So, What's Just Happened?

Josh Brunning · 11:42 Monday, 27 May 2019

Well, in summary: the country is just as divided as it has been since June 2016. Last night we saw Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party taking seats from his old party UKIP. The parties that support Bexit recieved about 50% of votes cast, as did those parties that would like to remain in the EU.

If you add together all the MEPs from “remain” parties you get 27 “remain” MEPs (16 LD, 7 Green, 3 SNP & 1 PC) against the Brexit Party’s 29 which is pretty even. But the most important thing I notice about these results are this: it’s all about brexit.

These EU parliament elections seem to have been taken by many as another “referendum on Brexit” and we should have an actual second referendum. And while that has been almost the only thing the parties have campained on, these MEPs will in reality have very little say on Brexit themselves. Even if all of the remain MEPs vote against Brexit in the European Parliament, they only make up 3.5% of the 751 MEPs.

Another important point is the decimation of the Labour and Conservative parties. Together, they’ve lost 25 seats: more than the number UKIP won in 2014 of which UKIP lost all last night.

This BBC graphic shows the vote shares of the Labour and Conservative parties in EU elections.

The two “big” parties combined recieved less than 25% of the votes and about the same proportion of MEPs (thanks to the proportional system used in EU elections) but as you can see, this is part of a larger trend over the last 40 years with support for these parties diminishing steadily.

Naturaly, last night’s results for the Conservatives and Labour were hugley affected by people thinking, rightly or wrongly, that they are both to blame for what they see as the mess we are currently in. If we had left on the 29th of March, we obviously wouldn’t have had these elections but perhaps the Local Elections would have gone better for both of them.

A BBC graphic showing the trends of Labour & Conservative vote shares in remain and leave areas

What is amazing about the Conservative party’s losses is that they didn’t win a single electoral area.

I think that the Greens are perhaps the surprise of the night, gaining an additional 4 MEPs and an extra 4% of the vote. They have one MEP in 7 of the 12 UK regions.

The Liberal Democrats did fantastically, winning at least one MEP in every region except North East England and Wales - three in both London and South East England. They now have 16 MEPs compared to just one going into these elections.

As Ben Brown said on the BBC News Channel, it’s usually the small parties getting squeezed by the big parties in elections. Last night, in this proportional system, it was very clearly the other way round

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