The results of the European Elections were declared last night (27 May) and, much like the local elections earlier this month, it was clear voters were punishing the two bigger parties (Conservative and Labour) for indecisiveness over Brexit.
Across the East of England, the results were:
- The Brexit Party – 604,715 (37.83%)
- Liberal Democrats – 361,563 (22.62%)
- Green Party – 202,460 (12.67%)
- Conservative and Unionist Party – 163,830 (10.25%)
- Labour Party – 139,490 (8.73%)
- Change UK The Independent Group – 58,274 (3.65%)
- UK Independence Party (UKIP) – 54,676 (3.42%)
- English Democrats – 10,217 (0.64%)
- Independent (Attila Csordas) – 3,230 (0.20%)
Bedford Borough voters followed suit by favouring pro-Brexit parties, but also hinting at the Borough’s 2016 referendum result with the Lib Dem pro-remain party close behind.
Labour were unceremoniously dropped into third place with less than half as many votes as the second place Lib Dems.
However, Bedford Borough voters showed their dissatisfaction with the Conservatives even further, pushing them into fifth behind the Greens.
Bedford Borough European Election Results 2019:
- Brexit Party – 13868
- Lib Dems – 10924
- Labour – 5307
- Green Party – 5115
- Conservatives – 4194
- Change UK – 1658
- UKIP – 1254
- English Democrats – 298
- Independent- 67
Spoiled papers – 268
Turnout – 36%
Despite the Conservatives suffering significant losses in votes, the main casualty in the Eastern region ended up being Labour’s Alex Mayer.
Speaking the the Bedford Independent, Alex said: “It has been a huge privilege to serve as Labour MEP for the East of England and I am deeply disappointed we were not able to hold our one Labour seat.
“While this is a setback for Labour in an election with a peculiar set of circumstances I have no doubt that we will bounce back. The Conservative government remains in crisis and we are still in a Brexit stalemate.
“I look forward to a General Election to give us the power to change communities and put our socialist values into action.”
Speaking about her time as MEP for the Eastern Region, Alex added: “Highlights have included making the pro-European “Remain” case, presenting the world’s largest animal-related petition at the United Nations, visiting hundreds of organisations and charities across the East of England.
“[I’ve also] worked in partnership with the trade union movement to improve conditions for millions of workers, voting to ban single-use plastics, working with colleagues to secure an historic European Parliament hearing on human rights abuses in Kashmir and making big businesses pay their fair share by voting for tough new rules on tax avoidance.
The results mean that the following candidates were voted in as MEPs:
- Richard Tice, Brexit Party
- Michael Heaver, Brexit Party
- June Mummery, Brexit Party
- Barbara Gibson, Liberal Democrat
- Lucy Nethsingha, Liberal Democrat
- Catherine Rowett, Green
- Geoffrey Van Orden, Conservative
How long they actually end up serving as MEPs remains to be seen. On 2 July they’ll attend the first meeting of the European Parliament since these elections.
What next for our MEPs and Brexit?
But there are other factors in play, running parallel to the EU Parliament timetable.
After Theresa May’s resignation announcement last week, the fight for a new leader of the Tory party, and our Government, will start on 15 June at the National Conservative Convention.
Many will see this as a chance for those vying for leadership to make their intentions known and encourage favour from gathered party members.
The party has said it hopes to have the new leader decided by the end of July.
Whoever is chose will have a resounding impact on the way that Brexit is handled.
Boris Johnson, for example, has said that he want to leave Europe, deal or no deal, on 31 October. That’s the current date agreed by Britain and the EU.
While Boris may be a potential favourite, he’s not alone in his bid and he’ll be challenged by a mix of Brexiteers and Remainers, and those who have firmly stated that ‘no deal’ isn’t an option.
These include foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, former Brexit secretary Dominc Raab and former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom.
Environment secretary Michael Gove, home secretary Sajid Javid and health secretary Matt Hancock have also hinted they’ll put their hats in the ring.
Between the choosing of a new Prime Minister and the next Brexit deadline, there’s also a whole host of events that could further affect the UK leaving of the EU.
Despite any future votes in parliament, yes there may still be some more, we’ll see the Conservative party conference at the end of September and the EU Summit in mid-October.
Brexit will be high on the agenda at both events and what our new Prime Minister says at either event may well delay Brexit further.