European elections

The Liberal Democrats’ dicey dozen: how many survived?

Just the one.

I predicted that the party’s MEPs would be reduced from 12 to three. In fact they have been reduced to a single person: Catherine Beader.

Her stint as Lib Dem MEP for the south-east England, which began in 2009, will continue. Those of her 11 former colleagues have ended.

Where my forecast departed from what actually happened can be pinpointed to two places: London and south-west England.

In London, Labour’s very strong performance in the local elections turned out to be mirrored in the European poll. The party’s share of the vote went up by 15.4 percentage points, enough to give it not just one but two new MEPs to add to its existing two. That rise, plus the tenacity of the Greens, doomed the Lib Dems’ Sarah Ludford to fifth place in the capital with just 6.7% share of the vote.

In the south-west, the same two parties were responsible. Improved performances by both Labour and the Greens pushed the Lib Dems down into fifth. The career of Sir Graham Watson, who has been Lib Dem MEP for this region for 20 years, is now over. Two new careers, for Labour’s Clare Moody and the Greens’ Molly Scott Cato, have now begun.

The drop in the Lib Dem’s vote was remarkably consistent across England and Wales. In every region bar two, the fall was between six and seven percentage points. The exceptions were north-west England, where the figure was -8.25, and north-east England, where it was -11.64.

Once the full results for Scotland and Northern Ireland are confirmed later today, we’ll get a complete picture of the share of the vote for all the parties.


2 responses to ‘The Liberal Democrats’ dicey dozen: how many survived?

  1. The vagaries of the D’Hondt system with regional constituencies.

    The Conservatives, Labour, UKIP and SNP each required about 200,000 votes to secure each MEP. The Greens got three seats for their 1.2 million votes. Lib Dems got over a million votes and one seat. Plaid Cymru got barely more than a tenth of the votes of the Lib Dems (and less than AIFU, BNP and English Democrats) and also got one seat.

    Hey ho. We managed to survive with 2 MEPs from the BNP for five years…

  2. And one of those defected to set up his own party! The far-right seems to have taken over from the far-left as the political group most prone to splits. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the number of Ukip MEPs is not 24 come five years’ time.

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