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  1. ITV Report

Fictitious Welsh MEP 'better known' than most real ones

Lost in the crowd? There's no sign "Elwyn Davies" in the European Parliament but the four real Welsh MEPs often go unrecognised as well Photo: European Parliament

A completely fictitious person,"Elwyn Davies" is apparently the second-most widely recognised Welsh member of the European Parliament.

Researchers at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre surveyed more than 3,000 Welsh voters to test political attitudes and knowledge.

One question asked which, if any, of the following people are among Wales’ four representatives in the European Parliament. Here's the percentage score for each name:

  • Nathan Gill 16%
  • Elwyn Davies 12%
  • Jill Evans 11%
  • Derek Vaughan 9%
  • Kay Swinburne 6%
  • David Sherwood 5%
  • Lynn Goodwin 5%
  • Jenny Green 5%

The bottom three are all made up names but the other invented MEP, Elwyn Davies, beat Labour's Derek Vaughan, Plaid Cymru's Jill Evans and the Conservatives' Kay Swinburne. The real MEP who topped the poll, UKIP's Nathan Gill, probably gained recognition through leading his party's Assembly election campaign.

The Principal Investigator for the 2016 Welsh Election Study, Prof Roger Scully, said he was almost lost for words.

It’s difficult to know what to say about some of these results. It is, I think, probably unsurprising that Nathan Gill came top, given the higher profile that his role in the Assembly election was giving him. But none of the other Welsh MEPs was selected by a greater proportion of respondents than that legendary figure in Welsh politics ‘Elwyn Davies’ – whose contributions to our national political life I feel I need not elaborate upon.

– Prof Roger Scully, Cardiff University

Prof Scully added that his studies of the European Parliament had impressed on him that most MEPs are very hard working individuals. But based on the results of his survey, he said it was fair to say that most of the Welsh public are unlikely to notice the loss of their MEPs when the UK leaves the European Union.

  • The source for all data was the 2016 Welsh Election Study, pre-election wave (7-18 March 2016). Number of respondents = 3,272.
  • Data gathered by YouGov via the internet, and weighted for representativeness of the adult population in Wales.