannan’.

  • Conservative poster

    A few manifesto oddities

    Business for New Europe, a campaign group which represents the voice of UK business on EU-related issues, is circulating an excellent graphic comparing key points on Europe from the manifestos of the main parties plus UKIP. Seeing everything laid out side-by-side highlights a few oddities which I couldn’t resist highlighting. So here’s my annotated version! […]

  • Photo via Number 10

    Tories on Europe: a detailed analysis

    I wrote a piece on Monday looking at Labour’s manifesto commitments on Europe. Now it’s the turn of the Conservatives to come under the microscope. Rather than putting words into David Cameron’s mouth, I thought I’d let him speak for himself — and add my notes and observations as we go along. The Tory manifesto […]

  • Photo from the Guardian

    Labour in Europe: positive and constructive

    With our manifesto launch today, Labour continues to prioritise a positive and constructive position on our membership of the European Union. Labour believes that our membership of the European Union is central to our prosperity and security. It is why we will work to change the EU, so that it operates in the best interests […]

  • courtesy Wikimedia

    Seven tips for seven leaders

    In case you had any doubts that Europe would be a key battleground in this general election, the last few days has scuppered those doubts once and for all. Labour’s lead on day one was a heartfelt pro-European message about the importance of our EU membership to British prosperity, a bold start which prompted defensive […]

  • Voter registration: use it or lose it

    As the old adage goes: decisions are made by those who show up. Sadly though, many people in the UK are unaware that in order to show up to vote on the big day, you first must be entered into the electoral register. National Voter Registration Day (5 February) has thus been created as a […]

  • Setting the record straight on hearings

    It’s great that there’s been some media interest — even in the UK — in the cross-examinations of candidate European commissioners which are happening this week and next in the European Parliament. Among a lot of surprisingly accurate coverage, one less plausible claim is also rearing its head. This is the suggestion that these hearings […]

  • Image by Karl and Ali http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/37389

    Stirring up nationalism

    Despite the No vote, the Scottish referendum shows just how powerful a force nationalism remains. The big challenges facing mankind — peace, climate change, prosperity, social justice — are not going to be solved more easily by having more states. And solving them might possibly be made more difficult. High turnouts are always to be […]

  • Strasbourg hemicycle

    A fair share of MEPs

    One interesting issue that I didn’t mention in my discussion of the outvoting debate a couple of days ago is the question of the ratio of MEPs to population for each country. The Telegraph seems to be suggesting that there’s a problem: Britain has around ten per cent of the seats in Brussels, and is […]

  • Photo by Nikita via Flickr

    Welcome back to the playground

    The arrival of new and old MEPs in Strasbourg for the first European Parliament session has been described as feeling like the first week of a new school year — with new pupils (sorry, Members) getting lost, sorting out who gets which room (sorry, office), finding out who will be in which class (sorry, committee) […]

  • courtesy EPP via Wikimedia

    Juncker for Europe?

    Some people have expressed surprise about Labour’s reluctance to endorse Juncker as the new president of the European Commission, not least given my criticisms of how Cameron has handled the issue. But Labour MEPs are hardly likely to rush to support the candidate of the centre-right. The candidate of Merkel, Rajoy and other conservative Prime […]

  • courtesy secretlondon123 via Flickr

    Some thoughts on the election results

    Thanks to all those who sent such kind messages following my election to the European Parliament. I’m sorry not to be able to reply individually to so many hundreds of messages, emails, tweets, texts, posts, and more. Although I’m delighted to have won my seat back from the BNP, it’s disappointing that we so narrowly […]

  • Richard speaking at European Public Affairs Action Day 2014

    Labour advances, sends Richard Corbett back to European Parliament

    Tonight saw the Labour Party bolster its influence in the European Parliament, winning new seats in many of the UK’s regions, including Yorkshire and the Humber — which re-elected Richard Corbett. UKIP managed little more than to add to the previous BNP votes to their 2009 results along with support from disgruntled Conservatives (UKIP + BNP in […]

  • courtesy Bryantbob via Wikimedia

    Guardian super-poll predicts three-way tie

    The Guardian has taken a stab at the notoriously difficult task of predicting the outcome of European elections on Thursday, seat by seat, using a combination of recent national polls and including an attempt to model regional differences. In my region of Yorkshire & Humber, the poll implies a three-way tie between Labour (2 seats), […]

  • credit Brian McNeil via Wikimedia

    UKIP — you couldn’t make it up

    Quite apart from their policy embarrassments and the disingenuous attempts of their leader to paint himself as some kind of anti-establishment everyman, UKIP faces embarrassment after embarassment from its members, candidates and leadership. Here’s just a summary from the recent few days, with links to further reading: In a ‘cash for seats’ scandal, UKIP MEPs and candidates in […]

  • Last Orders election special

    Last Orders election special

    Last night, I appeared alongside Conservative, Lib Dem and UKIP candidates on ITV Yorkshire’s late-night politics show, Last Orders. You can watch the video here.

  • →Labour International

    Labour International, the international section of the British Labour party, has relaunched its website and is leading with an editorial I wrote about what’s at stake in the upcoming European elections: It is important for the future of Britain that the largest party in this election should be a pro-European one: Labour. The alternative — a UKIP victory — would be a huge boost […]

  • Want credible representation? Vote Labour

    If recent polling is to be believed, Labour stand to be the only party that’s in a credible position to represent British interests in the European Parliament. Besides being the party with the most sensible policies (stay inside the EU, but improve, change and reform it), over the next five years Labour is likely to be the only one […]

  • Turnout

    Turnout in European elections has become an issue, with commentators focusing on its lower level than national elections and its downward trend over the years. Of course, a higher turnout is always better. But actually, it’s normal that European elections should have a lower turnout. After all, most political issues are decided by our national parliament, not […]

  • UKIP: not such a surge?

    Whether it’s a blip or not, UKIP’s surge in the opinion polls should be looked at in a wider context: the combined far-right vote. In the last European election, UKIP and the BNP together got nearly 23%. The BNP’s subsequent collapse, with its voters mostly switching to UKIP, means that UKIP’s starting point in this election […]

  • University of York

    Hustings at the University of York

    Nearly 150 students came to the hustings with candidates from five parties at the University of York yesterday. In their show of hands afterwards, I was chuffed that more said they would vote Labour than for any other party. The debate was good. It was especially notable for Conservative MEP Tim Kirkhope turning his fire […]

  • A two-horse race?

    Is the election turning into a two horse race between Labour and UKIP? I certainly get that impression when out campaigning in some areas. Which makes for a clear dividing line explainable in one sentence. Leaving the EU risks economic catastrophe — better to reform, change and improve the EU from inside.

  • At a Northallerton food bank

    Cost-of-living crisis hits North Yorkshire

    Even in apparently prosperous Northallerton, there is now a food bank helping people who are unable to always afford food for their families. The cost-of-living crisis means that not only the homeless and the unemployed, but even people in work are finding it difficult if they are on the minimum wage, as so many are. […]

  • Members of the Motorcycle Action Group

    Motorcycle hustings

    On Saturday night, I participated in a lively and informative hustings — with candidates from five different parties — organised by the Motorcycle Action Group’s Yorkshire region. Labour’s Members of the European Parliament have always had good links with MAG and, we like to think, an understanding of their concerns, ever since one of our MEPs, Roger […]

  • Choosing the Commission president

    One of the innovations of this European election is that the major political party groupings in Europe have each announced in advance of the elections who their preferred candidate is for the next President of the European Commission. This has been encouraged by the latest set of reforms to the EU democratic system. These mean that, […]

  • →Channel 4 debate

    I appeared on Channel 4 news last night, debating with the Earl of Dartmouth over UKIP’s anti-immigration fear tactics.

  • Voters trust Labour on Europe: poll

    An interesting ICM double opinion poll was published yesterday with voting intentions for both the national and European elections. The differences between the two are instructive. Given the proportional system used for voting in the European elections, it’s not surprising that smaller parties score more highly there. Conversely, the main parties logically have a lower score. But here’s the thing: […]

  • Talking to voters in Beverley

    Reflections on Yorkshire & Humber

    Campaigning over the last few days has reminded me of how wonderfully varied Yorkshire & the Humber actually is. This weekend, from Bradford to Beverley, from Hull to Holmfirth, from Selby to Shipley, and from York to Yeadon, is itself an illustration. Add recent days from Scarborough to Skipton, Wortley to Wakefield, Barnsley to Bramley […]

  • Campaigning in Hull

    Beverley, Hull

    After the gifts given by Nick Clegg and Maria Miller to UKIP last week, I was half-expecting more UKIP support when I was campaigning in Beverley and in Hull today. In fact, there seemed to be very little. By contrast, large UKIP billboards are appearing in fields and (not always legally) on public ground, financed […]

  • Campaigning in Farsley

    Guiseley, Menston, Farley

    Another day of Labour doorstepping with local candidates and party activists — this time in Guiseley, Menston and Farley in the Pudsey constituency. Our prospective candidate for Westminster next year, the excellent and hard-working Jamie Hanley, joined me and a team of local activists, including local election candidate David Bowe, a former colleague of mine […]

  • Campaigning in Outwood

    Morley, Outwood

    Morning in Morley, first at a Co-op open meeting with Ed Balls, taking questions from the public, followed by a leafleting round with a huge team of supporters. Then, after enjoying Ed’s delicious lasagne for lunch, a further round of leafleting in Outwood. Altogether, 10,000 letters delivered to households in the area. Anyone in political life […]

  • Clegg v Farage, round 2

    This evening sees the second installment of Nick Clegg’s debate with Nigel Farage on the subject of Europe. Once again, I’ll be live-tweeting the debate as it happens. You can follow my tweets on Twitter, or follow the hashtag #europedebate for the whole conversation. There’s been an interesting discussion since last week’s radio debate on whether […]

  • Clegg v Farage, round 1

    How will Clegg fare against Farage today? Attention to detail on European matters has never been Clegg’s strongpoint, and Farage will throw loads of clichés at him which need sound factual knowledge to rebut. If he can do so, fine (though he will also start with the handicap of his unpopular coalition tag). Farage is […]

  • Cooperative conference

    Horsforth, Scarborough

    I spent the morning on the doorsteps of Horsforth, with Mary Creagh MP, prospective MP candidate Alex Sobel, and over a dozen party members. Then I made my way to Scarborough for the Yorkshire & Humber Cooperative Party conference on the subject of speaking up for the North. There was an excellent analytical speech by […]

  • Leeds, Hull

    A hectic mixture of speaking engagements today. First a hustings debate with candidates from other parties (Conservative, Lib Dem, Greens, and a no-show from UKIP) at Leeds Trinity University with their journalism students. They cast votes in a ballot box after the debate, and I was delighted to see the result: LAB 25, CON 6, […]

  • York Older People's Assembly

    York

    Nice afternoon debating at the York Older People’s Assembly with Green, Lib Dem, and UKIP candidates. The Tories didn’t show up. Another puzzling feature was that, although the lead UKIP candidate for Yorkshire & Humber (a certain J Collins) was in the room, she was replaced for the debate by Roger Helmer, an East Midland […]

  • Campaigning in Yeadon

    Otley, Yeadon

    Sunday lunch was with Labour members in Otley, the lovely market town north of Leeds, with a delicious array of dishes and desserts made by different members. The previous evening, some members had been celebrating at the 70th birthday party of Councillor Pamela Gill, Town Mayor of Otley and a stalwart party member — but […]

  • USDAW meeting

    Skipton, York, Barnsley

    Morning in Skipton at an open public meeting at the Herriot Hotel, where I had great support from the Labour members of the audience. But I hope I even convinced the Tories there to support Labour in the European elections. Pro-European Tories are distressed at the eurosceptic obsession of their party, and they know that […]

  • Shipley, Windhill & Wrose

    Fascinating meeting of Shipley, Windhill and Wrose Labour Party branches, discussing Europe even before I arrived! This, of course, because of the speech by Ed Miliband clarifying Labour’s position on an EU referendum. There was much support for his position ruling out such a referendum in current circumstances. If anything, members seemed to wish that […]

  • Guiseley

    Good meeting in Guiseley with members of the local Labour Party including former MP Paul Truswell and former MEP David Bowe. One member gave an amusing account of how he had been in his local pub when several UKIPers came in, with rosettes and balloons, for what they said was their inaugural event in the […]

  • Supporting fair trade

    Shipley, Hull, Wath-upon-Dearne, Wakefield

    Just had a good couple of days of meeting people to talk about Europe, and what’s at stake in the elections. I dropped into the event organised in Wakefield by the excellent Linda McAvan MEP to mark International Women’s Day, at which Labour’s leader in the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott, also spoke. Its remit was […]

  • Chairing the Colne Valley Europe quiz

    Colne Valley

    Great quiz night at Colne Valley Labour Party, thanks to a mammoth quiz prepared by Pat Colling. Questions ranged from European history to the Eurovision Song Contest via fashion, flags, geography, the EU itself, and… famous mistresses of monarchs and politicians! It was lovely to see old friends and new members as well as the […]

  • Leeds, Beeston and Holbeck

    Nice to have afternoon tea in Leeds and to chat with members of the European Movement from Yorkshire & Humber. Then off to Beeston to meet Labour party members and councillors from Beeston and Holbeck. Besides discussing practicalities of the election campaign, there was intense debate about Ukraine and what can be done about it. […]

  • Richard on Newsnight

    Things are starting to hot up

    With just twelve weeks to go to polling day, now’s the time to start a campaign blog. In this blog, I’ll recount my campaigning activities and address issues I’ve encountered both on the doorstep and in public meetings. Things are indeed beginning to hot up. This weekend was the congress of the Party of European […]