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[14 JUN 99]  POLITICS NEWS
Conservatives Gain In Euro Elections

The national trend of a Conservative Party resurgence was highlighted in the West Midlands when the results of the Euro Elections were announced.

The Tories won half of the eight West Midlands seats, with Labour securing three and the Liberal Democrats taking the remaining one.

The news will come as a huge blow to the Government who were predicting that they could take up to five of the available West Midlands seats.

However a spokesperson at Labour’s West Midlands office has warned the Conservatives not to read too much into the result.

He said:

"Obviously we would have liked to win more seats but we are happy to have the three we have got.

"The Conservatives have fought this whole campaign by making it their own referendum on the single currency and you can tell by the fact that only 20% of people turned out that it hasn’t worked.

"Polls over the last two years have shown that if there was a general election tomorrow Labour would take 50% of the vote and that is still the case – nothing has changed."

Christine OddyOne person who was not surprised by Labour’s poor performance was former MEP Christine Oddy, who stood in the elections as an independent candidate after resigning from The Labour Party.

She said:

"I think by standing as an independent candidate I proved what I believe, which is that the Home Secretary Jack Straw was very wrong when he said that most people do not even know who their MEP is.

"The support I have received in the West Midlands is phenomenal and shows that people did not agree with the way the Labour Party treated me while I was with them."

Oddy secured 36,849 votes - which was 4.34% of the total votes in the region – but this was still not enough for her to retain a seat, something she feels is very unfair.

"I would have had to get around 80,000 votes to take a seat because it was done across the West Midlands rather than in individual areas.

"I am very proud of what I have achieved, the backing I got from volunteers was tremendous and the first thing I am going to do is write thank you letters and throw a party."

Another well known Coventry politician running in the election did not fair so well, Dave Nellist took only 7,203 votes which was less than 1% of the overall total.

The elected candidates were Conservatives John Corrie, Philip Bushill-Matthews, Malcolm Harbour and Philip Bradbourn, Labour’s Simon Murphy, Michael Cashman and Neena Gill.

The remaining place is taken by Liberal Democrat Liz Lynne, who has a clear idea of what she wants to achieve in her time in office.

She said:

"My main aim is to bring to light and then get rid of the corruption that has become rife in the word of MEP’s.

"It is affecting the work that MEP’s can do because there is this cloud hanging over the office due to the practices of some people.

"I don’t understand why it cannot work like Whitehall when if people have to claim expenses then they produce a genuine receipt and are reimbursed for essential costs that they have incurred."

Conservative MEP John Corrie, who was previously the MEP for Worcestershire and South Warwickshire, continues in office with one clear message – "The Euro will mean disaster for Britain."

Corrie was top of the Conservative Party list of candidates for the West Midlands and he is warning that decision making power must not be shifted to Europe.

He said:

"We have to make sure that we have a firm base here first and that we know exactly what we are looking to achieve before we move forward.

"For instance there are suggestions coming from Europe at the moment that would cripple many people, and they are basically job destroying policies.

"In the West Midlands region there are a lot of worried taxi drivers because they are being told that they will only be able to work a 48 hour week, and they could not survive on the money that would bring in."

The Conservative MEP is also concerned that the West Midlands would be hardest hit by a full move into Europe.

He said:

"We have very diverse interests and industries in this region and proposed tax structures would mean that we could not be competitive with other European countries which is something that must not be allowed to happen."
  

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CWN / Politics / Euro Elections 99 / 14 Jun 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM