HAMPSHIRE voters will get the chance to hear first-hand from the main parties fighting the European elections at a special event.

Speakers from the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the UK Independence Party and the Green Party will put their case at a hustings event in Winchester seven days before the poll.

The confirmed speakers are Daniel Hannan MEP, Conservative; John Howarth, Labour; Catherine Bearder MEP, Liberal Democrat; and Keith Taylor MEP, Green Paty.

UKIP will be sending a speaker but has yet to confirm who it will be.

The hustings has been organised by the central Hampshire branch of the European Movement.

Organisers are expecting a good turn-out, with the prospect of a referendum looming and the UK’s future in the European Union less certain.

This election is the first since the Lisbon Treaty which gave the European Parliament greater powers, including the appointment of the President of the European Commission.

The Members of the next European Parliament will play a crucial role in deciding the future direction and evolution of the EU.

This debate is one of a series organised across the UK by the European Movement. It will feature candidates from the five parties who have had MEPs representing the South East of England in the last Parliament.

They will discuss the issues and what membership of the EU means for the UK, their constituents and all EU citizens.

Petros Fassoulas, chairman of the European Movement, who will host the hustings, said: “I am delighted that the people of Hampshire will be able to come and hear the arguments of the principal candidates for this important election.

“We have been fortunate to secure the commitment of several of the top of the list candidates, including three MEPs standing for re-election. The election is held using proportional representation, which means that every vote will count, and we are hoping through these events to raise the profile of the election and increase voter turn-out.”

The event will take place at Winchester Guildhall on Thursday, May 15, starting at 7.30pm.