Anti-Brexit parties won the biggest share of the European vote, despite the Brexit Party’s surge and Nigel Farage’s claims of victory, campaigners have claimed.
People’s Vote campaigners highlighted how the five parties who they said campaigned explicitly against Brexit and for a People’s Vote – the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the SNP, Change UK and Plaid Cymru – won 40% of the vote, compared to 35% for the Brexit Party and Ukip.
Adding in Labour, which gave qualified support for another referendum, takes the anti-Brexit side to 56% and counting Conservative votes on the pro-Brexit side gives 44%, the Press Association reports.
Pollster Professor John Curtice said things were not quite so clear cut, although voters were polarised and had clearly rejected the attempted compromises of Labour and the Conservatives.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Some want to add the numbers up to say that actually rather more people voted for pro-referendum parties than no-deal parties, therefore this was a mandate for a second referendum.
“Well, we can argue about the extent to which the SNP’s vote is actually a Remain vote – it is predominantly but not wholly – and if you take them out actually it’s 35:35.
“But in any event, whether it’s 35 or 40, it’s still less than 50%, so I think the honest truth is that neither side can claim on the basis of these results that voters are sending clear signals.”
However, Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat deputy leader and People’s Vote supporter, claimed the results breakdown showed there was no mandate for a no-deal Brexit.
She said: “The real story from last night’s results is the huge surge in support for the Lib Dems and other strongly pro-People’s Vote parties, who look set to win a larger share of the vote than parties backing a no-deal Brexit.
“There is no majority in either the country or in Parliament for a crashing-out of the EU with a no-deal Brexit.
“Two-thirds of people who voted in this election rejected Nigel Farage’s terrifying vision for our country.
“There was no mandate for this form of Brexit in the 2016 referendum – when it was scarcely discussed – and it is fanciful to pretend such a mandate exists now.”
The People’s Vote campaign highlighted how parties giving full or qualified support for a People’s Vote gained nine seats overall, compared to an overall loss of 10 seats for The Brexit Party, Ukip and the Conservatives.