POLITICS
21/05/2018 16:00 BST

Labour MP Demands Government Make Plans To Hold EU Elections Due After Brexit

The next vote is May 2019. But the UK is set to have left the EU two months earlier.

EMMANUEL DUNAND via Getty Images
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker high fives Nigel Farage in the European Parliament earlier this month.

A Labour MP has branded the government “irresponsible” for failing to make plans for the 2019 European parliamentary elections - even though they are due to take place after Brexit.

The next elections to the parliament that moves between Brussels and Strasbourg will take place from 23 to 26 May 2019.

Britain is due to have left the EU two months earlier on 29 March 2019.

The government has estimated it will save £109m next year by not having to run the elections.

But Virendra Sharma, the Labour MP for Ealing, Southall, told HuffPost UK: “I certainly don’t think it is certain that we will have left the EU by the time of the elections next year and I hope we haven’t.

“I believe it is irresponsible for this government to be risking leaving us unrepresented in the European Parliament only weeks after the fabled ‘exit day’.”

Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith said it was not “necessary or a prudent use of taxpayers’ money” to make the usual plans for the election of new British MEPs.

PA Archive/PA Images
Labour's Virendra Sharma has said the government should be prepared to take part in the European Parliament elections.

Responding to a written parliamentary question from Sharma last week, Smith said: “The UK will cease to be a member of the European Union on 29th March 2019.

“We will no longer sit at the European Council table or in the Council of Ministers and we will no longer have Members of the European Parliament.

“We will therefore not be taking part in the European Parliamentary elections in 2019.

“Given this, the government does not consider it is necessary or a prudent use of taxpayers’ money for Returning Officers and electoral administrators to make the usual preparations for the conduct of a European Parliamentary poll in 2019.”

Elections to the 751 member European Parliament take place every five years. Britain currently has 73 MEPs.