Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to

Embrace the EU elections and make a stand on Brexit


For many months the government has wielded a number of sticks to beat MPs into supporting its Withdrawal Agreement. It might be bad, they argue, but the alternative is worse. Remainers have been threatened with no deal. Leavers with no Brexit.

The latest big stick is the threat of having to participate in the European parliamentary elections. To avoid this the Government (and the EU’s) new deadline to get an agreement finalised is May 22nd, the day before the elections would take place.

What new madness is this? It must be crystal clear to everyone that this mess will not be sorted in six weeks. We are still miles from agreeing what Brexit might look like never mind approving legislation to make it happen. And supporters of another Brexit referendum are just 27 votes short of getting that approved by parliament.

So it time to stop kidding ourselves. These elections are going to happen. Best get used to it.

I find it bizarre that people who were elected in open democratic elections to Westminster are so alarmed at the prospect of people electing representatives to the European parliament. Being dragged kicking and screaming to the ballot box is not a good look for democrats. Better to now embrace these elections as a positive opportunity.

I appreciate that some will of course be exasperated that Brexit has not happened already. But that’s not a reason to avoid elections. Dry your eyes and move on.

We may end up staying in the European Union, or we may leave, but for as long as we are there our citizens have the same right to be represented as those in any other EU country. Indeed one of the main criticisms of the Withdrawal Agreement is that it provides for a transition period during which we are in effect part of the EU but without any say.

More importantly the elections will allow everyone to see what people views are now, not what they were three years ago. They provide an opportunity to change the narrative. To address the question of the UK – and Scotland’s - relationship with the continent in a reasoned and positive manner free from the intemperate language and dogmatic opinions that have soured this discourse in recent years.

Many fear that elections on 23rd May could unleash bigotry and see the extreme right run rampant. The reverse is the case. The turnout might be double the 35% achieved in 2014. And that means the main losers will be UKIP who will become a much smaller fish in that bigger electoral pool.

Written for The Times - 29th March 2019


March News - Constituency
EU elections are chance to show UK wants to Remain

Related Posts



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Friday, 03 July 2020

Captcha Image

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
26 March 2020
Tommys Blog
My constituency offices are closed but my team are working remotely in order to deal with casework.  The best way to get in touch is to email us at  The current situation with COVID-19 means that I am experiencing a high volume of emails. You will receive a response however this may take longer than usual and my team and I are prioritising those with a sp...
Tommy Sheppard
18 March 2020
Tommys Blog

Time is running out for many of Edinburgh's small businesses. Today I've written to the Chancellor asking for additional emergency assistance for our hospitality sector through the COVID-19 epidemic.


Tommy Sheppard
02 March 2020
Tommys Blog
 In Edinburgh in recent weeks, there have been a number of alarming incidents of racist violence. The only reason innocent people were attacked was the colour of their skin. Some victims have been subjects to months of abuse and intimidation. We know this because some of these incidents were reported to the police. What we do not know is how many are not reported....
Tommy Sheppard
31 January 2020
Tommys Blog
Dear fellow Europeans I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. The UK is leaving the European Union later tonight. I’ve resisted it every step of the way but now it is really happening. Please know that this is not what the people who live in this great city want. Boris Johnson does not act in our name. We are being dragged out of Europe against our will. And we are determined that this will not be the end of the...
Tommy Sheppard
29 January 2020
Tommys Blog
With everything that goes on at Westminster it can be very easy to get caught up in the day to day minutiae of debates and votes. Sometimes we need a reminder of the bigger picture. I got that last week when I met with one of my constituents, Gica, who spent time volunteering in Samos last year.Gica volunteered with refugees and the situation she described is appalling. And worsening. The refugee ...