THOUSANDS of voters have gone to the polls today (THURS) across the South East for the 2014 local and European elections.
A total of 55 seats will be fought over by 237 candidates in local council wards in Adur and Worthing, Hastings and Crawley.
With polls closing at 10pm tonight it will be an anxious overnight wait for potential councillors.
And with both Labour and the Conservative Party using this year’s elections as a yard stick in preparation of next year’s Westminster election, many eyes will be looking closely at the result on Craw ley council with the Labour party labelling the parliamentary seat a key target in 2015.
But it’s the election to the European Parliament that is causing the biggest political buzz with Nigel Farage’s anti-EU party UKIP vowing to cause a “political earthquake” with many polls predicting his band of anti-establishment candidates will come out on top in the voting.
The latest YouGov poll, published on Monday ahead of today’s election, put UKIP on 31% nationally, ahead of Labour who are in second place with 25%.
The Green Party is also buoyed by recent polling, which shows in the South East they now stand on 14%, just 1% shy of gaining a second MEP in the area.
MEP candidate and current Brighton and Hove councillor for the Greens Alexandra Phillips, said: “Only the Greens are promising real change for the good.
“The other parties simply offer more of the same, with Labour and Conservatives fighting over which can cut welfare the most and which can privatise our schools and hospitals the quickest. Even UKIP, led by a former banker, is firmly locked into the old, failed ways of running the economy, even if it’s dangerously more extreme in other areas.”
Also looking to do well in this year’s EU parliamentary election is the Conservative party, which currently has the most sitting MEPs in the South East with five.
MEP Dan Hannan said he wanted to return to Brussels to fight to bring powers back to Westminster.
He added: “Nothing would make me happier than to lose my job as a result of the UK replacing EU membership with membership of a customs union. Until that day comes, I’ll carry on as I began, exposing and campaigning against excessive spending, blocking bad laws, seeking to return powers from Brussels to Westminster.”