EU Election results: Scots reject Brexit as Labour and Conservatives humiliated
Nigel Farage’s newly-formed party looked set to capture a seat in Scotland, but it was the Nationalists who won a commanding victory north of the Border where parties opposing Brexit were on course for a majority.
Scotland’s six new MEPs are the SNP’s Alyn Smith, Christian Allard and Aileen McLeod, Louis Stedman-Bruce from the Brexit Party, Sheila Ritchie of the Liberal Democrats and Baroness Nosheena Mobarik of the Conservatives.
A bruising night for the Conservatives and Labour saw both parties suffer major losses as the British public delivered a damning verdict of their handling of the constitutional crisis that has engulfed UK politics.
The Liberal Democrats, who have campaigned for a second referendum, were poised to claim second place UK-wide, indicating the polarisation across British politics over “Remain” and “Leave” remains as strong as ever.
Mr Stedman-Bruce looked set to seize a seat north of the Border for Mr Farage’s party backing a ‘no-deal’ departure form the EU and it was primed for widespread gains.
The SNP, which came out on top as expected with around 40 per cent of the early votes, saw Mr Smith and Mr Allard heading to Brussels as MEPs.
Mr Smith said last night: “Scotland’s a different country. We’ve got a different view of how we see our place in the world.
“We’ve got a different view about how we want to interact with our European continent. We voted clearly remain in the initial EU referendum and that vote has been clearly replicated with the vote which is doing well for my party.
“Taking the results in the round, it’s clear that Scotland’s for Europe – we have voted Remain again. That will cannot be ignored.”
Scots voted 62 per cent in favour of staying in the EU in the 2016 referendum, but the weight of votes south of the Border swung the outcome in favour of Leave.
The final results announced in Scotland showed the SNP winning 37.7 per cent of the votes in the European election – a total of 594,553 votes.
The Brexit Party came second with 233,006 votes (14.8 per cent), the Liberal Democrats in third with 218,285 votes (13.8 per cent), the Conservatives in fourth with 182,476 votes (11.6 per cent), Labour in fifth with 146,724 votes (9.3 per cent) and the Scottish Greens in sixth with 129,603 votes (8.2 per cent).
Change UK came seventh with 30,004 votes (1.9 per cent) and Ukip were in eighth with just 6,128 votes (0.4 per cent).
Mr Stedman-Bruce’s victory came at the expense of Ukip, which lost the seat it won in Scotland.
There was better news for the Lib Dems, who looked on course to finish second across the UK.
The outcome is likely to heap the pressure on the contenders for the Tory leadership to take a hard line and getting Brexit finalised without a deal.
The Brexit Party’s victory across the UK saw it claim over 30 per cent of the vote while the Tories were struggling to take 10 per cent just days after Theresa May announced her departure as Prime Minister.
The first seats declared on the night saw former Scottish Tory MSP Brian Monteith win a seat in the north-east of England for the Brexit Party, which took two seats in the region, while Labour took one seat. The Brexit Party’s 39 per cent share of the vote was double the 19 per cent racked up by Labour.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry blamed the lack of clarity about the party’s position on Brexit for its poor showing.
“We went into the election where the most important issue was what was our view on leaving the European Union and we were not clear about it.
“We were not clear on the one single thing that people wanted to hear and sent people out to campaign on that and unfortunately we just weren’t clear enough.”
She said the party must now come out clearly in favour of a second vote on leaving the EU.
The misery for the Tories continued just days after the announcement of Theresa May’s departure as leader, as the party was left heading for about 10 per cent of the vote.
The omens were bad for the big two when the first results of the night came through in Leeds and saw Brexit claim victory with 29 per cent of the vote. Labour slumped to 20 per cent (-13) while the Tory vote was down by 12 per cent. Tory leadership contender Boris Johnson tweeted a link to his Telegraph article, adding: “The message from last night’s results is clear. It is time for us to deliver Brexit and set out our positive plans for the country.”
Other results in ares like Sedgmoor in Somerset and Newcastle in the north-east saw big wins for the Brexit Party.
Turnout was up considerably north of the border by 6 per cent in some places, despite a lacklustre campaign, suggesting that Scots have been prompted to turnout by the recent Brexit turmoil. Edinburgh recorded a 50.2 per cent turnout, an increase from 41.6 per cent in the 2014 vote.
It was a similar picture across the EU, where the traditional parties had a bad night, while the far right enjoyed a surge in support. The Greens also fared well. In France, president Emmanuel Macron looked poised to suffer defeat to Marine Le Pen of the National Front.
Seventy-three MEPs will be elected to represent the UK, but they may only be in office for six months with the UK still poised to leave the EU in November.
The vote in the UK was never meant to happen at all following its decision to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum.