A 23-page booklet has been made available to political parties by the Electoral Commission, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The document which is for parties hoping to stand as candidates stated “on 23 May 2019 voters in the United Kingdom will cast their ballot to elect 73 Members of the European Parliament.” In light of these elections, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is likely to return to politics with his new Brexit party. The regulator has also set aside £686,000 for 2019/20 to fight the elections on May 23.
Tory MEPs have been asked whether they will stand in the elections if there is an extension to Article 50.
The EU and Theresa May have both confirmed any extension to Brexit would mean Britain having to run the elections in May.
Mrs May will ask the EU for a shorter extension if her deal is supported in a vote next week at an EU summit on Thursday.
The Electoral Commission’s chief executive Bob Posner said £686,000 has been set aside but this still needs to be approved by a Commons committee chaired by John Bercow.
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Currently, £3,500 from a budget for 2018/19 has been spent translating the guidance into Welsh.
Mr Posner sent a letter to Ukip MEP Jane Collins which said: “It is important that we support parties and campaigners to make the necessary contingency plans.
“We have therefore issued guidance which will provide political parties and non-party campaigners with helpful information and support in the event of the elections going ahead, noting that we are now in what would be the regulated period for the poll.”
However, Ms Collins said staging the elections would “make a mockery of democracy”.
She said: “MPs will delay Brexit as long as they possibly can, and if we are still members by 23rd May that means we will need to re-elect MEPs.
“A country which voted to leave could, almost three years later, end up sending MEPs back to Brussels such is the incompetence of Theresa May’s Brexit strategy. It makes a mockery of democracy.”
Two Tory party sources confirmed the search for fresh candidates has begun.
One source said: “I struggle to think what our manifesto would be. We would get massacred. God knows what our selection process would be. What on earth would we be telling voters?
“If the third meaningful vote is defeated we will begin making sure we are ready to take part in the elections.”