Preparations are being made by a council in case the country takes part in this year’s European Parliament elections.

The government has advised local authorities to take measures to ensure they are able to host votes on May 23 should the UK still be a member of the EU at that time.

Matt Prosser, Chief Executive of Dorset Council and Returning Officer for the elections said said they had been making “certain preparations” in case it is required to take part.

Local authorities are responsible for managing voting for the elections but Brexit delays have left the country uncertain as to whether it will need to hold elections next month.

Mr Prosser said: “Dorset Council organises all elections held within its area including local council, parliamentary and European parliamentary elections.

“Brexit has caused some uncertainty about whether the European Parliament elections will be held, however we are working on the premise that they are going ahead.

“We have received instruction from the Regional Returning Officer, Graham Farrant, to publish the Notice of Election on Friday 12 April and are making preparations to ensure Dorset residents can cast their vote on 23 May, should the UK not have an agreement to leave the European Union by that point.”

Should the country take part, it would require the council to host more voting just a few weeks after its own elections on May 2.

The South West is currently represented by six MEPs – William Dartmouth, Ashley Fox, Julia Reid, Julie Girling, Clare Moody and Molly Scott Cato.