In Peterborough, eastern England on June 6, the Labour Party narrowly held on to a seat in Westminster, overcoming a challenge from Nigel Farage’s newly born Brexit Party to win by less than 700 votes.
Labour candidate Lisa Forbes won with 10,484 votes, while the Brexit Party came second on 9,801 votes, while ruling Conservatives came third with 7,243 votes.
“Despite differing opinions across our city, the fact that the Brexit Party have been rejected here in Peterborough shows that the politics of division will not win,” Forbes said speech shorty after the victory.
However some Brexit supporters attributed victory to ‘Pakistani vote” claiming registration of up to 14 people per household.
Far-right parties’ intentions to create a powerful Eurosceptic bloc in the European Parliament (pciutred) failed when Poland’s ruling nationalists Law and Justice party – and the UK Brexit Party both announced they would not join such a congregation.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s conservative ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), ruled out joining a political group along with Italiy’s Lega Salvini, France’s National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which won 29 of Britain’s 72 seats in the European Parliament, also said it would not join Marine Le Pen‘s Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group. Britain is due to quit the EU on October 31 but the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will start their work from July onward, and stay until Brexit takes place.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he did not know if he could have a meeting with Donald Trump during the U.S. president’s state visit to the UK. (Image: archive).
Farage said he was waiting for a call from Trump.
The European Parliament election in the UK on May 23 is expected to demonstrate the polarization of views over Brexit, with strongly Eurosceptic and Eurocentric parties. (Image above: European Parliament, Strasbourg, France).
The pro-Brexit voters are largely expected to support Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Among the Remainers the vote will be splintered between several strongly Eurocentric parties: the Liberal Democrats, Change UK and the Green Party.
The United Kingdom is divided into 12 electoral regions – nine in England, and one each for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In total it will elect 73 Members of the European Parliament (MEP).
Parties submit a list of candidates for each region, and voters select a party rather than an individual candidate. As the seats are allocated to a party, they in turn allocate them to candidates starting from the top of their list.
Britain is taking part in the elections because it delayed the date of its exit from the EU, but its MEPs will leave the parliament when Brexit happens. If the UK has left the EU by the end of June, the MEPs will not take up their seats.
Although there is an understanding that Brexit without a legal framework would be a catastrophe, the ‘open end‘ extension of Article 50 is not considered as an option for Members of European Parliament (MEP), who consider it would import British political crisis from the Westminster, and block the development of the European Union. There is also a concern that Brexit crisis might ‘hijack‘ the European elections, imposing its own agenda.While the MEPs recommend, it is up to the European Council to decide if an extension can be granted, and for what period of time.
Julie GIRLING, MEP (EPP, UK), explains that the request to shift the UK departure deadline (March 29) might be refused as a result of the alliance between Matteo Salvini Eurosceptic Lega and Nigel Farage Brexit party, insisting “Leave means leave’“.