The Dentist Magazine.

BDA’s Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen elected to European Parliament

Published: 5/28/2019 12:00:00 AM

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen has been elected Brexit Party MEP for North West England at the 2019 European election.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has consequently outlined succession plans following the election of Henrik, the General Dental Practice Committee (GDPC) chair, to the European Parliament.

At its meeting in early May, the GDPC agreed that there would be a conflict if an individual was performing both the roles of MEP and GDPC chair at the same time.

The GDPC will be electing a new chair on June 19. Co-vice chairs Shaun Charlwood and Dave Cottam will be covering the chair’s responsibilities in the intervening period.

The BDA’s acting chief executive, Martin Woodrow, said, “The British Dental Association is free of any party-political allegiance, and sets its policies in the best interests of the profession it serves.

“We have clear guidelines for staff and officers engaging in political activity, including elected members seeking political office. These processes ensure our senior team and representative bodies are able to evaluate and manage any role conflicts when and if they emerge.

"The BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee concluded it would not be appropriate for their chair to remain in post in the event of his election to the European Parliament.

“We would like to thank Henrik for his leadership of the GDPC and tireless commitment to the profession.”

Speaking to Brexit Central prior to the election, Henrik outlined his reasons for running for the election, saying, “I have worked as an NHS dentist for over 20 years with people from all over the world, both from inside and outside the EU. At one point we had staff from more than thirteen countries – and that’s without counting the different countries from which our 130,000 patients come. Working with different people enriches your life and it is important that after leaving the EU we can still get the workforce from abroad we need. For this we need a system which allows immigration but which makes sure we get the immigration we need.

“I am European; I even have an Italian rescue dog! I am far from being one of the 17.4 million xenophobes whom Chuka Umunna has claimed are among his fellow citizens. Support for Brexit is not only to be found on the right of the political spectrum, it is across the board, and the Brexit Party is a perfect example of that. Far-right parties do not speak for me, nor do they speak for the majority of this country. Having come here as a European immigrant over twenty years ago, I can safely say that the rhetoric which comes from those on the far right does not represent what I have experienced; Britain has been open and welcoming to me.”

You can read Henrik’s full statement here: