Next week voters in Wales and across the UK are having to go to the polls to elect a new set of MEPs - despite voting to leave the EU in 2016. IAN CRAIG put together this guide to everything you need to know about the election.

When is the vote?

Thursday, May 23. Polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm.

Where can I vote?

The location of your polling station is on your polling card. If you haven’t received one contact your relevant council’s electoral services department.

Who is eligible to vote?

Any British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen living at an address in the UK who is aged 18 or older on polling day can vote, as long as they are on the electoral register. British citizens living abroad but who have been registered to vote in the UK at some point over the past 15 years can also take part. Prison inmates and people convicted of some corrupt or illegal practices are banned from voting.

South Wales Argus:

The chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Can I still register to vote?

Afraid not. If you haven’t registered to vote by now it’s too late.

How many MEPs are we electing?

There are 751 MEPs in total, with the number of members allocated to each member state depending on population. Wales has four, and the UK as a whole has 72 - the joint second highest number with Italy and France. Wales is treated as a region in its own right, meaning the four new MEPs will represent the entire nation. Between 1979 and 1994 Wales was divided into four regions - South East Wales - renamed South Wales East in 1984 - South Wales, Mid and West Wales and North Wales. In 1994 South Wales was divided into two constituencies - South Wales Central and South Wales West. These regions were abolished in 1999, with Wales becoming an entire region in its own right.

The country with the greatest number of MEPs is Germany, which has 99, while Malta has the fewest, at five.

How does voting work?

MEPs are elected on a Proportional Representation closed list system - also known as the D’Hondt method. This means, rather than voting for individual candidates, you vote for the party. Votes are then allocated according. So, once the votes are counted, the first name on the list for the party with the most amount of votes is elected. That party’s vote is then divided in two, and the second MEP is allocated to the party which is now at the top of the list - this may be the same party as the first. This continues for all four Welsh seats - if one party wins more than one seat its vote is divided by the number of seats it has won plus one. So, if a party wins two MEPs its vote is divided by three on the next count. It is possible that all four candidates could represent the same party, although this is statistically unlikely given the way votes are counted.

Although candidates can stand as individuals, all in Wales are running under party banners.

South Wales Argus:

The European Parliament in Strasbourg. Picture: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Who are the candidates?

Change UK - The Independent Group:

  1. Jonathan Owen Jones
  2. June Caris Davies
  3. Matthew Graham Paul
  4. Sally Anne Stephenson


  1. Daniel Stephen Boucher
  2. Craig James Robert Lawton
  3. Fay Alicia Jones
  4. Tomos Dafydd Davies

Green Party:

  1. Anthony David Slaughter
  2. Ian Roy Chandler
  3. Ceri John Davies
  4. Duncan Rees


  1. Jacqueline Margarete Jones
  2. Matthew James Dorrance
  3. Mary Felicity Wimbury
  4. Mark Jeffrey Denley Whitcutt

Liberal Democrats:

  1. Sam Bennett
  2. Donna Louise Lalek
  3. Alistair Ronald Cameron
  4. Andrew John Parkhurst

Plaid Cymru:

  1. Jill Evans
  2. Carman Ria Smith
  3. Patrick Robert Anthony McGuinness
  4. Ioan Rhys Bellin

The Brexit Party:

  1. Nathan Lee Gill
  2. James Freeman Wells
  3. Gethin James
  4. Julie Anne Price


  1. Kristian Philip Hicks
  2. Keith Callum Edwards
  3. Thomas George Harrison
  4. Robert Michael McNeil-Wilson

Who was elected as MEP for Wales in the last European Election?

  • Jill Evans - Plaid Cymru. First elected in 1999, she is standing again this year.
  • Nathan Gill - elected for Ukip in 2014, he later left the party to sit as an Independent. Has since joined the Brexit Party. He is standing again this year.
  • Kay Swinburne - Conservative. First elected in 2009, she is not standing again this year.
  • Derek Vaughan - Labour. First elected in 2009, he is not standing against this year.

South Wales Argus:

Wales MEPs (top, L-R) Nathan Gill, Jill Evans and (bottom, L-R) Kay Swinburne and Derek Vaughan

When will results be declared?

Unlike most other elections, votes are not counted and declared as soon as polls close. As elections are being held in all 28 EU countries, results are not counted until polls in every country have closed.

As a result, results will be counted and declared four days later, on Sunday, May 26. All council areas will count their area’s votes on Sunday evening before sending them to Pembrokeshire County Council, which will collate the results and determine who has been elected to serve as MEP for Wales. The declaration of the winners is expected around midnight. The Argus will be reporting live from the declaration on May 26, so keep an eye on our website for full coverage.

What are polls saying?

The most recent YouGov poll suggested the Brexit Party will win two seats, while Labour and Plaid Cymru will each take one.

Assuming this is correct, Nathan Gill will be re-elected as Brexit Party MEP, while James Wells will join him, poaching the Conservatives’ single seat. Meanwhile, Jacqueline Jones will be elected as MEP for Labour and Plaid Cymru’s Jill Evans will retain her seat.

But a week is a long time in politics.

Why is the election being held? Didn’t we vote to leave the EU?

We did, yes. If the UK had left the EU as planned on March 29 there would have been no need for this election, but part of the agreement Theresa May made with the EU allowing Article 50 to be extended until the end of October was that European Parliament elections would have to be held if we had not left by polling day. And, following continued disagreement over the Brexit deal, earlier this month the government conceded the election would be held.

How long will the new MEPs serve for?

It’s not clear. Assuming the UK wasn’t leaving the EU the new set of MEPs would be in office until the next election in 2024 - but actually they’ll only be there until we’re formally out of Europe. In theory this could mean they’re just there for a few weeks - in reality it’s likely to be longer than that. Whether they’ll still be there at the end of the year remains to be seen.

South Wales Argus:

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani. Picture: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File

What do MEPs actually do?

The role is similar to that of an MP or AM, but on a larger, Europe-wide schedule. The European Parliament meets once a month, while a number of committees develop and scrutinise work between then.

Areas the EU is responsible for include the common market and monetary policy in countries which have adopted the Euro, while it also holds some powers over the environment, agriculture, energy and others.

Powers over all these areas will return to the UK post-Brexit. The Welsh and UK Governments have have come to an agreement through which powers over devolved areas such as the environment will be held by Westminster, but it will not legislate on them.

How much are MEPs paid?

Before tax, an MEP's salary is €8,757.70 - or £7,648.76 - a month.

How much is the election costing the the taxpayer?

Reports vary, but the 2014 European Election cost the UK £109 million. Given inflation over the past five years it seems fair to assume the pricetag will be higher this year.

What if I want to vote by post but something’s gone wrong?

If there’s a problem with your postal vote form, such as the details on it are wrong or you’ve lost it, you can apply for a replacement from your relevant council up until 5pm on polling day. The same applies if your details on the electoral register were wrong or you need to apply for an emergency proxy vote - when you designate someone to vote on your behalf. You may want to do this if, for example, you’re taken ill on polling day and can’t get out to vote.