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European Parliamentary Elections Bill [H.L.]





Consolidate the European Parliamentary Elections Acts 1978, 1993 and 1999.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

Electoral regions and number of MEPs.     1. - (1) For the purpose of the election in the United Kingdom of members of the European Parliament ("MEPs")-
    (a) England is to be divided into nine electoral regions, and
    (b) Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are each to constitute a single electoral region.
      (2) There are to be 87 MEPs elected in the United Kingdom, of whom-
    (a) 71 are to be elected for the electoral regions in England,
    (b) 8 are to be elected for Scotland,
    (c) 5 are to be elected for Wales, and
    (d) 3 are to be elected for Northern Ireland.
      (3) Schedule 1 (which makes provision for the electoral regions in England and for the number of MEPs to be elected for each region) has effect.
General elections
Voting system in Great Britain.     2. - (1) The system of election of MEPs in an electoral region in Great Britain is to be a regional list system.
      (2) The Secretary of State must by regulations-
    (a) make provision for the nomination of registered parties in relation to an election in such a region, and
    (b) require a nomination under paragraph (a) to be accompanied by a list of candidates numbering no more than the MEPs to be elected for the region.
      (3) The system of election must comply with the following conditions.
      (4) A vote may be cast for a registered party or an individual candidate named on the ballot paper.
      (5) The first seat is to be allocated to the party or individual candidate with the greatest number of votes.
      (6) The second and subsequent seats are to be allocated in the same way, except that the number of votes given to a party to which one or more seats have already been allocated are to be divided by the number of seats allocated plus one.
      (7) In allocating the second or any subsequent seat there are to be disregarded any votes given to-
    (a) a party to which there has already been allocated a number of seats equal to the number of names on the party's list of candidates, and
    (b) an individual candidate to whom a seat has already been allocated.
      (8) Seats allocated to a party are to be filled by the persons named on the party's list of candidates in the order in which they appear on that list.
      (9) For the purposes of subsection (6) fractions are to be taken into account.
      (10) In this section "registered party" means a party registered under Part II of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Voting system in Northern Ireland.     3. The system of election of MEPs in Northern Ireland is to be a single transferable vote system under which-
    (a) a vote is capable of being given so as to indicate the voter's order of preference for the candidates, and
    (b) a vote is capable of being transferred to the next choice-
      (i) when the vote is not required to give a prior choice the necessary quota of votes, or
      (ii) when, owing to the deficiency in the number of votes given for a prior choice, that choice is eliminated from the list of candidates.
Date of elections.     4. The poll at each general election of MEPs is to be held on a day appointed by order of the Secretary of State.
Vacant seats
Filling vacant seats.     5. - (1) The Secretary of State must by regulations make provision prescribing the procedure to be followed when a seat is or becomes vacant.
      (2) The regulations may-
    (a) include provision requiring a by-election to be held in specified circumstances (and provision modifying section 2 in its application to by-elections);
    (b) require a seat last filled from a party's list of candidates to be filled, in specified circumstances, from such a list (without a by-election).
      (3) Where regulations provide for a by-election to be held-
    (a) the poll must take place on a day, appointed by order of the Secretary of State, within such period as may be specified in the regulations, but
    (b) the regulations may enable the Secretary of State to decline to appoint a day in certain circumstances.
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Prepared 21 June 2000