The deputy mayor of Brighton and Hove has been selected as the Green Party’s first choice candidate for the European elections next month.
Alexandra Phillips – known locally as Alex – is one of three Brighton and Hove councillors to feature among the 10 candidates on the Greens’ party list.
She is joined by the Green group convenor – or leader – on Brighton and Hove City Council, Phélim Mac Cafferty, and the party’s finance spokesman on the council, Ollie Sykes, 52.
Councillor Mac Cafferty is fifth on the Green Party slate and Councillor Sykes is ninth, making it unlikely that they will be packing their bags for Brussels and Strasbourg.
But Councillor Phillips, 33, who taught French and German in a secondary school before having her first child, could soon find herself returning to the heart of the European Union.
After graduating from university, she worked with the Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas in her previous role as an (Member of the European Parliament).
When Caroline Lucas, 58, became MEP Britain’s first Green MP in 2010, her seat in the European Parliament was taken by former Brighton councillor Keith Taylor, 65. Now, he is standing down.
At the last European elections in 2014, Councillor Phillips was second on the slate – behind Mr Taylor – and came close to joining him in the European Parliament.
This year’s European elections are taking place in Britain on Thursday 23 May. They are being held because the withdrawal agreement Brexit – Britain’s exit from the European Union – has not yet been concluded.
A fortnight ago Brexit was postponed until Halloween – Thursday 31 October. And Britain’s MEPs will serve until Britain leaves the EU, which could be sooner than – and quite possibly after – the current scheduled departure date.
The constituency that includes Brighton and Hove is South East England which stretches from Dover to the Isle of Wight and up to Oxford, Reading and Milton Keynes.
At the last elections five years ago, the 10 MEPs elected for South East England included four from the UK Independence Party (UKIP), among them its former leader Nigel Farage.
There were also three Conservatives and one each from the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Labour.
Since then, Mr Farage, 55, has left UKIP and set up the Brexit Party, with two of the other three UKIP MEPs joining him – Diane James, 59, and former Portslade factory worker Ray Finch, 55.
The other UKIP MEP, Janice Atkinson, 56, was expelled by UKIP over her expenses and, despite being cleared after an investigation by Kent Police, sits as an independent.
And one of the Conservatives, Richard Ashworth, 71, has defected to Change UK – the Independent Group. He is the new party’s first choice candidate.
Its other candidates next month include the former Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Councillor Warren Morgan, 51.
He is third on the Change UK party list and, with the party second in the European election opinion polls, he has a fair chance of winning a seat.
The Lib Dems have chosen their only MEP – 70-year-old Catherine Bearder – to stand again in South East England as their first choice candidate.
Former Brighton Pavilion parliamentary candidate Chris Bowers is sixth on the Lib Dem party list.
Labour have picked two local candidates, Sussex University academic Cathy Shutt and former Brighton and Hove City Council leader Simon Burgess.
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