The elections that may or may not happen
While all sorts of attention has been given to the splits within the Conservative and Labour parties there has been very little coverage of the fact that UKIP, which won the 2014 UK euro elections, has been totally divided over the past 5 years. Barely a 3rd of 24 UKIP MEPs elected in May 2014 are still within the fold.
One of the defectors, Nigel Farage, was leader in 2014 and has setup his own party with an astute choice of name, the Brexit party.
Now we won’t know for some weeks whether or not the UK will be participating in the May European Parliament elections. If Brexit happens on time on March 29th then clearly it won’t. If there’s a short extension, as Mrs May has indicated then it won’t happen either. But if there is a longer extension agreed then by European law the UK will have to participate in the May elections.
To remind ourselves the format of these elections is unlike anything else within the UK. The country is divided into regions and people vote by marking a box on top of a party list of candidates. So unlike Westminster elections MEPs are not voted for by name. The party choice is everything.
Here there could be a fight for the same segment of the market between the remnants of UKIP and the Brexit party and my guess is that Farage’s grouping could do well.
You could see this being made into a mini referendum on Brexit itself.