VOTERS go to the polls next month in the largest election in European history.
More than 400m people across the continent are eligible to vote in the European Parliament poll between June 4 and June 7.
People in Huddersfield will help elect six Euro-MPs to represent Yorkshire in Brussels.
Labour topped the poll in the region at the last poll in 2004, winning two seats.
Richard Corbett is hoping to be re-elected in the vote on June 4.
The Leeds man admitted that the Government’s problems could hurt Labour. Mr Corbett said: “If people vote on national issues, we could get a bloody nose. If they focus on what is really at stake we will do very well.”
Mr Corbett added that the European Parliament’s laws had an impact on people’s lives.
He said: “Most of the European Union’s (EU) legislation is about setting common rules for a common market in areas like food labelling, capping roaming charges on mobile phones and your rights if you get bounced off a flight because the airline has overbooked.
“The question for voters is: do you want an unregulated free-for-all or do you want a common market with rules?”
The Conservatives came second in the 2004 poll and also won two seats.
Timothy Kirkhope from Knaresborough is seeking re-election in next month’s poll. He said: “We hope to win a third seat in Yorkshire but we’re not being complacent.”
Mr Kirkhope said the Conservatives are focusing on labour laws.
He said: “We want people to be able to choose how long they work. The Government agrees with us but Labour MEPs vote the other way.”
Mr Kirkhope added that the expenses row in Westminster would effect the European election.
He said: “It will effect all politicians because people don’t differentiate. But MEPs don’t have the same expenses as people in Westminster. We don’t have expenses for housing and furnishing and domestic items – and I’m very pleased about that.”
Diana Wallis – whose Lib Dem party came third in Yorkshire and won one seat last time – agrees.
She said: “I’m aghast at what’s happening in Westminster. There’s not the possibility for us to make those sort of claims even if we wanted to. We don’t own second homes, we stay in hotels or rented apartments.
“In European Parliament terms, I’ve spent a lot of time making sure our systems of expenses is as abuse-free as possible.”
Ms Wallis added: “The big problem is persuading people that these elections are about deciding the shape of the European Parliament, not about domestic things.”
Godfrey Bloom, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Euro-MP for Yorkshire, agrees that Europe should be the main issue in this election.
He said: “Most people don’t understand how much of our lives are ruled from Brussels. Whatever your beef is – immigration, wind turbines, bin collections or post office closures – can be traced to an EU directive.”
Mr Bloom added that his party’s desire for Britain to leave the EU is shared by most people.
He said: “Every poll taken in the last five years has shown around 60% of people want to leave the EU and join the European Free Trade Area. If people vote according to their hearts, I can’t fail to hold the seat.”
The other parties contesting the Yorkshire region in this year’s vote are: The BNP, the Christian Party, the English Democrats, Jury Team, No2EU: Yes to Democracy, Libertas, Socialist Labour Party and the Greens.
There are three Huddersfield candidates on party lists: Paul McEnhill from Skelmanthorpe for the English Democrats; Kirklees councillor Jackie Grunsell from Crosland Moor for No2EU: Yes to Democracy and Golcar candidate Lesley Hedges for the Greens.