A NEW MEP for Yorkshire has admitted her role has come as “a shock” after a nepotism row over who will represent the county in the European Parliament.

Rebecca Taylor has today been confirmed by the Liberal Democrats as the replacement for Diana Wallis, who will officially stand down as MEP tomorrow after resigning in the wake of her failed bid for the EU presidency.

Ms Wallis’ husband Stewart Arnold was entitled to take his wife’s seat without a vote as the Lib Dems’ second-choice candidate at the last European elections in 2007, but stepped aside after the proposed change-over was heavily criticised. Ms Taylor, the party’s third-choice candidate, has worked in the health sector for more than ten years and is currently completing a master’s degree in public health.

“It is a great privilege and honour to serve the people of Yorkshire and the Humber in Europe,” she said.

“It is why I stood for selection in 2007 and my commitment to the region has not changed. It has been quite a shock to find myself in this position and, above all, I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity and am determined to do everything in my power to promote jobs, growth and prosperity in the region and help to improve health services.”

However, Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire, said questions should be asked over the legitimacy of the selection process, saying: “I think there should be a system where people can actually have a say over this.”