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27th May 2019

Newly elected Brexit Party MEP lives in France rather than the UK

James Dawson

Brian Monteith has been accused of hypocrisy by his political opponents

A newly elected Brexit Party MEP who stood in the north east of England still lives in France, despite running on an anti-free movement platform in the European elections.

Brian Monteith, who lives in Trevien in southern France and was previously a Conservative member of the Scottish parliament, was one of two Brexit Party politicians elected on Sunday night. In the north east, the Brexit Party secured itself 38.73% of the total vote, with Labour taking the third seat, with 19.35% of the electorate opting for them.

Labour’s Jude Kirton-Darling, who retained her seat in the region, told the Guardian that he was a man “who cares not for this region”.

“I think it’s the height of hypocrisy that somebody who’s standing on a platform to remove free movement from the young people of this area … actually benefits himself from free movement by living in France and commuting between London and his home in France for work,” she said.

However, Monteith has defended himself, saying it was “not unusual” to live in a different country while running for election.

“So it’s not unusual and, in fact, I was already in the throes of moving house back to the UK when I was invited to stand. The fact that France is my address as my main residence is neither here nor there,” he said.

The region, which voted to leave in the EU referendum, was one of the many former Labour heartlands that saw a drop in the Labour vote and the Brexit Party do even better than UKIP in 2014.

Overall vote share in the north east of England

The Brexit Party: 38.73%

Labour: 19.35%

Liberal Democrats: 16.83%

Greens: 8.05%

Conservatives: 6.84%

UKIP: 6.17%

Change UK: 4.03%