For general information on the European Parliament, click here, this page is about the UK’s representation and influence within the European Parliament.

The UK has 73 of the 751 seats within the European Parliament, which means 73 MEPs were elected by the UK in 2014 — or 9.72% of the total MEPs elected. This percentage is reflected within voting rights in other parts of the EU.

There are two ways in which the UK’s representation in the European Parliament can be assessed, as mentioned above, we have 9.72% of the seats in Parliament, whereas we represent 1/28 of the countries, so as a percentage, the UK is 3.57% of the EU’s member states — meaning that in terms of total member states, the UK is overrepresented in the parliament, having nearly three times the amount of seats a simple equal division would entitle it to (which would be about 26 seats). 

The other way to look at the representation takes into account the populations of the member states, which is what’s used to assign seats to their countries. When we look at it this way, the UK has a population of 64.7 million of the EU’s total 508.2 million, or 12.7% of the EU population — this would mean that the UK only has about 3/4 of the seats to which its population would entitle it. This difference is caused by the laws of the parliament, which means that the fewest seats a country can have is 5, regardless of the population so as to give each country some notable level of representation (the maximum is set at 96).

But who sits in the UK’s seats? The current make up of the Parliament was decided on May 22, 2014, and each of the British parties elected sit with a larger group within the Parliament, which are better explained on the European Parliament page and they allow national parties with similar political views to coordinate better.

UK Party

Seats/73

European Parliament Group

Seats/751

 

No UK Representation

 

 

European People’s Party

215

 

Labour Party

20

 

Socialists and Democrats

190

 

Conservative Party

20

 

European Conservatives and Reformists

76

 

Ulster Unionist Party

1

 

Liberal Democrats

1

 

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

70

 

Sinn Féin

1

 

European United Left – Nordic Green Left

52

 

Green Party of England and Wales

3

 

The Greens – European Free Alliance

50

 

Scottish National Party

2

 

Plaid Cymru

1

 

UK Independence Party

22

 

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy

45

 

Janice Atkinson (Independent, formerly Ukip)

1

 

Europe of Nations and Freedom

38

 

Democratic Unionist Party

1

 

Non-Aligned

15

After the Conservative Party left the European Peoples’ Party in 2009, a move which arguably reduced the UK’s influence in the parliament, as there is now no British representation in the largest grouping.

In addition to the standard MEPs and their staff, the UK is also represented in the European Parliament through the European Parliament Department of the UK Representation to the European Union at the British Embassy in Brussels — this allows for British interests to be represented to all MEPs and their staff, regardless of nationality.