Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 12:17 UK

What the EU vote means for parties

Ballot papers for the European elections
The vote did not bring good news for Labour

By David Thompson
Political correspondent, BBC News

The numbers from the European Union elections speak for themselves - and they are screamingly bad news for Gordon Brown.

There's pain for Labour in almost every part of the country:
- Beaten into third place nationally by the UK Independence Party
- Beaten by the Scottish National Party for the first time in a UK-wide election
- Beaten into second place in Wales for the first time since 1918 by the Tories
- Beaten into fifth place in the South-East and South-West of England by the Greens
- Beaten into sixth in Cornwall - by the Cornish nationalists

Any way you slice it, to borrow a phrase from a great Norwegian sports commentator, "Gordon Brown, your boys took one hell of a beating."

BNP leader Nick Griffin celebrates
BNP leader Nick Griffin celebrated - but polled fewer votes than in 2004

The big winner is Ukip. Against many predictions, its share of the vote went up and it gained an extra MEP, taking the total to 13 - the same number as Labour.

The BNP too is cock-a-hoop about a set of elections which gives it two MEPs. Leader Nick Griffin described it as a "massive breakthrough."

But dramatic as they were, the BNP results should be analysed carefully.

They actually got fewer votes in the North-West and Yorkshire and the Humber this time than they did in 2004.

The reason the party now has two MEPs is because of the collapse of the Labour vote rather than any huge surge in support for the BNP.

It's the same for the Tories in Wales. Their share of the vote increased by less than 2% - but Labour's dropped by 12%.

Overall, the Conservatives have increased their share of the vote - but not by much.

What is reassuring for them is that support for Labour has plummeted and they appear to have been less badly affected by the expenses scandal than their main rivals.

For the Lib Dems, it was a so-so night. They gained an MEP, but their share of the vote was actually marginally lower than in 2004.

Leader Nick Clegg said it was a platform from which to build for the general election.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown pictured on 7 June, 2009
Gordon Brown's leadership is under increasing strain

The Greens can point to an impressive advance in the number of people willing to vote for them - and their ability to beat Labour in the south - but are bitter that doesn't translate into more MEPs than the two they have already.

What all of this means for Gordon Brown and his grip on the leadership of both his country and his party remains to be seen.

Opponents make the argument that it proves he's a loser and the sooner they get rid of him the better.

Supporters say it proves that ditching the leader now would almost certainly mean a snap election, which in the current climate would mean the annihilation of the party at Westminster.

Either way, Labour MPs will be analysing the results from their region, working out what they would mean in their own constituencies... and making a decision about what to do about Gordon Brown.

Print Sponsor


MEP Seats

  Votes MEPs
Party % +/- % Total +/-
EPP 33.4 -1.4 264 -18
Socialists 23.2 -4.1 183 -26
Liberal 11.0 +1.6 84 +5
Green 7.4 +1.3 50 +9
Left 5.3 -0.6 34 -2
UEN 3.4 +1.6 28 +2
Ind/Dem 2.7 -1.8 21 -15
No Group 13.6 +3.4 72 +3.4
0 of 27 countries declared.

UK Total MEP Seats

Party Votes MEPs
% +/- % Total +/-
CON 27.7 1.0 *26 1
UKIP 16.5 0.3 13 1
LAB 15.7 -6.9 13 -5
LD 13.7 -1.2 11 1
GRN 8.6 2.4 2 0
BNP 6.2 1.3 2 2
SNP 2.1 0.7 2 0
PC 0.8 -0.1 1 0
OTH 8.5 2.4 0 0
SF 1 0
DUP 1 0
72 of 72 seats declared. Vote share figures exclude Northern Ireland as it has a separate electoral system to the rest of the UK
* Includes UCUNF MEP elected in Northern Ireland
BBC political editor Nick Robinson Nick Robinson
Follow the BBC Political Editor's assessment of developments
Harriet Harman on the big screen on the Breakfast set Harman defends 'dismal' result

David Cameron Cameron 'delighted' with results

Nick Clegg Clegg: Results 'a good platform'

Nick Griffin Jubilant BNP hails 'great victory'

Nigel Farage UKIP: A hell of an achievement


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific