2004 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom

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2004 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  1999 10 June 2004 2009  

All 78 of the United Kingdom's seats
in the European Parliament
Turnout38.5% [1] Increase2.svg14.5%
 First partySecond party
  Michael Howard (cropped).jpg Tony Blair WEF (cropped).jpg
Leader Michael Howard Tony Blair
Party Conservative Labour
Alliance EPP PES
Leader since 6 November 2003 21 July 1994
Last election36 seats, 33.5%29 seats, 26.3%
Seats before3525
Seats won2719
Seat changeDecrease2.svg8*Decrease2.svg6*
Popular vote4,397,0873,718,683
Percentage25.9%21.9%
SwingDecrease2.svg7.6%Decrease2.svg4.4%

 Third partyFourth party
  Roger Knapman.jpg Charles Kennedy MP (cropped).jpg
Leader Roger Knapman Charles Kennedy
Party UKIP Liberal Democrats
Alliance ID ALDE
Leader since5 October 2002 9 August 1999
Last election3 seats, 6.5%10 seats, 11.9%
Seats before210
Seats won1212
Seat changeIncrease2.svg10*Increase2.svg2*
Popular vote2,650,7682,452,327
Percentage15.6%14.4%
SwingIncrease2.svg9.1%Increase2.svg2.6%

European Parliament election 2004 - UK results.png
Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the results tables *Seat change has been adjusted to allow for direct comparison with the results from the 1999 election. [2]

Notional 1999 results

Leader of Largest Party before election

Michael Howard
Conservative

Subsequent Leader of Largest Party

Michael Howard
Conservative

Part of a series of articles on
British membership
of the European Union
UK location in the EU 2016.svg
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The European Parliament election, 2004 was the United Kingdom's part of the wider 2004 European Parliament election which was held between 10 and 13 June 2004 in the 25 member states of the European Union. The United Kingdom's part of this election was held on Thursday 10 June 2004. The election also coincided with the 2004 local elections and the London Assembly and mayoral elections. In total, 78 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom using proportional representation.

Contents

The Conservative Party and the Labour Party both polled poorly. The Conservatives experienced their second-lowest ever recorded vote share in a national election (even less than their 1832 nadir, although the party would do worse still in the 2014 and 2019 elections), and Labour their lowest since 1918. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) saw a large increase in support, increasing its number of MEPs from 3 to 12 and on popular vote pushed the Liberal Democrats, who themselves had increased their representation from 10 to 12 seats into fourth place. In Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin beat the SDLP in the polls and took its first Northern Ireland seat.

Background

Electoral system

The United Kingdom elected 78 Members of the European Parliament using proportional representation. The United Kingdom was divided into twelve multi-member constituencies. The eleven of these regions which form Great Britain used a closed-list party list system method of proportional representation, calculated using the D'Hondt method. Northern Ireland used the Single Transferable Vote (STV). As a consequence of the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, the number of seats allocated to the United Kingdom was fewer than in 1999.

It was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom using postal-only voting in four areas: the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, and East Midlands regions. [3]

Regional seat allocations

A combination of the effects of the Treaty of Nice and the 2004 enlargement of the European Union meant that the number of seats allocated to the United Kingdom for the 2004 election was reduced from the 87 MEPs allocated for the 1999 election to 78 MEPs. [4] [5]

As a result of the successful challenge of Matthews v United Kingdom before the European Court of Human Rights in 1999 [6] residents of Gibraltar, voted in the European Parliament election for the first time, as part of the South West England region. [7]

Changes in regional seat allocations [8]

ConstituencyRepresentation
in 1999
Representation
in 2004
Net Gain/Loss
East Midlands 660
East of England 87-1
London 109-1
North East England 43-1
North West England 109-1
Northern Ireland 330
Scotland 87-1
South East England 1110-1
South West England 1770
Wales 54-1
West Midlands 87-1
Yorkshire and the Humber 76-1
Overall8778-9

1Includes Gibraltar, the only British overseas territory which is part of the EU.

Results

Partial map, showing most popular party by counting area on Great Britain only. European Parliament election, 2004 (United Kingdom).svg
Partial map, showing most popular party by counting area on Great Britain only.

Turnout for all the regions was 37.6% on an electorate of 45,309,760[ citation needed ]. The Conservatives and Labour both polled poorly. The Conservatives, although getting a vote share 4.1% greater than Labour, experienced their lowest vote share in a national election since 1832. Labour's vote share was its lowest since 1918. Labour's decline in votes was regarded as being largely due to widespread public dissatisfaction about the Iraq War and, as with the Conservatives, the increased popularity of UKIP. UKIP saw a large increase in support, increasing its number of MEPs from 3 to 12, drawing level with the Liberal Democrats, who themselves had increased their representation from 10 to 12 seats. UKIP polled higher than the Liberal Democrats and pushing them into fourth place.

Turnout was lowest in Scotland, which did not hold local elections on the same day. In Scotland, Labour topped the poll, followed by the Scottish National Party (SNP). The Conservative Party's share of the vote declined by 2 percent, making it the region with the smallest swing against them. [8]

Wales was the only region were Labour increased its share of the vote compared to 1999. The Conservatives managed to make gains pushing Plaid Cymru into third and whose share of the vote fell by 12 percentage points relative to 1999. Similarly UKIP narrowly beat the Liberal Democrats into fourth place. Wales was the region were the Green Party polled their lowest share of the vote. [8]

United Kingdom

PartyVotes won% of voteLoss/GainSeatsLoss/Gain†% of seats
Conservative 4,397,09025.9-7.627-834.6
Labour 3,718,68321.9-4.419-624.4
UKIP 2,650,76815.6+9.112+1015.4
Liberal Democrats 2,452,32714.4+2.612+215.4
Green 948,5885.6+0.32+22.6
BNP 808,2014.8+3.8000
Respect 252,2161.5New000
SNP 231,5051.4-1.2202.6
DUP 175,7611.0-0.8101.3
Plaid Cymru 159,8880.9-0.8101.3
Sinn Féin 144,5410.9-0.31+11.3
English Democrat 130,0560.8New000
Liberal 96,3250.6-0.3000
Independent - Martin Bell 93,0280.6New000
UUP 91,1640.5-0.6101.3
SDLP 87,5590.5-1.30-10
Scottish Green 79,6950.5-0.1000
Scottish Socialist 61,3560.4New000
Christian Peoples Alliance 56,7710.3New000
Senior Citizens 42,8610.3New000
Countryside Party 42,1070.2New000
Independent - Herron39,6580.2New000
Independent - Gilliland36,2700.2New000
Pensioners 33,5010.2New000
Christian Vote 21,0560.1New000
ProLife Alliance 20,3930.1New000
Forward Wales 17,2800.1New000
Independent - Ellis14,7620.1New000
People's Party for Better Government13,7760.1New000
Peace 12,5720.1New000
Socialist Environmental 9,1720.1New000
Common Good 8,6500.1New000
Independent - Neal8,3180.0New000
Scottish Wind Watch7,2550.0New000
Christian Democratic Party 6,8210.0New000
Independent - Rhodes5,6710.0New000
Independent - Naisbitt5,1370.0New000
Green (NI) 4,8100.0New000
Independent - Tait3,6240.0New000
Independent - Rogers2,6150.0New000
Independent - Shadmyraine8470.0New000
Total16,443,39778
All parties listed.

†Loss/gain figures for seats are losses/gains versus the 1999 notional result, as the number of MEPs overall fell.

Great Britain

Summary of the election results for Great Britain [2]

PartyVotes won% of voteLoss/GainSeatsLoss/Gain†% of seats
Conservative 4,397,09026.7-9.027-836.0
Labour 3,718,68322.6-5.419-625.3
UKIP 2,650,76816.1+9.212+1016.0
Liberal Democrats 2,452,32714.9+2.312+216.0
Green 948,5885.8+0.12+22.7
BNP 808,2014.9+3.9000
Respect 252,2161.5New000
SNP 231,5051.4-1.3202.7
Plaid Cymru 159,8881.0-0.9101.3
English Democrat 130,0560.8New000
Liberal 96,3250.6-0.3000
Independent - Martin Bell 93,0280.6New000
Scottish Green 79,6950.5-0.1000
Scottish Socialist 61,3560.4New000
Christian Peoples Alliance 56,7710.3New000
Senior Citizens 42,8610.3New000
Countryside Party 42,1070.3New000
Independent - Herron39,6580.2New000
Pensioners 33,5010.2New000
Christian Vote 21,0560.1New000
ProLife Alliance 20,3930.1New000
Forward Wales 17,2800.1New000
Independent - Herron14,7620.1New000
People's Party for Better Government13,7760.1New000
Peace 12,5720.1New000
Common Good 8,6500.1New000
Independent - Neal8,3180.1New000
Scottish Wind Watch7,2550.0New000
Christian Democratic Party 6,8210.0New000
Independent - Rhodes5,6710.0New000
Independent - Naisbitt5,1370.0New000
Independent - Tait3,6240.0New000
Independent - Rogers2,6150.0New000
Independent - Shadmyraine8470.0New000
Total16,443,39775
All parties listed.

†Loss/gain figures for seats are losses/gains versus the 1999 notional result, as the number of MEPs overall fell.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar participated in the United Kingdom's election for the first time in 2004 as part of the South West England constituency. Gibraltar is a British overseas territory (BOT) and therefore is under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom but does not form part of it. [9] Gibraltar is however part of the EU, the only BOT to be so. Following however, the result of the successful challenge of Matthews v United Kingdom before the European Court of Human Rights in 1999 [6] residents of Gibraltar were given the right to vote in the European Parliament elections. The British government decided not to give Gibraltar its own seat due to its small electorate of just over 20,000 which would have meant with just one seat Gibraltar would have been over-represented by about 30 times the average. [7]

None of the main Gibraltar political parties contested the election, so voters chose from United Kingdom party lists. However, Lyana Armstrong-Emery of Gibraltar's Reform Party had a place on a joint list with the Green Party. In addition both the leader of the Conservative Party, Michael Howard, and his deputy, Michael Ancram, campaigned in Gibraltar. [10]

Turnout in Gibraltar was 57.5%, higher than the 37.6% for the South West England electoral region as a whole. [11] The Conservative Party polled over two-thirds of the Gibraltar vote, with no other party exceeding 10% support.

Northern Ireland

Turnout in Northern Ireland was 51.2%. [12] Sinn Féin beat the SDLP in the polls and took its first Northern Ireland seat. Sinn Féin also won a seat in the corresponding elections in the Republic of Ireland. [13] Sinn Féin and the DUP increased their shares of the vote relative to the 1999 European Parliament elections, while the shares for both the SDLP and the UUP fell. [8] This was also the final election in which a Unionist candidate topped the poll in Northern Ireland. [14] Jim Allister of the DUP and Bairbre de Brún of Sinn Féin were elected in the first round while Jim Nicholson of the UUP was elected in the third stage, after the votes of the other candidates were reallocated. [8]

Summary of the election results for Northern Ireland [15]

PartyCandidate(s)SeatsLoss/GainFirst Preference Votes
Number% of vote
DUP Jim Allister 1Steady2.svg175,76131.9
Sinn Féin Bairbre de Brún 1Increase2.svg1144,54126.3
UUP Jim Nicholson 1Steady2.svg91,16416.6
SDLP Martin Morgan 0Decrease2.svg 187,55915.9
Independent John Gilliland0Steady2.svg36,2706.6
Socialist Environmental Eamonn McCann 0Steady2.svg9,1721.6
Green (NI) Lindsay Whitcroft0Steady2.svg4,8100.9
Total549,277
Turnout51.2% [12]

MEPs defeated

Labour

Conservative

Plaid Cymru

Aftermath

Both Tony Blair and Michael Howard faced criticism for their results with then Secretary of State for Health John Reid calling the results "disappointing" for Labour and "disastrous" for the Conservatives. [19]

Shortly after the election UKIP's Robert Kilroy-Silk, who was credited with raising the profile of the party during the election, was interviewed by Channel 4 television about leadership ambitions, Kilroy-Silk did not deny having ambitions to lead the party, but stressed that Roger Knapman would lead it into the next general election.[ citation needed ] However, the next day, on Breakfast with Frost , he criticised Knapman's leadership. [20] After further disagreement with the leadership, Kilroy-Silk resigned the UKIP whip in the European Parliament on 27 October 2004. [21] Initially, he remained a member, while seeking a bid for the party leadership. [22] However, this was not successful and he resigned completely from UKIP on 20 January 2005, calling it a "joke". [23] Two weeks later, he founded his own party, Veritas, taking a number of UKIP members, including both of the London Assembly members, with him. [24]

UKIP formed a new European Parliament Group, Independence/Democracy which was co-chaired by Nigel Farage and Hanne Dahl.

See also

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  9. The 14 Territories
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Manifestos and documents