EUROPE: Losing candidate in NE Cambs set to secure almost certain victory in Euro elections

PUBLISHED: 15:29 29 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:23 02 June 2010

A WOMAN who failed to make it onto the short list to replace Fenland s MP Malcolm Moss, looks set for a career as a Euro MP. Cambridgeshire Tory councillor Vicky Ford was celebrating today (Sat) after effectively winning a passport to Strasbourg to repres

A WOMAN who failed to make it onto the short list to replace Fenland's MP Malcolm Moss, looks set for a career as a Euro MP.

Cambridgeshire Tory councillor Vicky Ford was celebrating today (Sat) after effectively winning a passport to Strasbourg to represent Norfolk in the European Parliament.

Cllr Ford was, at one time, hotly tipped to secure the NE Cambs constituency for the Tories but after gaining a place in the last 20, failed to make it through to the line-up of six that went through for final selection.

But Cllr Ford has now secured third place on her party's slate of seven candidates for the eastern region in next year's Euro-poll. And under the proportional representation system to be used, this virtually assures her of a place in the parliament.

But there was the start of an internal party protest last night after it was revealed that Mrs Ford won significantly fewer votes than Essex-based businessman John Flack, who is fourth on the party list. The third place was reserved for a female candidate.

A well-known Norfolk Conservative anonymously emphasised that "people are furious" after a party official stated that the voting figures for the candidates by party members will not be released.

The first two places on the Tory list were set aside for sitting MEPs Geoffrey Van Orden and Robert Sturdy. Mr Van Orden was elected to first position by party members and Mr Sturdy second.

Mr Flack, a former regional chairman of the Tories, said he was pleased to have won the fourth place, which was "the best I could do as a mere man". Asked to confirm that he had won more votes than Mrs Ford, he replied: "No comment."

Mrs Ford, a member of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said she "would take nothing for granted" about securing a seat in the European Parliament.

If elected to it, she added, she would seek to make use of 14 years of business experience "across Europe". She would also endeavour to strengthen the links between the Strasbourg parliament, Westminster and local authorities "to get a fair share back of the money we send to Brussels".

Mr Flack, who has a "GiveEuropeFlack" website, said he was "excited" about securing his party's fourth place because "that is where the fight will be" in the election in the region. "If we don't win three, we might as well pack up and go home," he continued.

FACT: Euro MPs now earn the same as their counterparts at Westminster, i.e. £61,800 a year. However they have an enhanced package for office and living costs.


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