Three prominent Tory defectors have won ringing endorsements from Liberal Democrat members in the ballot for prospective Euro-candidates. Baroness Nicholson, the former Tory MP Emma Nicholson, topped the poll of the eleven prospective candidates elected for the regional list in the South East. Another ex-Tory MP, Hugh Dykes, gained the number two slot in London, where former Conservative MEP Peter Price was also elected sixth of the ten successful candidates. Two other former MPs were elected to head regional lists, Liz Lynne, former Lib-Dem MP for Rochdale, in the West Midlands and Chris Davies, former Lib-Dem member for Littleborough and Saddleworth, in the North West. David Bellotti, former Lib-Dem MP for Eastbourne, was elected in fourth place in the South East.
Unlike the other parties, Lib-Dem members were given the chance both to vote for their prospective candidates and to determine the order in which they are ranked on the regional lists. 27,922 members in England took part, 37.6% of those eligible to vote. In order to ensure gender equality, members voted for two lists, one of men and one of women, and the lists were then “zipped” together, so that men and women alternated. Ballots for Scotland and Wales will follow later in the year.
Nick Harvey MP, who is Chair of the party’s Campaigns and Communications Committee, said, “These results show that the Liberal Democrats are raring to go into the European elections. The turnout for this ballot surpassed all our expectations, and our members have elected an all-star cast. We are the only party with a genuinely democratic system for selecting our prospective Euro-candidates, and this election shows that we are in top fighting form for next year’s contest.”
The full results were as follows: