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UK ever more polarized as Brexit Party storms to EU vote win

27 Comments
By William James

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party stormed to victory in a European election, riding a wave of anger at the failure of Prime Minister Theresa May to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

A European Parliament election that the United Kingdom only took part in because May delayed Brexit showed a country even more polarized over the EU divorce nearly three years since a 2016 referendum in which it voted 52% to 48% to leave.

The United Kingdom was supposed to have left on March 29 but it remains a member of the EU and its politicians are still arguing over how, when or even whether the country will leave the club it joined in 1973.

May on Friday announced she was stepping down, saying it was a matter of deep regret that she could not deliver Brexit. The Conservative Party was on course for one of its worst results in a nationwide election ever.

Across England and Wales, voters turned away in anger from May's Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, which had sought a softer version of Brexit.

The Brexit Party came first while explicitly pro-EU parties the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Change UK - were, combined, a few percentage points behind.

Farage, elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the South East of England, said he wanted to be involved in Brexit negotiations and warned that British politics was on the cusp of major upheaval unless Brexit took place on Oct 31.

"We want to be part of that negotiating team," Farage said in Southampton, southern England. "If we don't leave on Oct 31 then the score that you have seen for the Brexit Party today will be repeated in a general election and we are getting ready for it."

Such a severe election drubbing for the two major parties will stiffen a belief among leading Conservatives vying to replace May that they must go for a more decisive split from the EU.

But it will also increase pressure on Labour's Corbyn to come out explicitly for a second referendum on EU membership.

"This issue will have to go back to the people, whether through a general election or a public vote," Corbyn said. "Over the coming days we will have conversations across our party and movement, and reflect on these results on both sides of the Brexit divide."

BBC projections put the Conservatives on around 10 to 12%, down from 23% in 2014. Labour came third in Wales. The Liberal Democrats even won in Corbyn's home constituency, Islington.

The Brexit Party won around 10 percentage points more than the UK Independence Party did in 2014, partial results showed.

In total, the United Kingdom elects 73 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) to the 751-seat parliament. They will not contribute directly to British policymaking on domestic issues like Brexit, but will have a say in EU-wide policy as long as they remain in the assembly.

Farage casts Britain's political system as broken and says parliament and the government are trying to thwart Brexit. He wants the United Kingdom to leave the EU as soon as possible and says the damage of a no-deal departure has been exaggerated.

Farage, who as UKIP leader persuaded May's predecessor, David Cameron, to call the Brexit referendum and then helped lead the campaign to leave the EU, has said that failure to implement Brexit would show Britain not to be a democracy.

While the United Kingdom remains deeply divided over Brexit, most agree that it will shape the future of the United Kingdom for generations to come.

Pro-Europeans fear Brexit will make them poorer, undermine London's position as a global financial capital and weaken the West as it grapples with Donald Trump's unpredictable U.S. presidency and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.

The Liberal Democrats, who campaigned under the slogan"Bollocks to Brexit", oppose Brexit and want a second referendum to stop it.

Supporters of Brexit admit there may be some short-term pain for the UK’s $2.9 trillion economy but long-term it will prosper when cut free from the EU which they cast as a failing German-dominated experiment in European integration.

The loss of Britain for the EU is the biggest blow yet to more than 60 years of efforts to forge European unity after two world wars, though the 27 other members of the bloc have shown surprising unity during the tortuous negotiations.

In the 2014 EU Parliament election, what was then Farage's UK Independence Party won with 26.8%, followed by Labour on 24.7% and the Conservatives on 23.3%. The Greens won 7.7% in 2014 and the Liberal Democrats 6.7%. Turnout was 35.6%.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Results so far:

Brexit:

Brexit Party 31.6%, Conservatives 9.1%, UKIP 3.3%

TOTAL 44%

Remain:

Lib Dems 20.3%, Greens 12.1%, SNP 3.5%, Plaid 1.0% , Change UK 3.4%

TOTAL 40.3%

God knows:

Labour 14.1%

Removing Labour from the equation means

52.18% Brexit

47.81% Remain

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I feel so sorry for our good friends in the UK - I thought they would be spared the madness and embarrassment we have to face each day with Trump as President.

But this Farage guy is as big a kook as Trump, and that's saying a lot...

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Another interpretation of the results:

Brexit:

Brexit Party 31.6%, UKIP 3.3%

TOTAL 34.9%

Remain:

Lib Dems 20.3%, Greens 12.1%, SNP 3.5%, Plaid 1.0% , Change UK 3.4%

TOTAL 40.3%

God knows:

Labour 14.1%

Conservative 9.1%

Based on voting patterns in the 2015 referendum 61% of Conservative voters wanted to leave and 65% of Labour voters wanted to remain (YouGov poll published on June 27, 2016).

Adding these proportions to Leave / Remain gives us:

Leave: 45.4% (= 34.9 + (9.10.61) + (14.10.35))

Remain: 53.0% (= 40.3 + (9.10.39) + (14.10.65))

Remain wins by a substantial majority.

I think this result fully justifies calls for a second referendum.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Current stats show the combined tally for the two parties in favour of no deal, the Brexit Party and UKIP, is 35%. Combined tally for the pro Second Referendum parties is 40%. Brexit Party has taken votes from Tories, Labour, UKIP etc, there is no pro Brexit surge, these votes have just been consolidated in one party. The majority of votes were for pro Remain parties.

We are still in the same, unresolvable mess.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If Britain leaves the EU these election don't count for much except a reflection of the thinking of the voters, an election which PM May said wouldn't be happening because we would have already left and no need to spend about £500 million on it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@scrote

Don't know why you think the Tories didn't state before the EU elections that they would carry out Brexit. You're trying to bend the results to your own liking.

@Luddite

You are trying to make a false comparison.

Yes, before the election, Libs, Change UK, Plaid, SNP and Greens stated that they want a second referendum. However, Brexit party, UKIP AND the Tories stated that they were opposed to a second ref.

Against second ref 44% (plus DUP when figure is known)

Pro second ref 40.3%

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Two parties, both in favour of leaving without a deal overwhelmingly almost entirely supported by Leave voters: The Brexit Party and UKIP. Total vote: 35%

Three parties: the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Change UK, all in favour of another referendum. Total vote: 35%.

The voter turnout was 37%.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

EU voter turnout was 51%, the highest in 20 years.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So no pressure then, if these votes do not count. Just a chance to blow off steam. Farage's mouth is the funnel.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The EU votes matter within the EU and Britain maintains its EMP block to influence the EU decision making and maintaining Farage's EU position to continue his attacks and insults against the EU in its parliament.

Britain once again has one foot in the EU, and one foot in Brexit. If it had a third one it would be in dog mess.

All of the current position has arrived solely and 100% lies with the conservative party which first started the referendum back in 2016, which is now beginning to look like so long ago.

The EMP's will also receive a handsome salary and expenses sheet in return for doing any real work.

The majority of British voters didn't even vote which says more than those who did.

The likely stalemate continues only further complicated over the coming summer with the conservative party leadership battle with the likelihood of the most severe name calling. Ex public school boys, and girls throwing dog mess at each other. Smells bad already.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

a wave of anger at the failure of Prime Minister Theresa May to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

What a disaster she has been.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I waiting patiently for the final official count/tally devoid of estimates and or projection.

EU wide, Nationalists, Greens, Liberal centre parties have made significant gains. The EEP, S&D, ECR have lost a combined 94 seats.

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party has achieved 31.6/7% , the spread, and turnout could indicate future voting intentions in a General Election. I believe the next Leader of the conservative party/Prime Minster will struggle to move UK-EU withdrawal bill through a second reading. Corbyn could call a vote of confidence in the government when the new leader is announced. The support of the DUP could be prove critical.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some follow-up info:

A representative from the Electoral Commission on Sky News earlier said that some EU citizens had been turned away at polling stations due to processing errors. (That is completely unfair - they should be allowed their vote. I guess the Electoral Commission should have spent more time preparing for the election rather than wasting time 'investigating' Brexit Party donations)

However, according to him, the amount turned away were only a 'handful'.

He also stated that around 2 million EU nationals who are eligible voters live in the UK, and that around 10% usually take part. (This will likely have added around 1 - 1.5% towards parties who support remaining)

Also, voter turnout for this election was higher in areas that voted remain in the 2016 referendum and was lower in areas which voted to leave.

https://electionsetc.com/2019/05/25/two-notes-on-the-psephology-of-the-euro-elections/

Seems that there are already millions of voters who feel disenfranchised because of how the vote in 2016 has been ignored. This makes sense seeing as the Tory vote hadn't been completely absorbed by the Brexit Party or any others.

Finally, John Curtis mentioned that the SNP had had a high amount of votes from Scots who want to leave the EU, but also want Scottish independence.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If the results below, taking account quantified region on region spread, indicative voter intentions would present fundamental political change in a General Election. Turn out is key statistic though.

European election latest results 2019: across the UK.........

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2019/may/26/european-election-latest-results-2019-uk-england-scotland-wales-ni-eu-parliament

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't know why you think the Tories didn't state before the EU elections that they would carry out Brexit. You're trying to bend the results to your own liking.

There's a case of pots and kettles if ever there was one.

The only way you can make the "Leave" figure higher than the "Remain" figure is if you count all Conservative votes as "Leave". As I pointed out (and you ignored), not all Conservative voters support "Leave" and many of those who do will have voted for the Brexit party. Plus, the figures above do not include Northern Ireland which voted to remain in the referendum.

I know you don't want to see a second referendum, but the results are perfectly clear: "Remain" now has a majority. It's time for a second vote.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@scrote

The only way you can make the "Leave" figure higher than the "Remain" figure is if you count all Conservative votes as "Leave".

Scrote, I believe you are getting confused by mixing how people voted in 2016 with today's election. You can't even begin to take a 65/35% split of Labour because most of the those who want to remain, abandoned them today.

If you wanted to stop Brexit or want a second referendum, you wouldn't vote for the Conservatives or Labour today. You'd vote for Libs Dems, Greens or Change UK.

Funnily enough, the Brexit Party is a single-issue party. So, we can be absolutely confident that all of the people who voted for them want a WTO Brexit. The same cannot be said for Libs Dems or Greens. Some people will have voted for them because of tribal loyalty or because they care about the environment.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The only way you can make the "Leave" figure higher than the "Remain" figure is if you count all Conservative votes as "Leave". 

As well as saying that Labour voters, the majority of whom back remain, don't count and aren't real.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Sneezy

As well as saying that Labour voters, the majority of whom back remain, don't count and aren't real.

They are real, and they supported the Lib Dems today.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Smack in the face for PM May and her failed band of gone rogues.

Scotland clearly rejected Brexit 100% so there will be new calls for another Scottish referendum.

Brexit party largest single winner with 28 seats but only 31.6% of the vote. Less than the Brexit referendum.

Brexit vs Remainders is about the same at about 31 seats if the few conservatives back the Brexit party.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Farage Brexit party would need a full organisational political campaigning apparatus that requires deep pockets. If Farage intends to run a in General Election.

Theresa May slap dash incompetence running down the Brexit clock leaves little or no time to prepare. With the Withdrawal Bill stalled, a conservative government politically imploding. candidates jostling for the party leadership, ever more shrill and delusional boasts of delivering Brexit, the likelihood of a snap General Election is increasing.

Farage would need comprehensive manifesto detailing agricultural, social economic, taxation and momentary policy, education and employment programs.

Not impossible, but hugely challenging to seriously move from the single issue Brexit party to compete and managing a high-profile General Election campaign and then to be able to deliver the electorates expectations and run the UK economy.

However with UK politics in total disarray, Corbyns opposition politically comatose, as Jeff Tracy warns "Stand by for action. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Thunderbirds are go!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party will now be the biggest party in the European Parliament with 29 seats.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Tangerine 2000, what are you talking about?? The Brexit Party’s EFD grouping has just 56 seats. The nationalists and populists made some gains but they are far from being the majority in the European Parliament.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@SwissToni

I am not referring to the groupings (EFD etc) within the EU parliament. I am referring to the fact that the Brexit Party is the largest party in Europe with 29 seats. Germany's CDU has 28 seats and Italy's Lega has 28.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tangerine 2000, I see what you’re getting at. The CDU/CSU also got 29 seats but individual party performance at EU level is not the most important factor. In the EU Parliament the political grouping parties are members of carries the voting power. Brexit Parties EFD grouping has just 54 seats out of 751.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a disaster she has been.

The moment did a deal with the DUP to prop up her govt, that sealed her fate. This tiny party of fundamentalists held the UK to ransom, so I have no sympathy for May.

But I don't see any of her power hungry successors doing any better.

As long as the occupied 6 counties aren't ignored again. That's the main thing.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As long as the occupied 6 counties 

Come on, Toasted! Occupied by whom? The people who live there?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They are real, and they supported the Lib Dems today.

??? I'm talking about the 14% who voted Labour, the majority of whom favour remain. You have decided to just ignore these people in your "calculations" because that would result in a majority of British voters for remain. Typical of Brexiteers - just omit inconvenient facts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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