SLIGHTLY more Cheshire West residents voted in yesterday’s European Parliament election than in this month’s local election.

Cheshire West and Chester Council verified the borough’s votes for the EU election overnight, and found that the turnout was 34.94 per cent of the electorate – with a total of 93,024 votes cast.

It follows the local elections on May 2, which saw a turnout in Cheshire West of 34.7 per cent – 0.24 per cent lower than the European election.

Cllr Mike Baynham, Conservative CWAC member for Winsford Over and Verdin, said: “I’m a little bit surprised by it.

“I thought the turnout would be low, but there is a great strength of feeling out there on Brexit.

Northwich Guardian:

“It suggests to me that it could signal a real polarisation with remain and Brexit campaigns, and certainly there is a sense among people that they just want politicians to get on with it – one way or another.

“With a turnout like that, slightly higher than the local elections, clearly there was a point to be made by residents who want their voices heard.”

Several parties taking part in this week’s election formed their policies on remaining or leaving the European Union – with the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Change UK pushing for remain voters, while the Brexit Party and UKIP have campaigned to leave voters.

Both the Conservatives and the Labour Party are also in the running, but neither party has focused its EU election manifesto on appealing to either remain or leave voters – with the two parties trying to appeal to voters from both sides of the Brexit debate.

Cllr Richard Beacham, Labour CWAC member for Newton and Hoole, said: “The turnout suggests there are people that are motivated to vote for different reasons.

“For this one it was a really odd vote – some people saw it almost as a second referendum, some saw it as a way of making a point, and some just voted on party lines as they do in all elections.

Northwich Guardian:

“It is a real mixed-bag, but it is interesting that it is so close to the local election turn-out. I think there is something in that.”

Following the elections, a ‘marked register’ will be published which shows who voted in the two elections – although it does not show which party they voted for.

“It would be interesting to see if the same people voted in the two elections,” Cllr Beacham added.

“Then there would be a challenge for the political parties to see who is not engaged, and to find out why.”

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The results for the north west are expected to be declared in the early hours of Monday morning, in Manchester.

Eight members of European Parliament will be elected to serve the region for the next five years – or until Britain leaves the EU.