By Richie Hancox
As the Brexit party make huge gains in the European elections across the UK, the results show the country is still as divided as it was in 2016 over Brexit.
The 2019 European election results were revealed Sunday evening, showing a visible rejection of the traditional main parties across the UK. With Nigel Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party taking a major lead, as the less than six-month-old party gained 29 MEPs and topped nine of the twelve UK regions.
In Islington the results showed the Liberal Democrats pipping Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to the post with 19890 votes compared to Labour’s 19017, followed by the Green Party in third place. The Brexit Party fared worse only managing 6505 votes and coming in fourth.
These results follow the national results trends with the Brexit Party leading the Liberal Democrats and Labour with the Conservative Party coming fifth overall nationally.
European Election results. Credit: Richard Hancox
The results come only three days after the current Prime Minister, Theresa May announced her resignation. With the Conservative Party leadership contest now under way the numerous potential party leaders were quick to dismiss the huge losses suffered.
European Election Results for Islington. Credit: Richard Hancox
Overall the turnout for the European elections was at its highest with 37% of the electorate turning out to vote. This is still far below other European states with Belgium turning out a huge 88% of the electorate. Some European voters in the UK however, were met with being told that they could not vote at their local polling station, even with a polling card. Midway through the day #DeniedMyVote began to gather pace on Twitter.
One Islington resident, originally from Greece, that wished not to be named told the Holloway Express, “I went to vote and was told I couldn’t. I have lived here for nearly 30 years and paid my taxes, yet when I arrived to vote I was told I couldn’t.”
The Electoral Commission responded to these complaints on Twitter by putting out a statement blaming the UK’s last-minute decision to participate in the European elections along with the Government’s reluctance to change electoral law.
We’re aware that some EU citizens, resident in the UK, have been unable to vote today and understand the frustration this has caused. Here’s our statement: pic.twitter.com/7ukg7arASJ
— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) May 23, 2019
Credit: Twitter/Electoral commission
Not all residents decided to vote though. Bože Duzel, 22, a Croatian national and recent graduate said, “I’m not interested in politics. I don’t believe democracy is a system where people have the power to change something.” He added, “All the decisions the EU make are predetermined and most members of parliament are not democratically elected.”
Looking forward after these results and with Theresa May now posed to resign, the aim of the spotlight has changed and has firmly fallen onto the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn and his lack of conviction in supporting a second referendum. Many members of the Labour party have blamed his lack of guidance and direction on their poor results in these elections.
One thing that hasn’t changed though is the divisions across the country in terms of Leave or Remain. With many commentators looking at these elections as an indication of public feelings towards a second referendum, it seems the result is very similar to the 2016 referendum results.
If all the voting percentages for parties with Remain-led manifestos are added together a total of 37.62% of the vote goes to Remain compared to adding the two parties with Leave manifestos, the Brexit Party and UKIP, where the total is 35.25% showing that although the Brexit Party polled well, the Pro-Remain parties still pulled slightly ahead.
Leave parties vs Remain. Credit: Richard Hancox
This leaves the Conservatives and Labour to make the difference. It has been clear that as parties they cannot compromise, shown after negotiation talks broke down earlier in May. The potential Conservative party leaders have also been seen to disagree on the direction the Government should take Brexit now.
Some voters also saw this election as way to voice their opinion on Brexit. Sam Edwards, 26, a retail manager told the Holloway Express, “I voted because I felt it was my duty to voice my opinion on something that will impact both me and the generations that follow.
“I felt that the referendum question was too ambiguous just being a yes or no, but no stipulations as to how we would leave. It’s all well and good that the decision was made but there was no contingency as to how we would leave and what came with us leaving.”
With all the divisions in UK politics currently showing themselves and a Conservative leadership contest underway, the coming months will be important in shaping the UK for its future. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has already begun to voice his support for a Public Vote on any deal in-line with the Labour Party backing this during their 2018 conference, more Parliamentary deadlock is sure to ensue.