The European Union

European Union LogoAlthough the UK has voted to leave the European Union, it's important to realise that we are still a member, at least for the timebeing. We should also remember that North Hertfordshire is one of the most pro-EU parts of the country, having voted 54.4% in favour of Remain in the 2016 referendum.

North Hertfordshire is part of the UK's 'Eastern Region' for the purposes of European parliamentary elections. This region covers Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk. The Eastern Region has seven seats in the European Parliament. Elections to the Parliament are held every five years, with the next one due in 2019. As a region we are currently represented by three members from the Conservative Party, three members from UKIP, and one member from the Labour Party. The voting system in these election is 'Closed List Proportional Representation', which means that you vote for a political party rather than an individual.

The European Parliament exercises the legislative function of the EU. It has control over the EU's budget, holds the European Commission (the executive) to account, elects the President of the Commission, and can pass Europe-wide legislation.

Once elected, members of the European Parliament sit as part of large multi-party groups. The two largest groups are currently the European People's Party, and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (which includes the UK Labour Party). Liberal Democrats sit as part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, which currently holds 70 seats.

The European Parliament has two primary places of work - Brussels (Belgium) and Strasbourg (France).