European Parliament election, 1999 (United Kingdom)

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United Kingdom European Parliament election, 1999
United Kingdom
1994 ←
members
10 June 1999
Members elected
→ 2004
members

All 87 seats of the United Kingdom's seats
in the European Parliament
Turnout 24%[1]
  First party Second party Third party
  William Hague 2010.jpg Tony Blair.JPG ASHDOWN Paddy.jpg
Leader William Hague Tony Blair Paddy Ashdown
Party Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat
Alliance EPP–ED PES ALDE
Leader since 19 June 1997 21 July 1994 16 July 1988
Last election 18 seats, 28% 62 seats, 44% 2 seats, 17%
Seats won 36 29 10
Seat change Increase18 Decrease33 Increase8
Popular vote 3,578,218 2,803,821 1,266,549
Percentage 35.77% 28.03% 12.66%
Swing Increase7% Decrease16% Decrease5%

European Parliament election 1999 - UK results.png

Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the main table of results

Leader of Largest Party before election

Tony Blair
Labour

Subsequent Leader of Largest Party

William Hague
Conservative

The European Parliament Election, 1999 was the United Kingdom's part of the European Parliament election 1999. It was held on 10 June 1999. Following the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999 it was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom where the whole country used a system of proportional representation. In total, 87 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom.

The Conservatives won double the number of seats compared to the previous European election in 1994. While the Labour Party saw their seats reduced from 62 to 29. It was the first European Parliament election to be held since the 1997 general election which resulted in a change of government from Conservative to Labour. The Liberal Democrats saw their number of seats increase to 10 from just 2 in the previous election. The UK Independence Party (UKIP), Green Party and Plaid Cymru gained their first ever seats in the European Parliament.

Turnout was 24%, the lowest of any member state in the 1999 election where the EU average was 49.51%. It was also the lowest of any European election in the United Kingdom, and the lowest of any member state until the 2009 election.[1]

Background[edit]

Electoral System[edit]

The European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999 introduced a closed-list party list system method of proportional representation, calculated using the D'Hondt method into Great Britain. In Northern Ireland, the Single Transferable Vote, which is also a form of proportional representation, which had been used since the first European election in 1979 was retained. The Act also created twelve new electoral regions, which were based on the British government's nine administrative Regions of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The effect of the introduction of proportional representation was that many small parties won seats to the European Parliament for the first time.

Results[edit]

Great Britain[edit]

The Conservatives doubled the number of seats from the last European election. Labour saw their 62 seats reduced to just 29. It was the first European Parliament election to be held since the change of United Kingdom government from Conservative to Labour two years earlier. The Liberal Democrats saw their number of seats increase to 10 from just 2 in the previous election. The UK Independence Party, Green Party and Plaid Cymru won their first ever seats in the European Parliament. These changes are largely due to the move to proportional representation from first-past-the-post.[2]

Summary of the election results for Great Britain

Party Votes Seats Loss/Gain Share of Vote (%) Share of Seats(%)
Conservative 3,578,218 36 +18 36 43
Labour 2,803,821 29 -33 28 35
Liberal Democrat 1,266,549 10 +8 13 12
UKIP 696,057 3 +3 7 3.6
Green 625,378 2 +2 6.3 2.4
SNP 268,528 2 ±0 2.7 2.4
Plaid Cymru 185,235 2 +2 1.9 2.4
Pro-Euro Conservative 138,097 0 ±0 1.4 0
BNP 102,647 0 ±0 1.1 0
Liberal 93,051 0 ±0 0.9 0
Socialist Labour 86,749 0 ±0 0.9 0
Others 157,944 0 ±0 1.6 0
Total 10,002,273 84 ±0 100 100
Source: BBC News[3]
All parties with more than 50,000 votes shown

Northern Ireland[edit]

Summary of the election results for Northern Ireland[3]

European Parliament election 1999: Northern Ireland[4]
Party Candidate(s) Seats Loss/Gain First Preference Votes
Number  % of vote
DUP Ian Paisley 1 0 192,762 28.40
SDLP John Hume 1 0 190,731 28.10
UUP Jim Nicholson 1 0 119,507 17.61
Sinn Féin Mitchel McLaughlin 0 0 117,643 17.33
PUP David Ervine 0 0 22,494 3.31
UK Unionist Robert McCartney 0 0 20,283 2.99
Alliance Sean Neeson 0 0 14,391 2.12
Natural Law James Anderson 0 0 998 0.15
Turnout 678,809

MEPs defeated[edit]

Labour

Liberal Democrat

Conservative

Pro-Euro Conservative Party

Independent Labour

Scottish Socialist Party

Leeds Left Alliance

Aftermath[edit]

Labour's results resulted in a debate within Labour about the introduction of introducing proportional representation. In September 2003, a poll of 150 MPs had found that 58% backed the introduction of proportional representation. A follow up poll ran on the Sunday after the election found that this had decreased to 43%, with the majority wanting a return to the first-past-the-post system.[5] It has also been argued however, that the introduction of proportional representation actually reduced Labour's loses as first-past-the-post is more sensitive to swings in public opinion.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Turnout at the European elections (1979-2009)". European Parliament. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Success for smaller parties". BBC News. 14 June 1999. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Euro Elections, Results - Great Britain and Northern Ireland". BBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  4. ^ The 1999 European Election, Northern Ireland Elections
  5. ^ "Labour postmortem begins". BBC News. 14 June 1999. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Robin Oakley's Westminister Week - The Euro fallout". BBC News. 14 June 1999. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 

External links[edit]