1999 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom

Last updated

1999 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  1994 10 June 1999 2004  

All 87 seats of the United Kingdom's seats
in the European Parliament
Turnout24.0% (Decrease2.svg12.4%) [1]
 First partySecond partyThird party
  McMillan-Scott, Edward-9592.jpg
Lab
Official portrait of Lord Teverson crop 2, 2019.jpg
Leader Edward McMillan-Scott Alan Donnelly Robert Teverson
Party Conservative Labour Liberal Democrats
Alliance EPP PES ALDE
Leader since16 September 199719971994
Leader's seat Yorkshire and the Humber North East England South West England (defeated)
Last election18 seats, 26.8%62 seats, 42.6%2 seats, 17%
Seats before18622
Seats won362910
Seat changeIncrease2.svg18Decrease2.svg33Increase2.svg8
Popular vote3,578,2182,803,8211,266,549
Percentage33.5%26.3%11.9%
SwingIncrease2.svg6.5%Decrease2.svg16.4%Decrease2.svg4.3%

 Fourth partyFifth partySixth party
 
UKIP
Green
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland (cropped).jpg
Leader Michael Holmes N/A [lower-alpha 1] Alex Salmond
Party UKIP Green SNP
Alliance N/A European Green Party European Free Alliance
Leader sinceSeptember 1997N/A22 September 1990
Leader's seatN/AN/AN/A
Last election0 seats, 1.0%0 seats, 3.0%2 seats, 3.1%
Seats before002
Seats won322
Seat changeIncrease2.svg3Increase2.svg2Steady2.svg
Popular vote696,057568,236268,528
Percentage6.55.32.5
SwingIncrease2.svg5.5Increase2.svg2.3%Decrease2.svg0.6%

European Parliament election 1999 - UK results.png
Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the main table of results

1999 UK European Parliament election.svg

Leader of Largest Party before election

Tony Blair
Labour

Subsequent Leader of Largest Party

William Hague
Conservative

The 1999 European Parliament election 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 across twelve new regional constituencies.

Contents

The change in voting system resulted in significant changes in seats. The Conservatives won double the number of seats they had won in the previous European election, in 1994, while the Labour Party saw its seats reduced from 62 to 29. 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 seats in the European Parliament.

The House of Commons Library calculated notional seat changes based on what the result would have been if the 1994 European elections had been held under proportional representation. [2] The notional results and seat changes are shown in the results box for this article.

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.

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 and to date is the lowest turnout for any national election in the history of the United Kingdom. [1]

Background

Electoral system

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

United Kingdom

Map showing most popular party by counting area. European Parliament election, 1999 (United Kingdom).svg
Map showing most popular party by counting area.

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 seats in the European Parliament.

These changes were largely due to the move to proportional representation from first-past-the-post. [3] The House of Commons Library calculated that if the 1994 European elections had been held under proportional representation, Labour would have won 43 MEPs, the Conservatives 26, the Lib Dems 11, the SNP 3 and Plaid Cymru 1. [2]

PartyVotes won % of voteChangeSeats % of seatsLoss/Gain
vs actual
'94 result
Loss/Gain
vs notional
'94 result
Conservative 3,578,21833.5Increase2.svg6.53641.4Increase2.svg18Increase2.svg10
Labour 2,803,82126.3Decrease2.svg16.42933.3Decrease2.svg33Decrease2.svg14
Liberal Democrats 1,266,54911.9Decrease2.svg4.31011.9Increase2.svg8Decrease2.svg1
UKIP 696,0576.5Increase2.svg5.633.4Increase2.svg3Increase2.svg3
Green 568,2365.3Increase2.svg2.322.4Increase2.svg2Increase2.svg2
SNP 268,5282.5Decrease2.svg0.622.3Steady2.svgDecrease2.svg1
DUP 192,7621.8Increase2.svg0.811.1Steady2.svgSteady2.svg
SDLP 190,7311.8Increase2.svg0.811.1Steady2.svgSteady2.svg
Plaid Cymru 185,2351.7Increase2.svg0.722.3Increase2.svg2Increase2.svg1
Pro-Euro Conservative 138,0971.3New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Ulster Unionist 119,5071.1Increase2.svg0.311.1Steady2.svgSteady2.svg
Sinn Féin 117,6431.1Increase2.svg0.80Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
BNP 102,6471.0New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Liberal 93,0510.9Increase2.svg0.30Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Socialist Labour 86,7490.8New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Green 57,1420.5Increase2.svg0.40Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Scottish Socialist 39,7200.4New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
PUP 22,4940.2New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Natural Law 21,3270.2Decrease2.svg0.40Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
UK Unionist 20,2830.2New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Alliance 14,3910.1Steady2.svg0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Socialist Alliance 7,2030.1New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Humanist 2,5860.0New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Weekly Worker1,7240.0New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Socialist (GB) 1,5100.0New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Others84,8720.80Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Total10,681,08387100
Source: BBC News, [4] UK Parliament Briefing [2]

Great Britain

Summary of the election results for Great Britain

PartyVotes won % of voteLoss/GainSeats % of seatsLoss/Gain
vs actual
'94 result
Loss/Gain
vs notional
'94 result
Conservative 3,578,21835.8Increase2.svg7.93642.9Increase2.svg18
Labour 2,803,82128.0Decrease2.svg16.12934.5Decrease2.svg33
Liberal Democrats 1,266,54912.7Decrease2.svg4.11011.9Increase2.svg8
UKIP 696,0577.0Increase2.svg6.033.6Increase2.svg3Increase2.svg3
Green 568,2366.3Increase2.svg2.622.4Increase2.svg2Increase2.svg2
SNP 268,5282.7Decrease2.svg0.522.4Steady2.svgDecrease2.svg1
Plaid Cymru 185,2351.9Increase2.svg0.822.4Increase2.svg2Increase2.svg1
Pro-Euro Conservative 138,0971.4New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
BNP 102,6471.0New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Liberal 93,0510.9Increase2.svg0.30Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Socialist Labour 86,7490.9New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Green 57,1420.6Increase2.svg0.40Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Scottish Socialist 39,7200.4New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Natural Law 20,3290.4Decrease2.svg0.20Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Socialist Alliance 7,2030.1New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Humanist 2,5860.0New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Weekly Worker1,7240.0New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Socialist (GB) 1,5100.1New0Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Others84,8720.80Steady2.svgSteady2.svgSteady2.svg
Total10,002,27384100
Source: BBC News, [4] UK Parliament Briefing [2]

Northern Ireland

Summary of the election results for Northern Ireland [4]

European Parliament election 1999: Northern Ireland [5]
PartyCandidate(s)SeatsLoss/GainFirst Preference Votes
Number % of vote
DUP Ian Paisley 10192,76228.4
SDLP John Hume 10190,73128.1
Ulster Unionist Jim Nicholson 10119,50717.6
Sinn Féin Mitchel McLaughlin 00117,64317.3
PUP David Ervine 0022,4943.3
UK Unionist Robert McCartney 0020,2833.0
Alliance Seán Neeson 0014,3912.1
Natural Law James Anderson009980.2
Turnout678,809

MEPs defeated

Labour

Liberal Democrat

Conservative

Pro-Euro Conservative Party

Independent Labour

Scottish Socialist Party

Leeds Left Alliance

Aftermath

Labour's results brought about a debate within the party about the introduction of proportional representation. In September 1998, 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. [6] It has also been argued, however, that the introduction of proportional representation actually reduced Labour's losses, as first-past-the-post is more sensitive to swings in public opinion. [7]

See also

Notes

  1. At the time of the election the party had principal speakers rather than leaders.

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References

  1. 1 2 "Previous European Parliamentary Elections – About Parliament". European Parliament. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "European Parliament Elections June 1999 - Commons Library briefing". UK Parliament. 21 June 1999. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  3. "Success for smaller parties". BBC News. 14 June 1999. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 "Euro Elections, Results - Great Britain and Northern Ireland". BBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  5. The 1999 European Election, Northern Ireland Elections
  6. "Labour postmortem begins". BBC News. 14 June 1999. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  7. "Robin Oakley's Westminster Week - The Euro fallout". BBC News. 14 June 1999. Retrieved 26 May 2014.