European Elections 2019: the results…

Exciting, isn’t it? The anticipation of election results where we’re almost bound to improve on last time. And with the wind in our sails. Now, I’ve been around long enough to expect disappointment, but let’s see, shall we?

00.51 So, with only Scotland and Northern Ireland to report, here’s the current picture;

  • Brexit Party – 28 seats (up 28)
  • Liberal Democrats – 15 seats (up 14)
  • Labour – 10 seats (down 8)
  • Greens – 7 seats (up 4)
  • Conservatives – 3 seats (down 15)
  • Plaid Cymru – 1 seat (no change)
  • UKIP – no seats (down 23)

The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party is pretty much gender balanced, seven men, eight women, and with two BAME members. And, with the expectation that Sheila Ritchie will be expected in Scotland when the results are finally declared, it will be our best set of European election results ever.

And on that note, I’ll wind things up for the night. Sleep well, everyone, and enjoy the moment…

00.47 And we have the final English region, the North West, and the news is good;

So, Chris Davies is back, and is joined by my old colleague from the Young Liberals (pre-merger Young Liberals, I’d add), Jane Brophy. Congratulations to them both.

Final tally here – 3 Brexit, 2 Labour, 2 Liberal Democrats, 1 Green.

00.33 Very much closer to home, the Liberal Democrats came second in Mid Suffolk, beating the Greens into third and the Conservatives into a distant fourth. That reverses the local elections three weeks ago when the Greens came second…

00.30 I am reminded that we now have more MEPs than MPs…

00.24 South East results are in, and it’s another three MEPs for the Liberal Democrats, with Catherine Bearder safely re-elected, and now has Antony Hook and Judith Bunting to share the workload across this enormous region.

The final tally for South East… Brexit Party 4, Liberal Democrats 3, Greens 1, Conservatives 1, Labour 1

And yes, Dan Hannan got back in…

00.18 A London postscript… we won in Barnet, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, Wandsworth and Westminster.

23.58 So, we’re waiting for two of the largest English regions now, South East and North West. Scotland won’t fully declare until lunchtime tomorrow, as the Western Isles don’t count on a Sunday. We could be in for another five, maybe six, if the reports coming in are to be believed.

23.53 It’s really happening very quickly now, with East Midlands and the South West now declaring…

That’s three more Liberal Democrats, with Bill Newton Dunn back in the East Midlands, and Caroline Voaden and Martin Horwood successful in the South West.

Full results from each;

  • East Midlands – three Brexit, one Liberal Democrat, one Labour
  • South West – three Brexit, two Liberal Democrats, one Green

And, there’s a rumour that Dan Hannan has lost his seat in South East England…

23.45 The state of the Parties so far;

  • Brexit Party – 15 seats (up 15)
  • Liberal Democrats – 7 seats (up 7)
  • Labour – 6 seats (down 6)
  • Greens – 4 seats (up 3)
  • Conservatives – 2 seats (down 7)
  • Plaid Cymru – 1 seat (no change)
  • UKIP – no seats (down 12)

23.41 So, we have seven seats so far, four women, three men, two BAME. It’s going to be a very different Liberal Democrat Group in the European Parliament from the pre-2014 years…

23.38 Results coming in thick and fast now, as Yorkshire and the Humber has declared…

Congratulations to Shaffaq Mohammed, who has got in fairly comfortably. Three Brexit, one Labour, one Liberal Democrat, one Green.

23.31 And another pick-up in the West Midlands, where my colleague from Federal International Relations Committee, Phil Bennion, has been successful, having lost his seat in 2014.

Three Brexit, one each for Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Conservatives.

23.29 Wales is confirmed, I’m afraid, where we’ve come fourth, but not close enough to take the fourth seat from the Brexit Party. Commiserations to Sam Bennett, having achieved our best ever European result in Wales.

Two Brexit, one Plaid, one Labour here. Again, no Conservative though…

23.26 More local results. We’ve topped the poll in Warwick, and Stockport and there’s been a huge win in St Albans. Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire have both seen big wins, we’ve won Lewisham too.

23.22 Word is reaching me that we’ve fallen short in Wales. Now, we’ve never won a Welsh seat, and you wouldn’t have given the prospect much thought a month ago, but based on what’s happened so far…

23.15 Here’s the full result from London…

23.04 London has declared… and we’ve topped the polls! We’ve won in the places you might expect, but Barnet? Westminster? Kensington & Chelsea? Merton? A fantastic effort by London Liberal Democrats reaps the rewards of three MEPs, Irina von Wiese, Dinesh Dhamija and Luisa Porritt. Two Labour, two Brexit Party and one Green. No Conservatives…

Well done, everyone!

22.56 And now, my own region, East of England…

I make that three Brexit, two Lib Dems, one Green and one Conservative… The first two gains of the night for the Liberal Democrats! Congratulations to Barbara Gibson and Lucy Nethsingha!

22.48 Lots of talk that Change UK cost us the third seat in the North East. Here’s the more detailed result…

Maybe they cost us a seat, maybe not. Would more than half of their votes have gone to us? Bear in mind that we would have had to overtaken Labour, or got to 19.5% to have gained the third seat…

22.34 Rather better news for our candidates in the South West, as Gibraltar has declared…

And I thought that we’d done well there last time. I make that 80% for the Liberal Democrats there.

22.32 The first disappointment, I’m afraid, with Fiona Hall missing out in the North East, where two Brexit Party and one Labour candidate have been successful.

22.23 The first results are imminent – North East is expected to declare shortly – but the reports so far are… well, pretty amazing…

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36 Comments

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '19 - 10:30pm

    North East Result – Labour gets 3rd seat 15k more votes that LDs but Change UK got 25K votes

    The Change UK Party prevented LDs getting that 3rd seat in the North East.

    Let us not think kindly of them, tonight. They are a shower. Stopping LDs winning seats.

  • Tristan Ward 26th May '19 - 10:39pm

    Heidi Allen reported as calling for a merger with Lib Dems.

  • The North East result points a how the LIb Dem vote is reshaping. In that in 2009 the party polled 17.6% on a national share of c.13%.

    Now looking at a national share of c.19-20 there is about the same vote share in the NE as 10 years ago.

    But then reports of big gains in London etc.

  • John Chandler 26th May '19 - 10:57pm

    Well, we have a big membership drive at the moment. Change UK members are more than welcome to trade in and join our party. I don’t think they have enough on offer to make a merger meaningful.

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '19 - 10:59pm

    Eastern:
    The 7th seat goes to Tories with 163K votes
    Lib Dems 3rd MEP candidate having 120k
    Chane UK 58,274
    So you can see again that voting Change UK instead of LD cost Lib Dems their 3rd seat – cost a remain seat.

  • John Marriott 26th May '19 - 11:11pm

    When all the dust settles, on the assumption that what we had in the U.K. was really a watered down referendum on EU membership, we should forget about the MEPs elected and concentrate on the percentage of votes cast. I think we can assume that most of the votes for the Lib Dems, Green and Change UK, as well as parties like Plaid, SNP and the Alliance Party support Remain. Compare that combined percentage with the votes for the Brexit Party and UKIP and see what the difference us.

    At this stage I haven’t included the Tory and Labour votes, although there must be a fair number for Remain even there. If you can find a way of working out on which side their votes fell it would be interesting whether Leave or Remain actually ‘won’ on what was, compared with the 2016 Referendum, a much lower turnout.

  • Peter Watson 26th May '19 - 11:22pm

    @John Marriott “on the assumption that what we had in the U.K. was really a watered down referendum on EU membership, we should forget about the MEPs elected and concentrate on the percentage of votes cast”
    And the turnout which suggests that despite all of the soul searching since 2016 the prevalent attitude in the UK is neither Remain nor Exit, but more of a don’t know / don’t care!

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '19 - 11:31pm

    Bill le Breton
    I don’t think you understand how d’Hondt works, Bill.
    Lib Dems got about 360,000 and Tories 163,000. To get a third seat before the Tories got their first seat, Lib Dems would have needed to get three times as many votes, i.e. about 489,000 – so Change UK’s 58,000 (even if they would all have gone otherwise to the Lib Dems, which of course they wouldn’t) wouldn’t have made any difference.

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '19 - 11:32pm

    In Wales, Labour get ther 4th seat with 127k to our 113k … with 24,332 wasted ChangeUK votes that would have given us the 4th seat not Labour!

    It goes on

  • Malcolm Todd 26th May '19 - 11:39pm

    Back in 1983, Bill, did you take the view that it was all the fault of the SDP/Alliance that the Tories won the election?

  • Bill is again right, changeuk acted as a diversion and cost the Lib Dems seats. It would have been far better to put forward a combined slate, with all pro remain parties, but egos prevented this. A salutary tale, either the remainers hang together or they will surely hang apart.

  • It’s looking like an excellent set of results for us – all built on the superb results in the local elections in May. The Greens have done well too, but it was the Lib Dem councillors (and candidates) who made it all possible!!

  • I’m sure all those involved in the party over that last decade or so will reflect on their intense feelings of sadness and upset at seeing Saj Karim and Diana Wallis failing to get re-elected.

  • I’m so upset at that news oncealibdem that I’ll struggle to sleep tonight. Both left the Lib Dems for greener fields, not so green tonight; I fear it is the end of their poltical careers
    https://youtu.be/gZaAkuXTIz4

  • nigel hunter 27th May '19 - 3:00am

    The media is saying that the Brexit Party is only 6wks old. FALSE. It was opened in November 2018 as a COMPANY NOT a political party.

  • ethicsgradient 27th May '19 - 4:59am

    We are where we were in 2016. 50% of the country wish to leave, deal or no deal. 50% wish to remain.

    It has always been the fundamental question: does the UK wish to be part of a county/federated union and give up the idea of the nation state or maintain the basic political structure of the nation state.

    The is the core of the question.

  • There is no question of the U.K. giving up being a nation state. There is a question of democracy. The U.K. trades with many nations. When we trade with Europe there is a democratic structure, so we can know what is happening. If we trade without being members of the EU there is no democratic structure except a nod of approval by parliament.
    We really need to start talking about the real EU and campaign for our continuing membership of a unique experiment in democracy.
    Let us campaign to keep control of our country. To keep democracy.

  • Forget about Change UK. LibDems need to be bold and secure an alliance with the Greens for the next GE. That would bring together the large majority of last night’s anti-Brexit surge. Then it’s simply a matter of asking the individual CUK MPs whether they are in, or not.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th May '19 - 8:21am

    Malcom Todd

    Back in 1983, Bill, did you take the view that it was all the fault of the SDP/Alliance that the Tories won the election?

    What do you mean by “SDP/Alliance”? The SDP was rather like Change, a small party that there wasn’t much point in having because the Liberal Party was already there and active.

  • John Chandler 27th May '19 - 8:51am

    @Ian Sian Berry seems very anti-Lib Dem, so it’s going to be difficult with her in charge. Speaking locally, we’ve got a good relationship with the local Greens which has also been encouraged by cross-party groups like the European Movement. I’d be quite happy for us to work more with them. We have a lot of overlap, such as environmental policy and electoral reform.

  • The referendum showed about one third ‘Remain’, one third ‘Leave’ and one third couldn’t be bothered to vote.
    This result shows about one quarter ‘Remain’, one quarter ‘Leave’ and just over half couldn’t be bothered to vote.

    The Brexit referendum was the worst political upheaval this country has faced in peacetime and the best thing for this party in my lifetime. After the coalition disaster (where this party showed it stood for nothing) this election was a ‘single issue’ vote with a disorganised Tory party and a Labour party trying to be all things to all men. In England, at least, it was basically LibDem or Farage.

    As for the future; who knows? However, most voters are ‘tribal’ and, like switching banks, tend to remain loyal even when not getting the best deal. Having voted ‘differently’ this time many will find it easier to ‘break the habit’ next time around.

  • John Marriott 27th May '19 - 9:50am

    I’m not really interested in the relative merits of any of the parties contesting the EU Parliamentary Elections in the U.K. What I AM interested in is how the percentages might give us some idea of what the outcome of another EU referendum currently might be, especially in England. If we put aside for a moment the votes cast for Tory and Labour and look at those cast for parties whose position on Brexit is more or less more defined, we come up with an interesting conclusion. The vote for the Brexit Party and UKIP amounts to around 35%, while the combined vote for the Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK is around 37%.

    How you work out where the Tories and Labour stand is anybody’s guess. Their combined percentage is around 23%, with Labour on around 15%. I know a number of prominent Tory and Labour figures have admitted to having voted Lib Dem last Thursday and therefore Remain, although I would imagine that many of their remain inclined voters stayed loyal to their regular party. Tory party members are alleged to split 80/20 in favour of Leave, while it is said that Labour Party members split more or less the other way. If you could find a way of applying that difference to the overall percentages, which is way beyond my pay grade, then things look pretty tight, with Remain still ahead, but not by enough to put the matter to bed. Interestingly, Dr John Curtice reckons that we should not include the nationalist parties in the final calculation as there are significant numbers of Leavers within their supporters.

    If we take the U.K. as a whole it would seem as if we are as polarised as ever. If compromise is not achievable either in the country or, more importantly, in Parliament, then, although I have always been in favour of trying to get a deal, I am sadly coming to the conclusion that it might now have to be a fight to the finish between a No Deal Brexit and Remain in a Referendum, unless another General Election intervenes.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th May '19 - 10:10am

    @ John Marriott,
    I totally agree with you.

    Listening to those who an the pay grade for number crunching, in particular Professor Michael Thrasher on Sky last night, I think one must conclude that a so called ‘People’s vote will lead to an inconclusive outcome, even if the remain side ‘beats’ the leave side .

    I don’t know what the outcome of an election would be, but it would have to be accepted. A ‘People’s Vote’ , even if the figures for the 2016 outcome were reversed, would solve nothing when it comes to reuniting the nation.

  • Bill le Breton 27th May '19 - 10:20am

    Malcolm – as you have often detected my brain is not as sharp as it once was and so I have had to struggle into a mental time machine to get back to 1983 and of course before that night, in fact to David Steele’s foolish decision to persuade Jenkins to form a new Party rather than to join the Liberals.

    So, yes I think I thought, then, it a mistake, though memory can be fallible, and although I was busy getting Steve Ross re-elected (as Chair of his Campaign Committee) and defending my own council seat on the night of the election, I think I probably was dismayed by the huge wastes of time and energy sorting out the mechanics of an Alliance.

    Which is why I am horrified by the prospect of this happening all over again and diverting us from the task of defeating the threat to freedom posed by Farage.

    Of course Jenkins brought some huge political bravery and and some good people with him. But as with Change, there were no really switched on campaigners which is the trouble with people coming from one of the two big parties who don’t ever have to get themselves elected.

    These types, as we see with Change, are really dead weights and in some cases hugely divisive people, viz Cartwright and Owen (the latter I saw at close quarters and the former who really disliked our two parties’ councillors working so closely together).

    My conclusion then and now is that it was and is wrong to be burdened by them. Let them dwindle. Let them try to win their seats if necessary but give them nothing more. They would want a disproportional influence to their ability and they have shown themselves rather devious in their relations with us. Let them be what they are, Independents brought together by failed ambitions.

    Let them meet their Bootle as soon as possible.

    Re 1983, it is seldom realised that the polls began to shift back to the Tories in December 1981 – five months before the Argentine invasion of the Falklands. So, even without that war Thatcher would have won in 1983, perhaps by more, and even without the SDP the Liberals would have lost. In the Isle of Wight we used the prospect of a Tory landslide to our advantage.

    Steve Ross held on … as did David Alton.

  • I think ChUK have a lot of thinking to do, and they should sort themselves out in private not in public. Anna Soubry has just been on TV trashing Heidi Allen for her comments on tactical voting last week. It’s not a good look.
    They also need to sort out what they actually stand for. Beyond Brexit I mean. You have 3 Tory MPs and 8 people from different bits of the Labour ‘broad church.’ Before we even consider if/how to work with them we need to see some meat on the bones.

  • Bill le Breton 27th May '19 - 11:52am

    George, I worked closely with SDP councillors and MPs prior to the merger. But the people you mention would have followed Jenkins into the Liberal Party – their contribution would have been similar. The names I mentioned and others were antithetical to Liberals as was borne out by where people went on merger. The trouble makers without exception stayed with (the continuing SDP). We hear the same vitriol from certain members of ChangeUK: that should be our warning.

    The Alliance was an enormous distraction. The country and Europe face a huge challenge over the next ten years. We are just ten years post Great Financial Crisis -that is the equiva;ent of where Japan was economically in the year 2000. If Europe follows Japan along that path, and the ECB is as disinflationary as the Bank of Japan was in 2000, the far right’s fortunes will continue to grow and their appeal widen and deepen.

    We are the Party which in the UK is the most likely to be able to produce campaigns capable to halting their advance in these islands. We can’t afford to do that whilst carrying ChangeUK on our backs.

  • Thank you for that contribution George. I came to the Liberal Democrats from the SDP and I like to think I have done my bit since then. I am fairly certain that I would not have joined the Liberal party at that point despite having huge respect for the few Liberals toiling away in the north east of England. David Steel was right at the time.

  • Bill le Breton 27th May '19 - 12:33pm

    So Kay are you for merging with UK or formalising an Alliance? They clearly are only at an advantage in the seats they hold. Would you recommend Liberal Democrats stepping aside in other seats? Are you hoping that other MPs would then come across, not to us, but to Change UK? Have you the time to facilitate this in your patch?

  • Sue Sutherland 27th May '19 - 1:08pm

    Please can we think about the future and not re-enact past battles on the day we have woken up to the best result ever for our party.
    Let’s concentrate on how we can use this tremendous boost to sort out the Brexit mess. The country is still divided and the Tories and Labour are obviously both deeply unpopular. If we had another referendum the country would still be deeply divided. It’s obvious who we should be attacking and it’s the Brexit party. During the last Referendum campaign we were at a very low point and were sidelined from the campaign. Now we may be able to get coverage for our ideas and policies which might give more people a reason to choose Remain over Brexit but we aren’t going to do it if good experienced people in the party get side tracked. One of the aspects of our policy should be how to reform the EU so there is a role for people who see the faults in that body. We have established ourselves as the largest Remain party so now we can turn to how to move forward out of the bog of Brexit.

  • Bill le Breton 27th May '19 - 1:25pm

    Sue, you urge us to ‘concentrate’- that is what I have been urging and that is the very word I have been using. The evidence from the only experience we have of this is that it is an enormous and wasteful distraction.

    Of course our spokespeople should not be attacking them. They have a role. The role is to bring in the seats they hold. They do not have a very great following in any other seats/local authority areas as results last Thursday from those authority areas demonstrate, therefore, any encouragement for them to take a role elsewhere than their existing seats obviously reduces our effectiveness in those areas, be it in a referendum or in local elections or in a general election.

  • Paul Barker 27th May '19 - 1:39pm

    The clear “Message” right across Britain is that a “Triple Alliance” of LDs, Greens & Change would have been the largest “Party” on Thursday.
    Of course, when we look at Westminster Polling, The Triple Alliance would still be in 3rd Place with “Only” 22%, behind The Tories on 24% & Labour on 29% but it would have momentum behind it & a clear story to tell.
    Once the By-election is out of the way in 10 Days time we should begin talks with The Greens & Change. I know there’s the Leadership contest as well but I believe that We can do 2 things at once.

  • @Paul, yes, that was my point above. The opportunity is to forge a third force in British politics alongside the Greens. Too many posters above are obsessed with CUK when the real opportunity is to combine forces with the Greens, around the principles of political reform, opposition to Brexit, and a focus on the environment. CUK have nowhere to go and the sensible ones will join us in time, anyway.

  • It was just a protest vote. Most people as per usual in EU elections shrugged and stayed at home. The only people who could be bothered to vote either way were the tub thumpers. In fact it was even more pointless than usual because the winners are purely symbolic and will play no meaningful role in the organisation they were elected to. In October or sooner they will all be back at home thumb-twiddling and wondering how to fill the gap in their earnings.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th May '19 - 5:38pm

    George Kendall

    It’s distressing to read some former Liberals dismissing the SDP.

    It’s distressing to read people dismissing the Liberal Party. When someone writes of the “SDP/Alliance” that suggests they believe the main party getting votes and challenging Labour/Conservatives in the 1980s was the SDP.

    In reality in was the 1974 general elections which saw the Liberal Party grow and become a serious challenge to Labour/Conservative in many parts of the country. They fell back a bit in 1979, for several reasons, but the Liberal Party had strengthened and was building up, and most likely would have got similar votes in the 1983 election to what it got in 1974 had there been no SDP.

    The suggestion that was made, and still sometimes repeated, that the Liberal Party in the 1980s was just a historical relic and the SDP was responsible for the third party boom is completely incorrect. What was actually happening was that the Liberal Party was building up through local activity, but the establishment and centralised media missed this and so were completely unaware of the strength the Liberal Party had built up by then.

    The SDP set out to be a replacement for the Labour Party, but within months failed to do that. Instead, the votes it was getting was people who would otherwise have voted Liberal. This was made clear when it demanded that the Liberal Party allow it to stand in “winnable seats” by which they actually meant constituencies where Liberal Party activity had built up the votes.

    So an issue was that much time and effort was wasted negotiating between the Liberal Party and the SDP. Some feel that the Liberal Party would have done better than the Liberal/SDP alliance had it not had to waste time doing that. The SDP did recruit new members, but many dropped out early on when it became clear the SDP was not going to rush to instant success. Instead it was mostly experienced Liberal activists who had to spend time explaining to SDP members just what was actually needed in terms of local activity for a third party to win votes.

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