1. ITV Report

22 facts you didn't know about the European Elections

An EU flag hangs outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels Photo: Reuter\Francois Lenoir

The upcoming European Elections taking place 22-25 May across the EU will elect 766 MEPs to represent 500 million citizens.

Here is a list of 22 interesting facts about the election process.

  1. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was a Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands between 1999 and 2004 - the first Liberal parliamentarian elected in the East Midlands since Ernest Pickering in Leicester West in 1931.

  2. Actor Michael Cashman, who played Dr Colin Russell on Eastenders, has been a Labour MEP for the West Midlands between 1999 and 2014.

  3. European elections are held every five years and all 28 countries in the EU vote between Thursday and Sunday for 751 new MEPs, with results declared from Sunday night onwards.

  4. The West Midlands has seven MEPs and the East Midlands has five MEPs.

  5. Each party standing in the European Elections can spend £225,000 in the East Midlands and £315,000 in the West Midlands on the campaign in the four months leading up to polling day.

  6. The first elections to the European Parliament were held in 1979. Since 1999 the UK has used a closed list system of proportional representation to elect its MEPs.

  7. In December 2011 the UK gained an extra MEP because of the Treaty of Lisbon which was allocated to the West Midlands - with Conservative Anthea McIntyre taking the seat because of the votes cast in 2009.

  8. In European elections in the UK electors vote for parties rather than individual candidates. Each party then lists its candidates in the order they want them elected.

  9. If a UK MEP dies or retires there is no by-election - the next candidate on the party list is invited to take their place for the rest of the parliament as happened when West Midlands Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne stood down in 2011 and was replaced by Phil Bennion.

  10. The method of calculating the distribution of seats after the votes are counted is named after a nineteenth century Belgian Mathematician, Victor D’Hondt.

  11. In the last European elections in 2009 turnout varied between 95.6% in Luxembourg and 19.6% in Slovakia - UK turnout was 34.7% which is just below the average of 43%. It was 37.4% in the East Midlands and 35% in the West Midlands.

  12. In 2004 the East Midlands was one of four English regions - the others were the North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humber - which had all postal vote elections. The four regions also had the highest turnouts in England in that election.

  13. Every party standing in a region has to pay a deposit of £5,000 which is refunded as long as they get at least 2.5% of the vote locally.

  14. British citizens living in other EU countries are eligible to vote there and likewise EU nationals living in the East and West Midlands can vote in the election in our region.

  15. EU citizens are eligible to stand in these elections in any of the 28 EU nations, unless local laws ban them from standing in national elections - which means that Hungarian police officers, Spanish TV directors and Austrian bank directors are banned from standing in either the East or West Midlands.

  16. You cannot be a member of the European Parliament and be a member of a national parliament which meant Green MEP Caroline Lucas had to stand down after she became the MP for Brighton Pavilion in the 2010 General Election.

  17. The European Parliament's 766 MEPs are to be reduced to 751 at the election. At present Germany has the largest group with 99 MEPs followed by France with 74, and the UK and Italy with 73. Ireland has 12 MEPs and the smallest groups are Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg and Malta with six each.

  18. The European Parliament employs 700 full-time translators and 430 staff interpreters to deal with the 23 official languages in the parliament - this accounts for a third of the parliament’s 1.7 billion Euro annual expenditure.

  19. There are almost 200 different political parties represented in the European Parliament - 12 of them from the UK.

  20. The votes will be counted in local council areas on Sunday May 25 with the results sent to the regional returning officers in Kettering for the East Midlands and Birmingham for the West Midlands where the results will be calculated and the seats allocated.

  21. Voters must register by May 6 in order to be able to vote on May 22 and the deadline for applying for a postal vote is 5pm on May 7.

  22. Parties will be listed alphabetically on the ballot paper (with the list of candidates under the party name), followed by an alphabetical list of any individual candidates. Electors vote by placing one cross next to the party or individual they wish to vote for.