THE European elections are officially under way in the South West after the returning officer in Poole published the formal Notice of Election.

They are being held across the European Union between May 22 and 25.

In the UK and Gibraltar polling day will be on Thursday May 22.

Borough of Poole returning officer Paul Morris, who is also regional returning officer for the South West, fired the starting gun with the notice that those who wish to stand for election must submit nomination papers by 4pm on April 22.

Anyone interested in standing as a candidate can contact Paul or his team for more information on 01202 633081 or email

A deposit of £5,000 is payable and returned provided at least 2.5 per cent of the total votes cast is achieved.

Votes will not be counted until the evening of Sunday, May 25, after Italy has finished voting at 10pm UK time.

The regional count centre for the South West will be at the Civic Centre where the votes from across the region will be received.

Results will be announced after 10pm on the day.