ON June 4, the West Midlands will decide which six candidates will be representing the region in the European Parliament.
In previous years, the European elections haven’t enjoyed a particularly good turn out - only 36 per cent of the West Midlands’ electorate visited the ballot box in 2004.
But this year could be different. There’s no sign of a general election and no council elections in many areas (including Solihull). So will this encourage more people to have their say in Europe?
If it does, then there’s plenty of issues which are likely to have a bearing on the result. As the recession continues to bite, many candidates will be focussing on jobs, the economy and getting countries to work together.
And the scandal over MPs’ expenses will surely have an impact. Will the growing sense of disillusion draw voters to the smaller parties?
With just over a week until people go to the polls, the Solihull Times spoke to some of the candidates who are canvassing for your vote.
l You can read some of their comments below or visit www.solihullnews.net to watch our special video about the upcoming elections.
Malcolm Harbour (Conservative) - “My party believes that these elections will be crucial to the way Europe develops over the next five years.
“We’ll be tackling issues like climate change and creating more jobs. But we’re also determined to have a referendum for the British people on the Lisbon Treaty.”
Neena Gill (Labour) - “We’re the only party engaged in Europe in a constructive way.”
“We’re looking to the future and trying to secure greater investment and jobs for the West Midlands.”
Liz Lynne (Liberal Democrats) - “We’re quite lucky in Solihull as we have many Liberal Democrat councillors and MP Lorely Burt. I work very closely with these representatives to find out what we can do in Europe.
“As Lib Dems we make sure we’re involved in the whole process and make sure that we’re changing things for the better for the people of this region.”
Nikki Sinclaire (UK Independence Party) - “Make no mistake, we’re not an alternative party - we’re a main party in these elections.
“UKIP is the only credible opposition in these times of a corrupt political Government, a corrupt political caste and even more so a corrupt European Union.”
Chris Williams (Green) - “Sometimes people think that we’re only concerned with environmental issues, but that’s certainly not true.
“I often say that we’re the party of justice. Whether it’s a green issue like global warming or the problems caused by recession - there will always be victims and injustice. We want to tackle these problems.”