2009 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom

The European Parliament election was the United Kingdom's component of the 2009 European Parliament election, the voting for which was held on Thursday 4 June 2009. The election was held concurrently with the 2009 local elections in England. In total, 72 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom using proportional representation.

2009 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom

4 June 2009

All 72 of the United Kingdom's seats
in the European Parliament
Turnout34.7%[1] 3.8%
  First party Second party
Leader David Cameron Nigel Farage
Party Conservative UKIP
Alliance ECR EFD
Leader since 6 December 2005 12 September 2006
Last election 27 seats, 25.9% 12 seats, 15.6%
Seats before 25 12
Seats won 26 13
Seat change 1* 1*
Popular vote 4,281,286 2,498,226
Percentage 27.4% 16.0%
Swing 1.0% 0.4%

  Third party Fourth party
Leader Gordon Brown Nick Clegg
Party Labour Liberal Democrats
Alliance S&D ALDE
Leader since 24 June 2007 18 December 2007
Last election 19 seats, 21.9% 12 seats, 14.4%
Seats before 18 10
Seats won 13 11
Seat change 5* 1*
Popular vote 2,381,760 2,080,613
Percentage 15.2% 13.3%
Swing 6.6% 1.1%

Map of the results indicating the seats won in each region by party *Seat change has been adjusted to allow for direct comparison with the results from the 2004 election.[2]
(including 1 UCUNF)
Notional results

Leader of largest party before election

David Cameron

Subsequent leader of largest party

David Cameron

Part of a series of articles on the
British membership
of the
European Union
United Kingdom portal
European Union portal

Notable outcomes were the significant drop in support for the Labour Party, who came third, and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) finishing second in a major election for the first time in its history, coming level with Labour in terms of seats but ahead of them in terms of votes. This was the first time in British electoral history that a party in government had been outpolled in a national election by a party with no representation in the House of Commons. The British National Party BNP also won two seats, its first ever in a nationwide election.[3] It also marked the first time the Scottish National Party (SNP) won the largest share of the European election vote in Scotland,[4] and it was the first time since 1918 Labour had failed to come first in a Welsh election.[5] It was the Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) worst ever European election result, and also the first time an Irish Republican party, Sinn Féin, topped the poll in Northern Ireland.[6]


Electoral system

The United Kingdom elected 72 Members of the European Parliament using proportional representation. The United Kingdom was divided into twelve multi-member constituencies. The eleven of these regions which form Great Britain used a closed-list party list system method of proportional representation, calculated using the D'Hondt method. Northern Ireland used the Single Transferable Vote (STV).

The experimental use of all-postal ballots in four regions in 2004 was not repeated, resulting in a sharp reduction in turnout in those regions.[7]

Constituencies and representation

As has been the case since 1999, the electoral constituencies were based on the government's nine English regions, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, creating a total of 12 constituencies. The Treaty of Nice fixed the number of MEPs for the whole European Parliament at 736; as a consequence of the accession of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, the number of seats allocated to the United Kingdom was reduced from 78 to 72. If the Lisbon Treaty had entered into force by June 2009 this figure would have been 73. On 31 July 2007, in line with the required reduction in representation from the United Kingdom the number of members elected from each region was modified by the Boundary Commission and Electoral Commission, based on the size of the electorate in each region. The recommended changes were approved by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 2008.[8]

Changes in regional seat allocations[9]

in 2004
in 2009
Net Gain/Loss
East Midlands 6 5 1
East of England 7 7
London 9 8 1
North East England 3 3
North West England 9 8 1
Northern Ireland 3 3
Scotland 7 6 1
South East England 10 10
South West England1 7 6 1
Wales 4 4
West Midlands 7 6 1
Yorkshire and the Humber 6 6
Overall 78 72 6

1Includes Gibraltar, the only British overseas territory which is part of the EU.

MEPs retiring




Liberal Democrat


  • Den Dover (North West England) – Former Conservative MEP, expelled over his expenses.
  • Robert Kilroy-Silk (East Midlands) – Former UKIP MEP, created new party Veritas.[10]
  • Ashley Mote (South East England) – Former UKIP MEP, expelled for expenses fraud for which he was later jailed.[11]
  • Tom Wise (East of England) – Former UKIP MEP, expelled for expenses fraud for which he was later jailed.[12]

Opinion polls

In the run up to the election, several polling organisations carried out public opinion polling in regards to voting intentions in Great Britain. Results of such polls are displayed below.

ComRes, ICM, Populus and YouGov are members of the British Polling Council, and abide by its disclosure rules. BPIX is not a member of the BPC, and does not publish detailed methodology and findings.


Polling organisation/client Con Lab UKIP Lib Dem Green BNP Others Lead
4 June 2009 EU Election, 2009 (GB Result) 27.7% 15.7% 16.5% 13.7% 8.6% 6.2% 11.6% 11.2%
03/06/09YouGov/Daily Telegraph26%16%18%15%10%5%10%8%
31/05/09ComRes/Green Party24%22%17%14%15%2%6%2%
29/05/09YouGov/Daily Telegraph27%17%16%15%9%7%9%10%
28/05/09ICM/Sunday Telegraph29%17%10%20%11%5%8%9%
16/05/09YouGov/Daily Telegraph28%22%15%17%7%5%5%6%
16/05/09BPIX/Mail on Sunday30%17%17%15%N/A5%16%13%
09/05/09BPIX/Mail on Sunday[13]36%23%10%16%N/AN/A15%13%
08/05/09YouGov/Sunday Times36%25%7%20%4%4%7%11%
10 June 2004 EU Election, 2004 (GB results only) 26.7% 22.6% 16.1% 14.9% 6.3% 4.9% 8.5% 4.1%


United Kingdom

Conservative 4,281,28627.41.026136.1
UKIP 2,498,22616.00.413118.1
Labour 2,381,76015.26.613518.1
Liberal Democrats 2,080,61313.31.111115.3
Green 1,223,3037.82.222.8
BNP 943,5986.01.32 22.8
SNP 321,0072.10.722.8
English Democrat 279,8011.81.00
Christian/CPA1 249,4931.61.30
Socialist Labour 173,1151.1New0
NO2EU 153,2361.0New0
Plaid Cymru 126,7020.80.111.4
Sinn Féin 126,1840.811.4
DUP 88,3460.60.511.4
Scottish Green 80,4420.50
Jury Team 78,5690.5New0
SDLP 78,4890.50
UK First 74,0070.5New0
Libertas 73,5440.5New0
TUV 66,1970.4New0
Jan Jananayagam (Ind.) 50,0140.3New0
Pensioners 37,7850.20
Alliance 26,6990.2New0
Green (NI) 15,7640.10.10
Mebyon Kernow 14,9220.1New0
Animals Count 13,2010.1New0
Scottish Socialist 10,4040.10.30
Duncan Robertson (Ind.) 10,1890.1New0
Peter Rigby (Ind.) 9,9160.1New0
Peace 9,5340.10
Katie Hopkins (Ind.) 8,9710.1New0
Fair Play Fair Trade Party 7,1510.0New0
Roman Party 5,4500.0New0
Steven Cheung (Ind.) 4,9180.0New0
Socialist (GB) 4,0500.0New0
Francis Apaloo (Ind.) 3,6210.0New0
Yes 2 Europe 3,3840.0New0
Sohale Rahman (Ind.) 3,2480.0New0
Gene Alcantara (Ind.) 1,9720.0New0
Haroon Saad (Ind.) 1,6030.0New0
Wai D 7890.0New0
Total 15,621,503726100

Includes Ulster Conservatives and Unionists (82,892 votes, 1 MEP).

As the number of seats was reduced, these are notional changes estimated by the BBC.

1Joint ticket, ran in England as: The Christian Party - Christian Peoples Alliance.

Vote share
UK Independence
Liberal Democrat
British National
Scottish National
English Democrats
Christian Peoples
Socialist Labour
Plaid Cymru
Sinn Féin
Democratic Unionist
UK Independence
Liberal Democrat
British National
Scottish National
Plaid Cymru
Sinn Féin
Democratic Unionist

Great Britain

Turnout In Great Britain was 34.3%, with 15,137,202 votes out of a total electorate of 44,171,778.[7] Most of the results of the election were announced on Sunday 7 June, after similar elections were held in the other 26 member states of the European Union. Scotland declared its result on Monday 8 June, as counting in the Western Isles was delayed due to observance of the Sabbath.

Great Britain kept to the European wide trend towards the right.[3] The Labour Party, which was in its twelfth year as government of the United Kingdom, suffered a significant drop in support polling third, and UKIP finishing second in a major election for the first time in its history, coming level with Labour in terms of seats but ahead of them in terms of votes. This was the first time in British electoral history that a party in government had been out polled in a national election by a party with no representation in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives won in every region in Great Britain except the North East, where Labour won, and Scotland, where the SNP won.[7] Labour suffered most notably in Cornwall, where it came sixth behind Mebyon Kernow, and in the wider South West region and South East where it polled fifth behind the Green Party.[14] The BNP won two seats, their first ever in a national election. The share of the vote achieved by the English Democrats doubled.[15]

The turnout in Scotland was the lowest in the United Kingdom at 28.8%, with 1,104,512 votes out of a total electorate of 3,872,975.[7] In Scotland it was the first time the SNP won the largest share of the European election vote.[16] The SNP share of the vote rose by 9.4% points compared to 2004, this was the biggest positive swing for any party in any region in Great Britain.[7]

In Wales it was the first time since 1918 that Labour had failed to come first in a Welsh election, dropping 12.2%. In Wales, the Conservative Party topped the poll with the nationalist Plaid Cymru coming a close third. UKIP took the fourth Welsh seat, the first time Wales had elected a UKIP MEP.[17] Both the Liberal Democrat and the Green Party polled their lowest regional shares in Wales, though Wales was the only region where the Liberal Democrat share of the vote rose compared with 2004.[7]

Summary of the election results for Great Britain[18]

PartyVotes won% of vote% Plus/
vs actual
'04 result
vs notional
'04 result†
Seats %
Conservative 4,198,39427.7% 1.025 2 137.7
UKIP 2,498,22616.5% 0.413 1 118.8
Labour 2,381,76015.7% 6.913 6 518.8
Liberal Democrats 2,080,61313.7% 1.211 1 115.9
Green 1,223,3038.1% 2.322.9
BNP 943,5986.2% 1.32 2 22.9
SNP 321,0072.1% 0.722.9
English Democrat 279,8011.8% 1.100
Christian/Christian Peoples Alliance1 249,4931.6% 1.300
Socialist Labour 173,1151.1%New00
NO2EU 153,2361.0%New00
Plaid Cymru 126,7020.8% 0.111.4
Scottish Green 80,4420.5%00
Jury Team 78,5690.5%New00
UK First 74,0070.5%New00
Libertas 73,5440.5%New00
Jan Jananayagam (Independent) 50,0140.3%New00
Pensioners 37,7850.2%00
Mebyon Kernow 14,9220.1%New00
Animals Count 13,2010.1%New00
Scottish Socialist 10,4040.1% 0.300
Duncan Robertson (Independent) 10,1890.1%New00
Peter Rigby (Independent) 9,9160.1%New00
Peace 9,5340.1%00
Katie Hopkins (Independent) 8,9710.1%New00
Fair Play Fair Trade Party 7,1510.0%New00
Roman Party 5,4500.0%New00
Steven Cheung (Independent) 4,9180.0%New00
Socialist (GB) 4,0500.0%New00
Francis Apaloo (Independent) 3,6210.0%New00
Yes 2 Europe 3,3840.0%New00
Sohale Rahman (Independent) 3,2480.0%New00
Gene Alcantara (Independent) 1,9720.0%New00
Haroon Saad (Independent) 1,6030.0%New00
Wai D 7890.0%New00
Total 15,136,93269 6100

†Seat change has been adjusted to allow for direct comparison with the results from the 2004 election

1Joint ticket, ran in England as: The Christian Party - Christian Peoples Alliance.


Gibraltar is a British overseas territory (BOT) and therefore is under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom but does not form part of it.[19] Gibraltar is however, part of the EU, the only BOT to be so, and participated as part of the South West England constituency.

Turnout was 35% in Gibraltar, below the 39% for the South West England electoral region as a whole and significantly lower than the turnout in Gibraltar in 2004.[20]

The Conservatives won with 53.3% of the votes. Labour narrowly retained second place achieving 19% to the Liberal Democrats' 18.2%.[20]

PartyVotes wonVote share (%)Change (%)
Conservative3,72153.3 16.2
Labour1,32819.0 9.6
Liberal Democrats1,26918.2 10.6
Green2243.2 5.5
UKIP1001.4 0.3
BNP941.4 0.5
Socialist Labour560.8New
English Democrat370.5New
Independent - Katie Hopkins150.2New
Mebyon Kernow80.1New
Fair Pay Fair Trade80.1New
Jury Team60.1New
Wai D Your Decision40.1New

Northern Ireland

It was the DUP's worst ever European election result: the party had previously topped the poll in every European election in Northern Ireland since the first one in 1979.[6] It was also the first time an Irish Republican topped the poll with Bairbre de Brun of Sinn Féin coming first with 125,000 votes. The share of the votes for most parties in Northern Ireland remained essentially unchanged, the main exceptions were the DUP where their share of the vote fell by 13.8%, and the TUV, a party created by former DUP MEP Jim Allister whose share of the vote rose 13.7%.[7] The DUP's decreased vote share was largely blamed on the TUV splitting the vote.

Summary of the election results for Northern Ireland[21]

Party Candidate Seats Loss/GainFirst Preference Votes
Number % of vote
Sinn Féin Bairbre de Brún10126,18425.8
DUP Diane Dodds1088,34618.1
UCU-NF Jim Nicholson1082,89217.0
SDLP Alban Maginness0078,48916.1
TUV Jim Allister0066,19713.5
Alliance Ian Parsley0026,6995.5
Green (NI) Steven Agnew0015,7643.2

Incumbents defeated


Traditional Unionist Voice


Gordon Brown faced calls for him to resign as Prime Minister after Labour's defeat.[14]

During the 2005 Conservative Party leadership election David Cameron argued for withdrawal of the Conservatives from EPP-ED and the formation of a new group. After the European election it was announced that the Conservatives were leaving the EPP-ED and forming a new group the European Conservatives and Reformists.[24] On 22 June 2009, the first official list of the new group's members was released.[25] On 24 June, the group held its inaugural meeting, in which Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope was named interim leader.[26] The first election for the group leadership was also scheduled for 14 July, pitting interim leader Kirkhope against fellow Briton Geoffrey Van Orden.[27] However, both Conservative leadership candidates were forced to forfeit the leadership in order to prevent it from falling apart, when then-Conservative MEP Edward McMillan-Scott defied his party whip and stood for one of the vice-presidency posts despite pledges the previous week that Polish MEP Michal Kaminski would be backed for it. Kaminski's bid for Vice-President of the European Parliament subsequently failed, and the Poles threatened to abandon the new caucus unless Kaminski was made the group leader in the parliament.[28]

Similarly, UKIP helped found a new European Parliament Group: Europe of Freedom and Democracy after the other parties in UKIP's pre-election European parliamentary grouping, Independence/Democracy had polled badly.[29]

Summary of the post-election European Parliament Groupings of each party

EP Group MEPs UK Party MEPs
European Conservatives and Reformists 26 Conservative 25
Conservatives and Unionists 1
Europe of Freedom and Democracy 13 UKIP 13
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats 13 Labour 13
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe 11 Liberal Democrats 11
The Greens–European Free Alliance 5 Green Party of England and Wales 2
Scottish National Party 2
Plaid Cymru 1
European United Left-Nordic Green Left 1 Sinn Féin 1
Non-Inscrits 3 British National Party 2
Democratic Unionist 1

See also


  1. "Previous European Parliamentary Elections – About Parliament". European Parliament. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  2. "European Election: United Kingdom Result". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  3. "Voters steer Europe to the right". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  4. "Salmond hails 'historic' Euro win". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  5. "Tories top European poll in Wales". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  6. "DUP's worst ever Euro poll result". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  7. Research Paper 09/53 European Parliament elections 2009, House of Commons Library, 17 June 2009
  8. "The European Parliament (Number of MEPs and Distribution between Electoral Regions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) Order 2008 No. 1954". Opsi.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
  9. "Distribution between electoral regions of UK MEPs (PDF)" (PDF).
  10. "Kilroy-Silk to leave European Parliament" Archived 10 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, This Is Nottingham
  11. Staff reporter (9 May 2009). "Euro MP to stand down". The News. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-19. MEP Ashley Mote is giving up his South East seat, but says he will continue to fight against the European Union.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) (Archived by WebCite at )
  12. Lewis, Alex (22 April 2009). "MEP facing criminal charges will not stand again". Watford Observer. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  13. "European Elections polling data". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  14. "David Cameron renews general election call after Labour's European flop". the Guardian. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  15. "English Democrats votes doubled". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  16. "Salmond hails 'historic' Euro win". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  17. "Tories top European poll in Wales". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  18. "European Election: United Kingdom Result". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  19. The 14 Territories
  20. Reyes, Brian (8 June 2009). "Landslide for Tories, Disappointment for Labour". Gibraltar Chronicle. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08.Reyes, Brian (8 June 2009). "Landslide for Tories, Disappointment for Labour". Gibraltar Chronicle. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009. (Archived by WebCite at )
  21. "European election 2009". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  22. "Electoral Office for Northern Ireland – Turnout" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011.
  23. "New unionist group to be launched". BBC News. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  24. Charter, David (15 May 2009). "David Cameron's new European allies set to include odd bedfellows". The Times. London. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  25. "Conservative MEPs form new group". BBC. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  26. Banks, Martin (25 March 2009). "Tory MEP voices 'real concern' over new European grouping". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  27. Banks, Martin (9 July 2009). "British Tories fight it out for leadership of new Eurosceptic group". Theparliament.com. Archived from the original on 24 July 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
  28. Ian Traynor in Strasbourg (15 July 2009). "Tories give up EU parliamentary leadership of Eurosceptic group | Politics". guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  29. Phillips, Leigh (30 June 2009). "Ukip, Lega Nord form hard-right bloc in EU Parliament". EU Observer. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
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