Andrew Smith has every right to disagree with me on Brexit or any other issue, but he might do me the courtesy of getting my name right (We are better off out, Letters, April 25). I will respond further to him and your other correspondents in due course, but not now; there is a more immediate issue that I wish to raise.

There will be an election for the European Parliament (EP) on May 23. This will be a great opportunity to really determine the “will of the people” with regard the European Union – but only if the turnout is large enough! We do not yet have the parties’ manifestos, so it is difficult to debate their policies in detail. Nevertheless, I urge every concerned citizen to exercise their right to vote on May 23.

The EP gets very little publicity, yet it is a very important and influential part of the EU structure. It shares powers over legislation and budgets with the Council of Ministers (representatives of the member governments); it elects the President of the Commission (the executive , the “civil service”, which drafts legislation for the approval of the other bodies) and approves the appointment of the Commission as a whole. Like the other institutions of the EU, and the Union as a whole, it is far from perfect. But it is the only major international institution that is directly elected, and especially significant for that reason alone. Its status would be enhanced if the turnout at elections – 35.6 per cent in 2014 – was much greater, so again I appeal to everyone to vote.

Whether or not we ultimately leave the EU – and I still believe we should not – it is important to play a constructive role while we remain a member. This should be a prime consideration when choosing who or what to vote for. My own preference would be to vote for a party with a policy based on Remain and Reform, in co-operation with progressive forces throughout the Union.

Frank Jackson

Kingsmoor Road, Harlow