All you need to know about the European elections

Readers had their say on a controversial online peititon to revoke Article 50 Picture; Press Associ

Readers had their say on a controversial online peititon to revoke Article 50 Picture; Press Association - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The dust has barely settled on the local council elections, but voters will again be heading to their polling stations today (Thursday).

Almost three years since the electorate voted to leave the European Union - and two months after the country was due to exit - continental elections are being held once again.

With the country divided on Brexit - whether to leave or remain or simply on whether to quit with a deal or not - today's elections are likely to have significant repercussions.

With the UK's planned departure from the EU now pushed back until Halloween at the latest, it could be the MEPs chosen today have a very short shelf-life. But how the country votes could have a major impact on what happens in Westminster over the coming weeks and months, including, potentially, the future of Prime Minister Theresa May.

How to vote

Polling stations opened at 7am this morning and will close at 10pm. Polling cards sent out will tell voters where to go to.

Who can I vote for?

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The electorate can choose to vote for a group/party, or an Independent candidate.

Change UK - The Independent Group, Conservative and Unionist Party, English Democrats, Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, The Brexit Party and UKIP are all options on the ballot paper.

There are three Independents standing: Larch Maxey, Nothuir Rahman and Neville Seed.

MORE: List of EU candidates revealed.

In total, six MEPs will be selected to represent the South West. The UK has 73 of the 751 in total.

When will the votes be announced?

Ballot papers will be verified at Weston's Hutton Moor Leisure Centre tonight, but will not be counted until 4pm on Sunday to fit in with the rest of Europe.

The results for the South West and Gibraltar will be declared in Poole on Sunday.

What happened last time?

UKIP won the largest share of the vote in the South West in 2014 - pulling in almost one third of the votes, to secure two MEPs with William Dartmouth and Julia Reid.

The Conservatives managed 29 per cent, which saw Ashley Fox and Julie Girling elected.

Labour came third (14 per cent) and the Green Party fourth (11 per cent) and so Clare Moody and Molly Scott Cato were duly elected too. They took MEP positions from the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.