TEN seats representing Hampshire and the South East in the European Parliament will also be up for grabs on May 22.

The election comes at a time when there is a fierce public debate about the UK’s future within the European Union (EU).

UKIP is continuing to call for the UK to leave the EU, while the Conservatives have promised a referendum on the issue should they win next year’s General Election.

Meanwhile both the Liberal Democrats and Labour argue that staying in the EU would have big benefits for Britain and safeguard millions of jobs.

But the elections will take place when the expenses of UKIP leader and South East MEP Nigel Farage are also under the spotlight.

He has rejected claims that he abused his privileges from Brussels, after The Times alleged that he received £15,500 in expenses to run his headquarters, even though it had been provided rent-free by UKIP supporters.

At the last election in 2009 the Conservatives won four South East seats, UKIP and the Lib Dems two each, and the Greens and Labour one each, although UKIP’s Marta Andreasen then defected to the Tories.

While the European election will take place on May 22, the results will be counted later than the local votes, with the winners expected to be announced on May 26.