• STV
  • MySTV

Ponsonby: All your questions answered on the European elections

Here's everything you need to know before going to the polls next Thursday.

EU and UK

Why are they being held if the UK is leaving the EU?

As we have not yet left the European Union decisions will continue to be made that will affect the lives of UK citizens.

The elections facilitate the legal requirement that all member states have to be represented in the European Parliament.

How important are they for the Brexit process?

Depending on the result, the decibel level around the great Brexit divide is likely to increase. In one sense though they could have little impact.

Why? Elected members of the European Parliament are not the key drivers of Brexit - that remains the role of members of the UK Parliament. The European poll will not alter the arithmetic in the House of Commons.

What do the polls suggest will happen in the UK?

Polls suggest the Conservatives could get their lowest share of the vote ever. Labour look as if they will be doubly squeezed by both remain and leave voters unhappy with the party's position.

The Brexit Party look set for an impressive performance which will be interpreted as an indication of the frustration of leave voters.

In Scotland, the SNP are likely to win the largest share of the vote in a move that will continue to polarise the position of the UK and Scottish governments.

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is expected to perform well.
Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is expected to perform well. ITV

Will this poll be different from past Euro elections?

Given the backdrop to these elections, it is likely that turnout will be higher than usual.

Previous elections suggest voters have little interest in Europe. The highest ever turnout was in 2004 when 38.5% of voters exercised their democratic right. In 1999, turnout dropped to 24%.

In the eight elections since the first direct elections in 1979, turnout has hovered around 35%.

Look out for a record poll next Thursday.

Will the result alter the thinking of the Prime Minister?

It is unlikely that Mrs May will change course. She will still argue that her deal is the only show in town. The result, however, is likely to see further calls for her to resign. It will also underline the urgency of the Commons agreeing a deal.

The already fractious atmosphere is unlikely to improve and it will still beg the questions- Do MPs back her deal? Do they materially change her red lines? Or do they opt for a second referendum to break the expected log jam?

Theresa May isn't expected to change course on Brexit after the poll.
Theresa May isn't expected to change course on Brexit after the poll.

Will there be a Scottish dimension to the poll?

The poll will be intriguing here. It might confirm the heavy support for a Remain position and it might also bolster the Scottish Government's case against Brexit.

It will have implications for domestic politics too. Will Scottish Labour come third again in a national poll? Will they lose one of their two seats?

At the moment Scotland has six MEPs: two SNP, two Labour, one Conservative and one UKIP.

Support for a Remain position could express itself in a high vote for the SNP, a much better vote for the Liberal Democrats or a breakthrough for Change UK.

The Scottish Conservatives might not be squeezed to the extent of the party in England and Wales, perhaps, because their hard-line position against another independence referendum plays well with a significant section of voters.

Alyn Smith has represented the SNP in the European Parliament.
Alyn Smith has represented the SNP in the European Parliament. APTN

What is likely to happen elsewhere in the EU?

Opinions polls and political intelligence in the other member states suggests that the major two blocks in the European Parliament will lose out at the expense of parties making solid progress within their states often basing their pitch on anti-immigration messages.

Both the centre-right European People's Party and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats are predicted to lose ground.

It is likely that the new European Parliament will be less friendly towards the idea of further political and economic integration although it's far from clear if the predicted results will lead to Brexit-style demands in other member states.

Why should I bother voting?

There is little doubt that there is huge frustration on both sides of the Brexit argument. Leave voters are angry that Brexit hasn't happened. Concerned that it will be a disaster, Remain voters are frustrated that the campaign for a second referendum has been unable to command a Commons majority.

The two largest UK parties are split and both the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition are regarded by many MPs as lacking the leadership skills necessary to break the impasse.

Two radio vox pops I heard sum up a common feeling. One woman said she was "scunnered" with everyone. Another man ventured the view that voting is a precious right and should always be used.

How long will the elected MEPs serve?

That depends when we leave the EU.

Once we cease to be members, parliamentary representation will cease too.

Will we definitely leave the European Union as planned in October?

Only if the House of Commons agree the terms of the Prime Minister's deal or a refined version of it is agreed and backed by the other 27 member states.

If there continues to be paralysis in the Commons the options would appear to be to leave with no deal, revoke the Article 50 process or hand the issue back to the people in another referendum.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.