The Brexit Party win 32% of the UK vote with 29 of the 73 UK MEP seats.
- LibDems 20% with 16 seats
- Labour 14% with 10 seats
- Greens 12% with 7 seats
- Conservatives 9% with 4 seats
- SNP 4% ( 38% in Scotland ) with 3 seats
- Plaid Cymru 2% ( 20% in Wales) 1 seat.
Brexit supporting parties total 35% of the vote as opposed to 35% of the vote to “Remain” supporting parties.
The “Remain “ vote for the Greens is not so straightforward as many voters would have supported them for environmental causes. The Labour and Conservative votes are neither Brexit nor Remain, as no one knows, but their stated policies are still to deliver Brexit.
However, the Brexit party was the only sole issue party and its high vote share indicates a majority for leaving the EU with or without a deal. There will now be strong pressure on the Conservative party’s new leader to deliver Brexit by 31st October.
As for Labour, if they come out in favour of another referendum, they risk losing even more support. Both Labour and Conservatives lost heavily ( 10 and 15 seats respectively )
The UK was not supposed to take part in these EU elections but has ended up doing so because the UK Government has failed to deliver on Brexit
This the 9th EU election the UK has participated in. The first one was in 1979, which involved just 9 countries
The turnout then across the EU was 61.99% and has been steadily decreasing to 42.61% in 2014.
The UK’s turnout started at 32.35 %, not changing much over the years to 35.6% in 2014
The highest UK turnout was 38.52% in 2004.
This time, it was 37% in 2019
(28 EU countries took part with average turnouts higher than the UK’s and averaging 51%)
The turnouts compare very unfavourably with UK General Elections.
(On 7th May 2015 it was 66.4% and on 8th June 2017 it was 68.8%)
These though compare unfavourably with the Referendum on UK EU membership, held on 23rd June 2016, with a turnout of 72.21 %.
And this compares unfavourably with the Scottish Independence referendum on 18th September 2014, with a turnout of 84.59%.
The low election turnout by the UK compared with other EU countries is due to a number of factors:
The UK electorate has never been sufficiently interested in the EU elections
It is perceived that the elected MEP’s are costly, unaccountable and have little or no influence on EU decision making.
The Proportional Representation system is seen as unfair, with candidates being elected on party lists, with no opportunity to vote for or against individuals on those lists
Many perceive that voting in the EU elections is acknowledging the legitimacy of the EU, and therefore refrain from voting.
This is especially so after the UK voted in 2016 to leave the EU. Many decided not to vote because democracy has been shown to not be respected in the UK. It is therefore likely that a bigger proportion of “Leave” voters refrained from voting than “Remain” voters.
Irrespective of the turnout figures , the complications caused by the number political choices available to the voters, and other factors, there are some clear signs of frustration in the two main political parties, reflected in their poorer results:
- Labour had 24.4% of the vote and 20 seats last time, compared with 14 % and 10 seats this time
- Conservatives had 23.93% of the vote and 19 seats last time, compared with 9% and 4 seats this time
- Liberal Democrats had 6.87% of the vote and 1 seat last time, compared with 20 % and 16 seats this time
- Green Party had 7.87% of the vote and 3 seats last time, compared with 12 % and 7 seats this time
The LibDems and Greens both put themselves forward as the anti-Brexit parties and managed to increase their votes and numbers of seats.
Change UK, the new anti-Brexit party did not manage to make a sufficient impact and were effectively in competition with the other two anti-Brexit parties.
They have not stood before and they had 3 % of the vote and won no seats this time. It is not necessarily the end of them as a party though.
The other parties and Independent candidates and the Independent Network, suffered because of a mixture of insufficient support and a PR voting system which worked against them.
The Brexit Party did not stand last time, but has swiftly overtaken UKIP as the perceived main Brexit party.
Logically, it would be best to compare them with UKIP, especially as Nigel Farage has been the leader of both) as follows:
- The Brexit Party had 32 % of the vote and 28 seats compared with 27.49% and 24 seats last time ( by UKIP )
- UKIP itself achieved 3% of the vote and no seats compared with 27.49% and 24 seats last time.
- UKIP suffered because of internal party issues, a number of controversies and the formation of the rival Brexit Party
- In Scotland, the SNP had 29.9 % of the vote and 2 seats last time compared with 38 % and 3 seats this time
- In Wales, Plaid Cymru had 15.26% of the vote and 1 seat last time compared with 20% and 1 seat again this time
- In Northern Ireland the previous results were: 1 seat each to Sinn Fein, the DUP and UUP, using the Alternative Vote (AV) system. This time, it was I seat each to Sinn Fein and the DUP.
Note: The electoral system used by EU Member countries to elect their MEP’s is up to the individual member countries themselves as long as it is a form of Proportional Representation or of Alternative Voting (AV ) systems.
There is no reason why the UK could not have used the AV system for all of the UK, which would have been fairer.
The 5th May 2011 UK Referendum on whether to change from the First Past the Post system
Although the UK had a Referendum on 5th May 2011 on changing from the First Past the Post voting system to the Alternative Voting System rejected on a 42.2% turnout, this only applied to UK Parliamentary elections.
The Brexit supporters will maintain that these results indicate the public are still impatient for leaving the EU, with or without a deal.
The anti- Brexit supporters will maintain that their support is increasing and the best way of ascertaining public opinion is to have another referendum ( what they refer to as a peoples’ vote).
The votes for the Labour and Conservative parties will be claimed by both Brexiteersand anti –Brexiteers, but as this election has been seen as an opinion poll or plebiscite opportunity by many of the public, it is likely that the result will more assist the Brexit cause.