Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 07:53 UK

At-a-glance: Party-by-party guide

Here is a guide to the parties and independent candidates standing in England, Scotland and Wales in the European elections.

CONSERVATIVES

Leader: David Cameron

Number of MEPs: 27, led by Timothy Kirkhope

European Parliament group: The Conservatives are in the process of leaving the main centre right grouping, the European People's Party, to set up a new centre right anti-Federalist alliance.

Policies: Backs the EU but wants a halt to further political integration and return of key law making powers to nation states. Opposes the Lisbon Treaty and says it will hold a referendum on it if elected to power before it comes into force.

Prospects: David Cameron is urging voters to turn this contest into a referendum on whether there should be a general election in the UK. But although his party is expected to win the biggest share of the vote on 4 June, it could lose a large chunk of support to UKIP, which is demanding a referendum even if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified. Like the other big parties, the Tories have been tainted by MP expenses scandal but does not seem to have suffered in the opinion polls as much as Labour.

LABOUR PARTY

Leader: Gordon Brown

Number of MEPs: 19, led by Glenis Willmott

European Parliament group: Party of European Socialists

Policies: Stresses importance of British membership of EU when it comes to big transnational issues such as climate change and security. But also pledges to ensure EU delivers for British people on jobs, crime and prosperity. Backs the Lisbon Treaty.

Prospects: Labour knows it faces possibly its worst result in modern times on 4 June, as voters take out their anger on the government over MPs' expenses and the economy. If it slips to third place or, as some in the party fear, fourth, expect renewed leadership speculation and opposition demands for an immediate general election.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Leader: Nick Clegg

Number of MEPs: 12, led by Andrew Duff

European Parliament group: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

Policies: Traditionally the most pro-European of the big three parties. Nick Clegg has urged Britain to "stand tall" and play its full part in the EU, which he says has a vital role on big issues such as climate change and security. Backs the Lisbon Treaty but wants a referendum on Britain's continued EU membership with aim of highlighting positives of membership.

Prospects: The Lib Dems slipped to fourth behind UKIP in 2004 in the overall share of the vote, but could do better this time, polls suggest. Nick Clegg's party has, arguably, been the least affected by the MPs' expenses scandal at Westminster. Beating Labour (and Ukip!) to second place would be a seen as a major coup.

UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY

Leader: Nigel Farage

Number of MEPs: 9

European Parliament group: Independence and Democracy

Policies: Withdraw from the EU. Establish trading relations with former European partners. End mass immigration.

Prospects: Achieved major breakthrough in 2004 when it beat the Lib Dems into fourth in vote share. Initially expected to do worse this time round but now seen as likely to be the biggest beneficiary of protest votes over expenses scandal, even though leader Nigel Farage, perhaps mindful of his party's own past troubles in this area, has concentrated on its core easy-to-understand anti-EU, pro-referendum message. Hoping to beat the Lib Dems and push Labour into fourth place.

GREEN PARTY

Leader: Caroline Lucas

Number of MEPs: 2

European Parliament group: Greens/European Free Alliance

Policies: Pushing economic rescue plan, alongside traditional emphasis on the environment. Pro-European but also want democratic reform and clean-up of EU and referendum on Lisbon Treaty. Promising "positive and clean" alternative to big parties.

Prospects: Looks set to benefit from public anger at mainstream parties, dispelling any concerns it might have had that the reduction in seats up for grabs this time would mean its existing MEPs could be ousted. Two recent polls suggest it is breathing down UKIP's neck and could be in line to gain more MEPs. First election with an official party leader - Caroline Lucas.

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY

Leader: Alex Salmond

Number of MEPs: Two

European Parliament group: Greens/European Free Alliance

Policies: Campaigns for Scotland to be independent nation with the EU. Has pledged to fight for jobs and boost economic recovery. Wants vote on Lisbon Treaty.

Prospects: Urging voters to use European ballot to step up pressure on Gordon Brown for an early general election. But voters may also use it as an opportunity to give their verdict on the SNP's own performance in government.

PLAID CYMRU

Leader: Ieuan Wyn Jones

Number of MEPs: One

European Parliament group: Greens/European Free Alliance

Policies: Campaigns for Wales to be independent member of EU. Wants windfall tax on energy companies' profits and a Europe-wide suspension of VAT on domestic gas and electricity for the next two years. Wants Lisbon Treaty referendum.

Prospects: Hoping to benefit from public anger at the big parties. Has launched an all-out attack on Labour MEPs' record on expenses, calling on the party to publish full breakdowns.

BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY

Leader: Nick Griffin

Number of MEPs: None

Policies: Withdrawal from EU. End immigration. "Voluntary repatriation" of ethnic minorities. Preference in jobs and housing for indigenous Britons.

Prospects: The BNP has been talking up its chances at this European poll. Leader Nick Griffin sees it as an opportunity to take his party into the mainstream, on the back of public anger over MPs expenses and fears over the economy. It has spent more than ever before on campaigning and claims a big upswing in public interest at its new call centre.

LIBERTAS

Leader: Robin Matthews (in the UK)

Number of MEPs: None

Policies: First pan-European political party. Wants sweeping democratic reform of European institutions and an end to EU waste and corruption. Wants referendum on Lisbon Treaty.

Prospects: Despite a professional and apparently well-funded campaign, may find it hard to make the spectacular breakthrough chairman and founder Declan Ganley seems confident of achieving in the UK. Mr Ganley backed successful campaign against the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland - but this is the first election the new Libertas party has contested and name recognition counts for a lot.

ENGLISH DEMOCRATS

Leader: Robin Tilbrook

Number of MEPs: None

Policies: Withdraw from the EU. Set up an English Parliament. Claims to be the only party speaking up for English people in the same way the SNP does for Scots.

Prospects: The six-year-old party has been gaining support in local council and even Parliamentary by-elections, but the polls suggest it is unlikely to gather enough votes on 4 June to return its first MEP amid a crowded field of smaller parties.

NO2EU - YES TO DEMOCRACY

Leader: Bob Crow

Number of MEPs: None

Policies: Withdraw from EU. Reverse privatisation. Fight for workers rights. End Brussels "gravy train".

Prospects: This new alliance of left wing groups is another of those seeking to make its voice heard in a busy field. Can count on backing of some trade union members but is thought unlikely to gain enough votes to return MEPs at its first attempt.

JURY TEAM

Leader: Sir Paul Judge

Number of MEPs: None

Policies: None. It is a new umbrella group for Independent candidates chosen by text and e-mail vote. Set up by former Tory donor Sir Paul Judge.

Prospects: Hard to tell, as each of the candidates has their own policy platform and local support. There is certainly a public mood for more Independents in the wake of the expenses scandal and it has attracted celebrity backing from Esther Rantzen and former anti-sleaze MP Martin Bell. But that system might work better in a first past-the-post election system.

CHRISTIAN PARTY- CHRISTIAN PEOPLES ALLIANCE

Leader: The Christian Party: Rev George Hargreaves, Christian Peoples Alliance: Alan Craig

Number of MEPs: None

Policies: The two parties have joined forces with the aim of giving electoral voice to practising Christians and combating what they see as their marginalisation. Stands for values of "modesty, honesty and service" against what it sees as moral and spiritual decay. Also want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Prospects: Has attracted some support at a handful of local elections since 2004 - especially in London - but this contest sees it field a full slate of candidates nationally for the first time. Hoping to capitalise on the expenses scandal with pledge to bring Christian values back into politics.

SOCIALIST LABOUR PARTY

Leader: Arthur Scargill

Number of MEPs: None

Policies: Withdraw from EU. Referendum on Lisbon Treaty. Renationalise key industries such as coal, steel and car makers. Top rate of income tax increased to 70%.

Prospects: Left wing Labour splinter group launched 12 years ago by former miners' leader Arthur Scargill. Yet to achieve a significant breakthrough at the ballot box but will be hoping to capitalise on public anger with bankers and the Labour Party. Backed by Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson.

OTHER PARTIES AND INDEPENDENTS

In some parts of the country you may also have one or more of the following parties standing:

Scottish Socialist Party: Standing in Scotland. Their campaign slogan is to "make greed history". The party's main policy is for a 10% wealth tax. It also says candidates elected would live on a "skilled worker's wage".

UK First: Standing in East of England, South East and East Midlands. Believe in low taxes, withdrawal from EU and end to mass immigration.

Pensioners Party: Standing in the South West England region. Want to get a better deal for pensioners throughout England, with non means-tested index linked state pension; proper control of immigration; replacing council tax with local income tax; Keep pounds and pints and the Pound.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain: Standing in London. Objective is "system of society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community".

The Peace Party: Standing in the South East of England region. Renounces war entirely and is determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.

Animals Count: Standing in East of England. Their vision is treating people, animals and the environment with respect, support improvements in animal care and protection and supporting socially progressive policies on non-animal related issues.

Mebyon Kernow: Standing in the South West England region. Calling on people to 'Vote for Cornwall'. Wants a Cornish Assembly and says it is pro-European, with its particular vision being for a Europe of regions and nations.

Wai D: Standing in South West England region. If elected candidates will undertake at their own expense the creation of an internet site where people can express their opinions.

Fair Play Fair Trade: Standing in the South West England region.

Yes to Europe: Former Conservative MEP Brendan Donnelly is standing under this banner in London. The party wants closer integration with Europe and Britain to adopt the euro as soon as possible.

The Roman Party. Ave! Standing in South-East. French bus driver Jean-Louis Pascual, who has stood at local elections in Reading under this banner since 2006, is the sole candidate.

Independents - Standing in London are Gene Alcatara, Steven Cheung, Jan Jananayagam, Sohale Rahman and Haroon Saad. The East of England's only independent candidate is Peter Rigby. Francis Apaloo is standing in the North West and Katie Hopkins in the South West and Gibraltar. Duncan Robertson is standing in Scotland.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Your can read more about the election in Northern Ireland here.



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EUROPEAN ELECTION RESULTS

MEP Seats

  Votes MEPs
Party % +/- % Total +/-
EPP 33.4 -1.4 264 -18
Socialists 23.2 -4.1 183 -26
Liberal 11.0 +1.6 84 +5
Green 7.4 +1.3 50 +9
Left 5.3 -0.6 34 -2
UEN 3.4 +1.6 28 +2
Ind/Dem 2.7 -1.8 21 -15
No Group 13.6 +3.4 72 +3.4
0 of 27 countries declared.

UK Total MEP Seats

Party Votes MEPs
% +/- % Total +/-
CON 27.7 1.0 *26 1
UKIP 16.5 0.3 13 1
LAB 15.7 -6.9 13 -5
LD 13.7 -1.2 11 1
GRN 8.6 2.4 2 0
BNP 6.2 1.3 2 2
SNP 2.1 0.7 2 0
PC 0.8 -0.1 1 0
OTH 8.5 2.4 0 0
SF 1 0
DUP 1 0
72 of 72 seats declared. Vote share figures exclude Northern Ireland as it has a separate electoral system to the rest of the UK
* Includes UCUNF MEP elected in Northern Ireland
KEY STORIES
FEATURES AND BACKGROUND
BBC political editor Nick Robinson Nick Robinson
Follow the BBC Political Editor's assessment of developments
VIDEO REPORTS
Harriet Harman on the big screen on the Breakfast set Harman defends 'dismal' result

David Cameron Cameron 'delighted' with results

Nick Clegg Clegg: Results 'a good platform'

Nick Griffin Jubilant BNP hails 'great victory'

Nigel Farage UKIP: A hell of an achievement

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