Nigel Farage’s anti-EU Brexit party has topped European Parliament polls in the U.K., putting intense pressure on the ruling Conservatives — who suffered a historic rout — and raising the chances of a no-deal outcome. The single-issue Brexit Party, founded just three months ago by Farage, combined with pro-EU forces to trounce the nation’s two dominant political parties in the European Parliament election, as angry voters blamed the ruling Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party for the country’s Brexit impasse. With complete results announced Monday, the Brexit Party had won 29 of the U.K.’s 73 EU seats up for grabs and almost a third of the votes. On the pro-EU side, the Liberal Democrats took 20 percent of the vote and 16 seats — a dramatic increase from the single seat it won in the last EU election in 2014. The opposition Labour Party came third with 14.1 percent, followed by the pro-European environmentalist Greens who captured nearly 12.1 percent. The Conservatives — apparently blamed by voters for failing to deliver Brexit in March as planned — were in fifth with under 10 percent of the vote. The election leaves the U.K.’s exit from the EU more uncertain than ever, with both Brexiteers and pro-EU “remainers” able to claim strong support. The result raises the likelihood of a chaotic “no deal” exit from the EU — but also the possibility of a new Brexit referendum that could instead reverse the decision to leave. A triumphant Farage said he doubted the
Britain’s governing Conservative Party was all but wiped out in the European Parliament election as voters sick of the country’s stalled European Union exit flocked to uncompromisingly pro-Brexit or pro-EU parties. The main opposition Labour Party also faced a drubbing in a vote that upended the traditional order of British politics and plunged the country into even more Brexit uncertainty. The big winners were the newly founded Brexit Party led by veteran anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage and the strongly pro-European Liberal Democrats. With results announced early Monday for all of England and Wales, the Brexit Party had won 28 of the 73 British EU seats up for grabs and almost a third of the votes. The Liberal Democrats took about 20% of the vote and 15 seats — up from only one at the last EU election in 2014. Labour came third with 10 seats, followed by the Greens with seven. The ruling Conservatives were in fifth place with just three EU seats and under 10% of the vote. Scotland and Northern Ireland are due to announce their results later. Farage’s Brexit Party was one of several nationalist and populist parties making gains across the continent in an election that saw erosion of support for the traditionally dominant political parties. Conservative Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was a “painful result” and warned there was an “existential risk to our party unless we now come together and get Brexit done.” The results reflect an electorate deeply divided over Britain’s 2016
“While 63 percent of leavers say they will vote for the Brexit Party in the European elections, the most popular party among remainers (Labour) only has 31 percent, versus 22 percent for the Lib Dems and 14 percent for the Greens,” Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium said.