BRITAIN’S only Lib Dem MEP said she is “disappointed” at her party’s poor performance in this week’s European elections but regrets no part of the party’s campaign.
Oxford’s Catherine Bearder was re-elected as an MEP for the South East region in the early hours of Monday morning.
An MEP since 2009, she is one of 10 people who now represents the region in the European Parliament – with four from UKIP, including its leader Nigel Farage.
She denied Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg should resign, claiming UKIP did well because of Nigel Farage’s status as a “political celebrity”.
Mrs Bearder said: “Whatever he or his councillors do doesn’t seem to stick. It is strange and I think all the establishment parties took a kicking.
“Nick deserves the credit for standing up to the Eurosceptic wave that we have seen growing across the UK and much of Europe.
“He was completely right to do so and I would back him to do it again. I will follow his lead and continue fighting for Lib Dem values in the European parliament.”
Before the election the Lib Dems had 11 MEPs, including two in the South East.
Mrs Bearder, who lives in East Oxford with her husband Simon, an emeritus professor in zoology at Oxford Brookes University, has sat on both Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council.
Mrs Bearder, right, added: “There is a feeling that it doesn’t matter when you vote in the European elections and it is a good opportunity to give the government of the day a kicking.
“We were very vocal of our support for the EU and I don’t regret that.
“The EU matters to us and we matter to the EU.
“Over the next five years I will have a programme of work that I want to continue, such as standing up for the natural environment and my work on fighting human trafficking, and that will now have to be mixed with speaking up for the Liberals in the UK.
“There will be more liaison with Westminster now, but at least there won’t be so many meetings that I have to go to with my colleagues.”
Rose Hill, Oxford, resident Anneliese Dodds was elected as the South East’s only Labour MEP on Monday – but she has another 19 party colleagues from around the country.
Mrs Dodds, who was a lecturer at Aston University and married to Oxford City Council deputy leader Ed Turner, said: “I am really honoured that I have been elected.
“We were hoping to take a second seat and we didn’t, but our vote did go up substantially.
“I think the electorate punished the Lib Dems for being part of the coalition after the bedroom tax, tuition fees and cuts to services. I don’t think it was because of European issues.”
Despite four of the South East’s 10 MEPs being from UKIP, the party didn’t come first in any of Oxfordshire’s districts, and came fifth in Oxford. In the city Labour came top with the Green Party second and in every other district the Conservatives came top with UKIP second.
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