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EDITIONS
News Monday, 14 June, 1999, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Success for smaller parties
Sterling
The UK Independence Party is pledged to keeping the pound
The anti-European Union UK Independence party has won three seats at the European Parliament, as smaller parties benefit from proportional representation.

The party, which is dedicated to the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, won its first seat for leader Michael Holmes in the South West region where the party took 10.6% of the vote.

Nigel Farage, who is the party's chairman, then took a second seat in the South East region with 9.7% of the vote.

The UKIP also took a seat in the Eastern region, with Jeffrey Titford taking 8.9% of the vote.

The Green Party won two seats for the first time in the UK.

In the South East region its candidate Caroline Lucas received 7.4% of the vote. Jean Lambert won the party a seat in London with 7.7% of the vote.

'Huge support for Eurosceptics'

Mr Holmes said their message that the UK should never give up the pound had ensured the party's success.

He said: "It shows what a huge support there is for a Eurosceptic vote in this country.

"We have forced the Conservative Party to take a more Eurosceptic line and I hope it is not a temporary thing for them.

"There is no reason why the UK Independence Party cannot go from strength to strength."

The smaller parties have benefited from the new system of proportional representation used in this year's elections for the first time across the UK.

They may also have benefited from the low turnout.

The UKIP was formed in 1993 and although it fought the last elections to the European Parliament, this is the first time it has won any seats.

It describes itself as "the only democratic, non-racist, non-sectarian political party to advocate Britain's withdrawal from the European Union".

However, the UKIP's success at winning around 7% of the vote nationally does not appear to have particularly hurt the Conservatives.

Polling
PR has benefited the smaller parties
The Conservative vote does not share a clear relationship between how well the UKIP have done and the change in the Conservative vote since 1997.

But its strength of support in the south and east repeats the pattern of the anti-European vote in the 1997 general election.

The top UKIP vote was in West Devon where the party won no less than 19% of the vote.

The party wants to return power to the UK's Parliament at Westminster and "retain the pound sterling as Britain's currency".

It advocates free trade with Europe but stronger trading links with the US, Far East and the Commonwealth.

Green London

The Green Party had been expected to do well in London where it has a strong support in constituencies such as Islington.

The party does not support the single currency and has criticised the European Parliament for its "relentless drive for power and profits".

Its manifesto advocated more investment in public transport and energy conservation as well as the taxation of the use of natural resources.

But the Pro-Euro Conservative Party, formed by breakaway Tory MEPs, has not taken any significant share of the vote.

Former Labour Euro-MP Christine's Oddy's decision to stand as an independent candidate in the West Midlands proved to be the one substantial other vote in England.

She managed to win 4.3% of the vote but it was enough to secure her re-election.

Links to more News stories are at the foot of the page.


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