Thursday, May 22 is the day of the European Elections - the only time outside of a general election when all 46 million UK voters can take part.
The day will be your chance to choose your directly-elected representative in Brussels and Strasbourg.
So here’s a bedfordtoday guide to the ten parties putting forward candidates in the East of England region, in alphabetical order:
An Independence from Europe - UK Independence Now:
Defines itself as a Euro-realist party vowing to take the UK out of Europe without recourse to a referendum. Also wants to scrap VAT and establish deeper links with the Commonwealth.
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Paul Wiffen.
British National Party:
Demands the UK withdraw from Europe whilst preserving trade with European nations, and ‘fighting unsustainable housing because we care’. Describes itself as ‘the true patriots of British politics.’
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Richard Perry. 2009 percentage of votes: 6.2% with two MEPs elected.
Christain People’s Alliance:
Insists on EU reforms to portray “Christian vision” of its founders. If this is not achieved it wants the UK to remove itself from Europe.
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Carl Clark.
The official Conservative website states they are focusing on their undertaking to hold a referendum on Europe in 2017.
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Vicky Ford. 2009 percentage of votes: 27.7% with 25 MEPs elected.
Promises to ‘look after English interests’. Maintains it is inequitable to levy prescription fees and tuition charges on the English people when there is free provision for these services in other parts of the UK.
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Robin Tilbrook.
Wants to “make a real difference” on topics such as fishing policies and bankers’ bonuses. The Greens say European policy “does not need to be a shouting match”.
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Rupert Read. 2009 percentage of votes: 8.6% with two MEPs elected.
Aiming to put ‘jobs and growth’ at the heart of the EU and campaigning for change within the EU. Also pledged to cap rent increases in the private sector, scrap letting fees to estate agents and give a ‘fairer deal’ to tenants. Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Richard Howitt. 2009 result: 15.7% of votes with 13 MEPs elected.
Liberal Democrats: Portrays itself as the party of “optimism and openness” versus the “fears and falsehoods” of “isolationists”. Their official website proclaims the “fight is on” to keep the UK in Europe.
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Andrew Duff. 2009 percentage of votes: 13.7% with 11 MEPs elected.
No2EU - Yes to Democracy:
Wants to stage a referendum on membership of the EU. Against privatisation, ‘yes to workers’ rights’ and improved public services.
Frontline candidate for the Eastern Region: Brian Denny.
UK Independence Party:
Demanding an exit from the EU whilst emphasising control of UK borders. Frontline Candidate in the Eastern Region: Patrick O’Flynn. 2009 percentage of votes: 16.5% with 13 MEPs elected.