MEPs remain a mystery to Wimbledon residents.


A Merton Matters poll shows people do not know who a London MEP is or what he does


By Sam Dale

WIMBLEDON residents have no idea who their MEPs are or what they do according to a poll taken last Friday.

A survey of 100 Wimbledon residents found no one able to identify a picture of London MEP, Charles Tannock.

Residents’ guesses included the Vice-Chairman of Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Association and AFC Wimbledon Chairman.

“I’m not surprised at the results but obviously it saddens me,” said Mr Tannock.

“I don’t think it’s a real problem, we have limited resources and if we were household names we would be swamped.”

British MEPs receive a salary of £80,500 and can claim expenses and allowances of £363,000 a year.

The poll consisted of a picture of Mr Tannock and five other options including Tommy Lee Jones and David Dimbleby.

Prince of Wales punter, Martin Hatton, said he always votes in elections but had never heard of Mr Tannock and doesn’t know what MEPs do.

He said: “For the amount of money he receives he should be able to make himself known.”

Mr Tannock said he could be accessed through libraries, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the internet.

But he expressed frustration over the competition for publicity in London saying his colleague in the North East gets more coverage.

“If the press reports someone being frustrated by a European matter do they ask the local MEP? No, they go to the Shadow Europe Minister,” he added.

A spokesman for the UK Office of the European Parliament said: “It doesn’t matter that no one knows what he looks like.

“What does matter is that people are unsure about what they do. It’s important that people are better informed so they can lobby on European issues.”

Mr Tannock said he spends half his time redirecting constituents’ questions on local issues outside his remit.

He spoke at the CBI on Friday to give training on how to lobby the EU on key areas of legislation.

“If a business wants me to lobby the Parliament over a directive I will always support my constituents.”

Turnout for the European elections in June was 34.7% nationally and only 1,763,025 Londoners voted out of a possible 5,257,624.

MEPs are elected through proportional representation rather than the first-past-the-post system of general elections.

Voters choose a party rather than an individual and an internal party list system then allocates candidates according to the party’s vote share.

Eight MEPs collectively represent 32 London boroughs rather than a specific constituency as MPs do.








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