Brexit delay means one election campaign has now become two

Neil Taylor, chief executive at Bassetlaw Council.
Neil Taylor, chief executive at Bassetlaw Council.

This year it seems as though elections are like buses, writes Neil Taylor, chief executive at Bassetlaw Council.

You wait for one to come along and then two arrive at almost the same time.

In my last column, you may recall me talking about the local Bassetlaw Council elections that will take place next week on Thursday, May 2.

This election will decide which candidates will represent the area of Bassetlaw in which you live and become local councillors that make up the political administration of the council.

Whilst some people may like to express an opinion on what affects us as a nation, this local election is about how we do things at the council, for example, local housing provision, local plans and applications, refuse collection and street sweeping, running the benefit services and what economic development initiatives we should pursue over the next four years.

But now, because the European Union (EU) has granted the Government an extension until October 31 to negotiate and agree a deal on how the United Kingdom will leave the EU, the country must now hold European Parliamentary Elections to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who will represent the UK.

These elections will take place on May 23 in the UK, but elections will also be taking place across Europe until May 26.

A list of candidates and the political parties they represent will be published on the website at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk along with other useful voter information and dates that apply to the European Parliamentary elections.

I would like to make this very clear to Bassetlaw residents, that the European Parliamentary Elections is not a 'people's vote'.

This is not another referendum and it is not a vote on any form of Brexit - that is for the Government to decide.

Whilst I would acknowledge that European matters are very high profile at the moment, the staff working at a polling station will be making sure that their part of the election works.

They have no influence over any of the policies and any comments people may have about Europe should not be directed at them.

So, if you decide to vote in this election the question on the ballot paper will ask you to choose candidates that will represent the East Midlands Region in the European Parliament that includes Leicester, Northamptonshire & Blaby, Nottingham & Leicestershire North West, Nottinghamshire North & Chesterfield, and parts of Lincolnshire & Humberside South, Peak District, and Staffordshire East & Derby.

Please also be aware that in some areas of Bassetlaw you may be asked to vote at a different polling station than the one you are used to as we have combined a number of polling stations.

Please look out for your European Parliamentary Election poll card that will contain this information.