In John Redwood’s latest diary he points out that not having to hold elections for the European Parliament will save the UK taxpayer £109 million!
The government has made clear no money should be spent on the next set of European elections by UK authorities by making the following statement:
In a recent answer to Parliament, they said:
“Following the EU Referendum and the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017, the UK will cease to be a member of the European Union on 29th March 2019. At that point, we will no longer sit at the European Council table or in the Council of Ministers and we will no longer have Members of the European Parliament. We will therefore not be taking part in the European Parliamentary elections in 2019 which are currently scheduled to be held from 23rd to 26th May 2019.
Given this, the Government does not consider it is necessary or a prudent use of taxpayers’ money for Returning Officers and electoral administrators to make the usual preparations for the conduct of a European Parliamentary poll in 2019. The Government does not intend to make an Order setting the date of the poll for the European Parliamentary elections in 2019.
We also do not intend to undertake the usual preparations for Information Exchange between the UK and the Member States in respect of EU citizens (including UK citizens) living in another Member State.
In due course, the intention is to repeal the underlying pieces of legislation providing for the holding of European Parliamentary elections in the UK under the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Once that Bill has Royal Assent, all associated legislation will be repealed through Parliament by means of a Statutory Instrument made under powers in the Bill. We estimate that not holding European Parliamentary elections will save British taxpayers at least £109 million next year; this is in addition to the cost of the British contribution to the EU budget” (Hansard, 14 May 2018, PQ 143730, link).
The Government has already written to every local authority Returning Officer to inform them of the cancellation of these elections. It is the Government’s position that it would go against our duties to taxpayers for any public body to spend money on such unnecessary administration.
The Electoral Commission is not accountable to the Government, but to Parliament, but I have written to the Electoral Commission to underline the Government’s clear advice to election administrators.”