Five of the 61 candidates standing in the EU elections on May 23 are from the Lancaster and Morecambe area.
Claire Cozler (Labour), Gina Dowding (Green), Erica Lewis (Labour), Rosie Mills (Green), and Philippa Olive (Change UK) have put themselves forward for election to the European Parliament for the North West region.
There are eight seats available in the North West.
Here, the four candidates from Lancaster and Morecambe tell us why they are standing as an MEP.
You can find the full list of North West candidates below.
CLAIRE COZLER: Labour Party Candidate
As a councillor for the last four years, I’ve seen first hand the havoc that has been wrought on our area by austerity, benefit cuts, Universal Credit, and a Tory ideology that cares more for money than people. The Tories’ chaotic handling of Brexit has put everyone at risk. Labour want to invest in our local economy, invest in the North-West’s economy and make a future that is fair for everyone in our area, a real, long-term, plan for the future. They want to build affordable homes, cut class sizes, put bobbies back on the beat, and support the NHS and social care, and set up Regional Development Banks to invest in a high-skill, high-wage economy.
Labour are working on trying to change things to get a deal that works for everyone, but time is running out. It has to be the right deal, that protects workers’ rights and protections, and environmental standards, not a deal where the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. They know that a no-deal would be bad for everyone. With no trading agreements and high tariffs, it would make people even poorer, and cause astronomical cost-of-living rises.Poorer families and the most vulnerable will be the worst affected, and are already struggling under the yoke of austerity. Our young people feel as if they have no future. I don’t want to see them struggle even more. At this point, Labour would refute ownership of a bad Tory Brexit deal that would work for no-one, and if no General Election is triggered, go for a second Peoples’ Vote, to ask the country what they really want.
I want what is right for our Country and our area, that is why I am standing to be your MEP.”
GINA DOWDING: Green Party Candidate
“These elections may be amongst the most important in history; we stand at a pivotal point where serious issues demand immediate and effective action.
The escalating climate catastrophe, our relationships with neighbours near and far, the desperate needs of those enduring the worst effects of austerity, and cuts to our vital public services including bit-by-bit privatisation of our NHS; these are the issues that matter right now.
If we don’t address them, the future is far worse than the already damaged present.
I’m proud to be standing for the Green Party, because it is Green policies that will take back control for ordinary people. Everyone agrees that Brexit is a mess and that the business-as-usual Westminster parties have failed to sort it.
The Green Party has led on the campaign to give people a chance to vote on the final deal with Europe, including an option to stay in the EU.
UK Greens are part of a much larger Green group in the European Parliament.
European Greens have brought about hugely important changes like the forth-coming European ban on single-use plastics; and have led the fight against corporate tax-dodgers.
If elected as an MEP, I will work to create partnerships and projects that nourish the diverse communities of our region.
As a Councillor and campaigner for many years, my passion is to work for a fairer, greener economy.
The Green Party is safe hands for the environment, caring hands for those in need, and strong hands when power is needed to defend our values, safety and prospects for a brighter future.”
ERICA LEWIS: Labour Party Candidate
“I’m running to be a Labour Member of the European Parliament because I passionately believe there are many challenges we face as a country that are better addressed as a community rather than on our own, including the climate emergency and workers’ rights.
Cooperating with Europe rather than fighting against it is also crucial for our education, agricultural, and tourism sectors, all of which are vital to our area.
Labour respects the outcome of the referendum, but we must stand against a Tory Brexit that weakens workers’ rights and environmental regulations, risks selling out our beloved NHS to American multinational health firms, and floods our market with substandard foods such as chlorinated chicken.
Labour will continue to oppose the Tories’ bad deal, and a disastrous no deal, and if the Government won’t change their bad deal or call a general election, then we should have a public vote.
I led Lancaster Labour’s Remain campaign in the last referendum, and if there is another referendum, I would again volunteer to be part of the leadership of Lancaster’s Remain campaign.
I’ve been a community, Labour and union activist for more than 25 years, and I’m in no doubt that we are stronger when we act in solidarity.
We should stand in solidarity with everyone fighting for social and environmental justice and human rights across Europe.
If Labour voters sit this election out, we risk allowing the far right to take a seat and claim that they are representative of the North West.
We must not allow this election to be a victory for their message of intolerance and hate.”
ROSIE MILLS: Green Party Candidate
“I am really excited and proud to have been selected as a Green Party candidate for the European Elections on 23rd May.
Being 18, I am probably the youngest candidate standing in the UK and feel privileged to stand alongside the brilliant Gina Dowding.
Currently, I am a full-time student studying for my A-levels at LGGS, and when I was approached by the North West Green Party to stand, I realised that it would be a great opportunity for me, and also it would hopefully make more young people get engaged in politics and vote.
We need to make sure that young people’s voices are heard, and I would want to represent the young people (and indeed all people) who care about the future of our planet and want a more equal society.
My commitment to the Green cause, and in particular in combatting climate change, has led to many actions already: I volunteer with the local Green Party; I was involved in persuading Lancaster City Council to declare a climate emergency by starting a petition and addressing full council; I helped to start a local group called Lancaster Youth for Environment; I have organised local climate strikes and have changed my own personal behaviours – i.e. by becoming vegan and reducing my plastic use.
As a family we have already done many things to reduce our carbon footprint, so for example, we do not fly to go on holiday and buy our electricity from renewable sources.”
PHILIPPA OLIVE: Change UK Candidate: I am nurse from Lancashire, living in Garstang. I’m standing in the European Elections because I want to represent the people of the North West and shape the future of our country at this critical time. I am standing for Change UK because it is a Remain party that will stand up for your, and our country’s best interests, to deliver a strong, safe and prosperous UK.
Brexit is a mess and the main political parties have been unable to solve it. It has already caused damage to our economy, industry and health service. Businesses are leaving the UK causing thousands of job losses. The NHS has lost more than 5,000 nurse and midwives, worsening NHS staff shortages and our supply of medicine is under threat. This is not project fear, it is Brexit reality. A lot has changed since 2016, we now know the harm that Brexit will cause our country. This is why Change UK wants a People’s Vote, to remain in the European Union and to reform it from within.
Change UK brings people together from across different political parties who share the same values and want policies that are evidence, not ideologically, based and focused on the delivering the best for our diverse peoples. Change UK MEP’s will support business, create jobs and protect workers’ rights, prioritise the environment and rigorous climate change targets, defend the free movement of people and fight for a highly skilled NHS with access to the best medicines and research.
In the North West more than five million people will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives in the European Parliament (known as Members of the European Parliament or MEPs). There are eight seats available in the North West.
The European Parliamentary elections use a form of proportional representation. Voters have one vote only, and this can be cast for either a political party or an independent candidate. Each political party puts forward a list of candidates and the number of MEPs that are elected from each party to represent the North West will depend on the overall share of the vote that party receives.
MEPs represent the whole of the North West region and so everybody who is eligible to vote in the region will be voting for the same list of parties and candidates.
The results of the election cannot be declared until all polls have closed across Europe and so the results of the elections in the North West will be declared after 10pm on Sunday 26 May.
Here is the full list of candidates for the North West:
CHANGE UK - THE INDEPENDENT GROUP
Arun Rammoy Colin Banerji
Michael Stewart Taylor
Victoria Ann Desmond
Andrew Paul Graystone
Elisabeth Malisa Knight
CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY
Sajjad Haider Karim
Kevin Michael Beaty
Jane Elizabeth Ann Howard
Thomas Baxter Lord
Attika Salim Choudhary
ENGLISH DEMOCRATS - “PUTTING ENGLAND FIRST!”
Wendy Kay Olsen
Jessica Ayesha Northey
Geraldine Philomena Coggins
Rosie Mae Mills
Daniel Adam Jerrome
James Andrew Booth
Theresa Mary Griffin
Julie Carolyn Ward
Wajid Iltaf Khan
Erica Ruth Estelle Lewis
David John Brennan
Claire Emily Cozler
Yvonne Marion Tennant
Jane Elisabeth Brophy
Anna Corrina Fryer
Rebecca Ann Forrest
Frederick Van Mierlo
THE BREXIT PARTY
Claire Regina Fox
Henrik Eyser Overgaard Nielsen
David Richard Bull
Gary Walter Harvey
Elizabeth Oyedoyin Babade
Sally Ann Bate
John Howard Kelly
UK EUROPEAN UNION PARTY (UKEUP)
Sophie Catherine Larroque
UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY (UKIP)
Adam Fox McCloud Richardson
Fiona Rachel Mills
Nathan Alan Ryding
Michael James Felse
Ben Robert Fryer
John Charles Booker
Alexander Alan Craig
MOHMMAD ASLAM - INDEPENDENT