1. ITV Report

Party-swapping MEPs - half have changed colour

If you think your vote was final in 2009, then think again. Since the last European election four MEPs in the Yorkshire and the Humber, and one in the East Midlands - that's almost half of all the MEPs we elect in the Calendar region - have swapped parties or stood down.

In the European elections you vote for a party not a candidate. Seats are then shared out between the parties roughly in proportion to the share of the votes they get. But paradoxically, once an MEP has been sent to Brussels, they can choose to swap parties, skewing the representation of the vote.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, Edward McMillan-Scott left the Conservatives to join the Liberal Democrats, while Godfrey Bloom quit UKIP to become an independent and Andrew Brons left the BNP to form his own party. That technically means about half of voters in the region are no longer represented by the party they chose last time around.

In the East Midlands, Roger Helmer left the Conservatives to join UKIP. While there were no other defections in that region, imagine the uproar if just one MP in Westminster swapped from one party to another - it'd be big news. Yet in the European parliament, it happens very regularly and rarely receives national coverage:

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