I would like to add my congratulations to Jude Kirton Darling and Paul Brannen as they become Labour MEPs – Members of the European Parliament for the North East of England. Five years ago the region elected one Labour MEP, Stephen Hughes, who did a brilliant job for 30 years but has now retired, one Liberal Democrat who also retired this year and one Conservative MEP.
On Sunday the region elected not one but two Labour MEPs and a UKIP representative.
Jude has been knocking on doors with me in Stockton South every single week since before Christmas and in the last few months Paul has been joining her. They have spoken to thousands of local residents so it is great that you rewarded them with your support.
Also standing for Labour, in third place on the list, was Jayne Shotton, she was always facing an uphill battle but has also been very active talking to people across the region about what matters to them.
It will be fascinating to see the differences between two hard working and focussed MEPs fighting our corner in Brussels and Strasbourg on every issue before Parliament and that of the UKIP MEP who if he follows others from his party who have been elected in the past elsewhere in the country, will vote against perfectly sensible measures which would benefit our residents here, just to make a point about UKIP’s contempt for the Parliament.
And sometimes if he follows the record of his leaders, it is quite possible our new UKIP MEP won’t vote at all on things that really matter to us but will choose simply not to turn up.
Did you know that Nigel Farage and his deputy, Paul Nuttall, had the worst attendance ratings of any UK politician in Brussels but still managed to cost the taxpayer over £600,000 each in salary and allowances?
Over the last parliament Mr Farage did not draft or amend a single report and voted just 42 per cent of the time. Mr Nuttall spoke in parliament on average just 10 times a year and asked 24 parliamentary questions.
I know who I would rather see in the Parliament.
For the number crunchers amongst you, these are the results from Stockton Borough, whose votes went into the pile along with the rest of the councils in the NE to provide the results, along with some of the past results.
Share of the vote:
What will happen to the UKIP vote in 12 months time is likely to be determined by a number of factors but it is worth pointing out that the Tories have beaten Labour only once in Stockton in the last four European elections – last time round in 2009 – and that was a year before Mr Wharton went on to win Stockton South for the Tories by a tiny margin, 332 votes. These latest polls don’t look very good for his chances this time.
The Conservative MEP lost his seat and it would be churlish not to thank him for his service, likewise the Liberal Democrat who retired but whose successor failed to hold her seat, thanks to her too for serving our area.
I am really looking forward to working with Jude and Paul over the next five years and ensuring that we in Teesside get at least our share of the money coming into the country, if not more so. I know they care about our area as they have proved it by coming over so often and I know they will fight for our people tooth and nail. They are both very bright, dedicated and professional and will be fantastic in putting Teesside on the European map. I couldn’t be more delighted. Well done to both!