Edward McMillan-Scott: People wanting second Brexit vote ‘clear winners’ in EU elections

Written by Martin Banks on 28 May 2019 in News
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A former British Vice President of Parliament says that people who want a second vote on Brexit were the “clear winners” of the European elections.

People's Vote rally | Photo credit: Press Association


Edward McMillan-Scott told this website on Monday that analysis of the 2019 results across Britain “shows that parties giving whole-hearted backing for a People’s Vote - a second referendum on Brexit - were the clear winners of the contest.”

The former UK MEP said the five “firmly” pro-People’s Vote parties - the “surging” Liberal Democrats and Greens, the SNP, Change UK and Plaid Cymru - won 40 percent of the vote compared to 35 percent for the Brexit Party and “failing UKIP.”

Labour’s “poor” performance is almost entirely due, he believes, to losing support to parties that “firmly back” a People’s Vote, he said.


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“This included huge swings against Labour in northern cities such as Liverpool and Manchester where the vote share for pro-Brexit parties did not increase at all.”

He added, “A poll taken after Theresa May’s unsuccessful vote on Brexit showed the highest level of support for Remain in the UK at 56 percent - and 78 percent of Labour voters wanting a People’s Vote.”

“The five firmly pro-People’s Vote parties plus the Labour Party, which gave qualified support to the idea of the public having the final say - won an overall majority of the vote – 56 percent - against just 44 percent for the Brexit Party, UKIP and the Conservative Party.”

“The overall number of MEPs won by parties giving full or qualified support for a People’s Vote was 37, compared to 33 for the Brexit Party, UKIP and the Conservatives. The parties giving full or qualified support for a People’s Vote gained 9 seats overall, compared to an overall loss of 10 seats for the Brexit Party, UKIP and the Conservatives.”

“The five firmly pro-People’s Vote parties plus the Labour Party - which gave qualified support to the idea of the public having the final say - won an overall majority of the [UK] vote” Edward McMillan-Scott

McMillan-Scott, who defected to the Liberal Democrats from the Conservatives when he was an MEP, said, “Now the battle is on to stop a No Deal outcome, as Labour leaders like Emily Thornberry pile pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to call for a public vote to end the parliamentary impasse.”

A former European Parliament Vice-President, McMillan-Scott was leader of the 36 Conservative MEPs from 1997-2001 but left the party in protest at David Cameron’s split from the EPP.

He now coordinates pro-EU organisations in London and has raised some €2.5m for the People’s Vote campaign.

He said he did not stand in this election because his new party - the Liberal Democrats - earmarked the top spot in Yorkshire & Humber for a BAME candidate.

The results of the European elections have led to a fragmentation of Parliament with neither of the two biggest blocks, the centre-right and Socialists, commanding sufficient numbers to form a coalition on their own.

Further reaction came from Denis MacShane, a former UK Europe Minister under Tony Blair, who said, “The over excited claims earlier this year that team Trump in Europe - Le Pen, Salvini, Wilders, AfD - were going to take over the European Parliament are now revealed to be wildly overblown lazy reporting encouraged by academics who should know better.”

“Even in the UK Nigel Farage’s 33 percent - while an improvement on his 2014 score of 27 percent - is far short of the 52 percent who voted for Brexit in 2016.”

“In the UK both main parties were punished. Mrs May’s hard Brexit line failed to hold Tory voters … Labour was punished by Corbyn’s incoherent, confused and contradictory line on Europe” Denis MacShane, former UK Europe Minister

The former Labour MP said, “In the UK both main parties were punished. Mrs May’s hard Brexit line failed to hold Tory voters who have been encouraged to oppose the EU by Tory leaders and MPs for 20 years. Labour was punished by Corbyn’s incoherent, confused and contradictory line on Europe.”

“But the UK reflects the rest of Europe where there are now many different parties reflecting different identity politics - green, nationalist, in addition to shrinking traditional 20th century formations of centre right/left/liberal.”

He added, “The EPP with its Spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber was rejected by three out of four voters so his claim automatically to be the new Commission President cannot be sustained.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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