What the result of the European election means
Friday 31st May 2019 | Jake
The results are in, and numerous sides are claiming victory, which points towards just how divided the UK is, and how difficult the European election results are to read. The media was happy to portray the Brexit Party as Sunday’s victors, and there’s no arguing they made the biggest splash, but their first place in the polling doesn’t necessarily mean Britain has overwhelmingly decided to leave Europe, never mind the no-deal Brexit the Brexit party supports. So what did the European election results mean?
Firstly, voter turnout for the elections were about 37% in the UK. The elections decide who the UK sends to the EU as a Member of European Parliament (MEP). Although this turnout was relatively high for Britain, it lagged behind the European average, which was above a 50% turnout. In comparison voter turnout for 2017’s General Election in the UK was close to 68%.
Nonetheless, voters delivered more than a few messages in the elections. There was a clear rejection of the Tory and Labour parties, with voters taking out their Brexit frustration on the two main parties. Although the travails of the Tories and Labour aren’t as black and white as that, where voters turned to suggests it was a major concern to the public.
The Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, romped to victory with over 31% of the vote. However, their dominance doesn’t necessarily mean the public wants to go through with Brexit. Parties vowing to remain in Europe also performed well, with the Lib Dems finishing second with over 20% of the vote. Two years ago Labour secured 40% of the vote in the European elections, on Sunday, however, they managed a lowly 14%. Clearly traditional Labour supporters had been disillusioned with the party.
Their performance still managed to beat the Conservatives, who finished a dismal fifth. The Greens came fourth in the vote, gaining support from voters wanting another referendum, as well as people voting concerned by climate change.
Overall support was split between leave supporting parties and those supporting a second referendum, displaying the divide among the British people set in motion when the Tories announced a referendum on EU membership. The latest deadline for leaving the EU has been set as the 31st of October 2019. However, with a new Prime Minister due in July and a General Election becoming more and more plausible, uncertainty’s reign of chaos over the UK looks set to continue.