European elections LIVE: Labour ‘braced with sense of despair’ as party faces WIPEOUT
Mr Watson said he was “braced for a sense of despair” as fellow Remainer MPs said they have been met with fury while on the campaign trail, with voters pledging to ditch the party with anti-Brexit parties the Greens and Lib Dems. Writing in The Observer he said : “I want reports of high turnout in Remain areas to reflect a huge gain in votes for Labour. I fear that won’t be the case.” Results of the European elections will be revealed tonight, with the majority of EU member states voting today.
Pro-EU Labour MPs Wes Streeting and Ben Bradshaw both spoke of difficult doorstep experiences.Former Cabinet minister Mr Bradshaw said it was a “dispiriting” experience to see Labour voters “flocking” to the Remain-supporting Greens and Lib Dems.Meanwhile, Mr Streeting said it was “not the easiest of polling days”.
The Conservatives also fear a “total wipeout” after divisons have split the party, leading to its failure to deliver Brexit on time.It comes after a surge in support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, who have been predicted to win.A recent YouGov poll for The Times of 3,864 British adults, conducted between May 19-21, found Mr Farage’s party was predicted to win 37 percent of the vote.A total of 73 MEPs will be elected to represent the UK in the world’s largest democratic elections after India.
Although official results have not been released, exit polls in the Netherlands point to Frans Timmermans’ Labor Party – part of the S&D group in the EU – winning the lions share of seats in the European Parliament.On Sunday, polls opened at 4am UK time in eastern Europe and the last will close in Italy at 9pm UK time (10pm local time).Seven states have already voted, including the UK, with 21 member states casting their vote on the final day of polling.Remaining EU countries include European heavyweights Germany, France and Spain.FOLLOW EXPRESS.CO.UK FOR LIVE EUROPEAN ELECTION UPDATES BELOW:
11.45am update: Record turnout of Belgian nationals casting votes abroadThe Belgian Foreign Service reports record turnout among Belgians outside the country.Around 180,000 citizens voted in Belgian consular missions around the world.It is the highest number of Belgians to have ever voted abroad, the consular said.In 2011, Belgium became the world-record holder for not having a government for the longest amount of time.The latest polls suggest straightforward coalitions in the country’s three regions: a right-wing majority in Flanders and left-wing majorities in Wallonia and Brussels.Voting in Belgium is obligatory, according to DW's EU correspondent Georg Matthis.
11.30am update: Labour is “heading for a good kicking” in electionsShadow chancellor John McDonnell is also predicting a Labour whitewash in the Eu elections.His comments follow Labour Deputy Tom Watson saying the party must find “some backbone” as he said the party's stance on Brexit had potentially lost votes.Mr McDonnell told Sky News: "I think we most probably will get a good kicking in the election results tonight."We'll see. We are braced for that. But, you know, we had to do the responsible thing."It was a hard road to follow. But someone had to be there and say 'Can we bring the country back together again?'"And it would have been easy to go to one side, go to the Remain side and ignored all those people who voted Leave - that's not the nature of our party."We are the party that is trying to bring people back together again."That's been difficult electorally for us in these elections, of course it has. But now we have got to move on."
11.15am update: Marine Le Pen, Donald Tusk and other EU leaders cast their votesDuring the final day of voting in the EU elections, some of Europe’s biggest political names have cast their vote in what is being tipped as the most important bloc elections in living memory.Far right leader Marine Le Pen Rassemblement National (RN) President was seen smiling as she cast her vote in Henin Beaumont, Northern France.Recent polls suggested she was neck and neck with President Emmanueal Macrons liberal party.In Spain, acting Prime Minister and Socialist Workers Party leader (PSOE) Pedro Sanchez cast his vote on Zagreb, Croatia, with his wife Maria Begona Gomez Fernandez.In Wiledenburg, Germany, European People’s Party (EPP) Manfred Weber - a frontrunner for the job of European Commission President - looked relaxed as he attended a polling station.Meanwhile, Donald Tusk addressed reporters after he cast his vote ag a polling station in Sopot, Poland.Polls will close at 9pm BST after the last station closes in Italy.
10.50am: Europe’s 'federalist old guard’ may be challenged for first time ‘in decades'The Sunday Express' diplomatic editor Marco Giannangeli has said Europe's “old guard” may find their power challenged for the first time in decades.Experts claim this weekend's polling demonstrates the most important EU elections in living memory.As 400 million voters across the Continent await the results this week, there are already signs that EU members are more divided than ever, with more challenges from populist and Right-wing parties.Last week Poland said it wanted to implement the so-called “Red Card” system negotiated by David Cameron - which would allow a small group of EU members to veto legislation.It comes as Brussels indicated an increased appetite for getting rid of the current need for agreements on major foreign policy and defence decisions.Hungary’s nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban is also gaining support for his vision of ‘illiberal democracy’, which aims to check Brussels’ power.
Joe Gamp taking over live reporting from Claire Anderson.10.25am update: Germany's SDP party set to lose bastion state of Bremen to Merkel's CDUVoters in the northern state of Bremen look set to inflict a humiliating blow to Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), that could hasten the end of their loveless federal coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party (CDU).Polls in Germany's smallest state, focused on the port city of the same name, are tight but indicate the SPD risks losing a stronghold it has ruled for 73 years. No other German state has been ruled by the same party for so long.Elections to the European Parliament on the same day as Bremen's parliamentary vote could pile further pressure on Merkel's "grand coalition".The SDU reluctantly re-entered a Merkel-led coalition last year after slumping to its weakest level since 1933 in the 2017 federal election. It has since sunk even lower, polling at about 17 percent, more than 10 points behind the conservatives.
06.00am update: ‘Brussels will panic under no deal PM’ says Brexiteer columnistJanet Daley, a Brexit-supporting columnist, revealed that the European Union would be pressured into accepting UK demands if the Conservatives elect a leader who pursues a no-deal Brexit.Speaking on this, Daley told BBC Dateline: “Macron is absolutely adamant that there is no further extension.“The question is whether the heads of European states will be able to risk a no deal.“It will be very disruptive to many of the economies of the European states, particularly Germany."She added: "The EU will have to go back to their people and tell them that they didn’t make the necessary concessions to prevent a no deal.“They will be forced to explain why they allowed a no deal to happen.“They might just panic and think, we don’t want no deal, we don’t want to fall off a cliff.“If there’s a leader who is not ready to give up concessions to Brussels, this may happen."04.00am update: Huge turnout of voters last Thursday due to Brexit antipathy and Westminster chaos according to initials figuresAcross the European Union, just four in every ten voters registered in the 2014 elections.The UK had a voter turnout of 35.6 percent in 2014, compared to the EU average of 42.61 percent.Britain’s voter turnout for the European elections is similar to the proportion of people who vote in local council elections.Turnout is highest in Belgium and Luxembourg as both of these nations have made voting compulsory.But reports across the council suggest that there was a shocking increase in voter turnout.Among the local turnout figures published so far, Cardiff recorded an increase of nearly 10 percentage points in turnout from 2014, 41.6 percent in total this time compared to 31.7 percent (valid votes cast) five years ago.
02.00am update: Nigel Farage vows ‘we’re here to stay’ as Brexit Party likely to make huge gainsBrexit Party leader Nigel Farage wrote in the Sunday Express: “Boris pledges that the UK will definitely leave the EU on October 31, “Brexit deal or no deal”. But why should we trust him to keep his word?“The Brexit Party has taken politics by storm by fighting on a positive message. We are the only party that can be trusted to deliver Brexit.“Whatever happens with the European election results tonight, and whoever takes over as Tory leader, one thing is for certain. The Brexit Party is here to stay.”Sunday May 26 12.01am update: European elections results to be worst in Tories entire history, warns Priti PatelWriting in the Sunday Express, Ms Patel said: “Not only is the party set to have its worse result in a nationwide poll in its 180-year history but we find ourselves competing with minority parties.“We are witnessing the disintegration of trust in democratic institutions as the public rightly blame out-of-touch politicians who have colluded to block Brexit.“We have had a Government obsessed with winning a vote in the House of Commons on a terrible deal for our country, with MPs trying to negotiate deals with one another and an Opposition led by someone who simply has no concept of the national interest.“Now, following the European Election results, our establishment cannot continue to turn a blind eye.“For three years the establishment has patronised and sneered at the people but the backlash from these results cannot be ignored anymore.”
Claire Anderson taking over live reporting from Paul Withers.8.33pm update: Tory ‘KICKING’ could lead to no deal Brexit, warns Iain Duncan SmithIain Duncan Smith issued a warning to the Tory party insisting the next leader must implement Brexit and be open to the option of a no deal exit from the EU.The Brexiteer reflected on the failures of both the Labour and Conservative Party ahead of the release of the results of the European elections on Sunday.He said the predicted “kicking” the Tory Party will receive could result in a no deal Brexit becoming an option if Brexit talks start again with a new Tory leader.When asked about restoring confidence in the party the Leave supporter replied: “I am more concerned about the future of my country and democracy rather than party.“Here is the problem, the British people said after being asked, to leave the European Union.“They gave a very strong vote for that and we haven’t delivered that."We were meant to deliver it on March 29 and it didn’t happen so the way forward with votes for the Conservative Party and for the country is we now must get on and deliver Brexit, leave the EU and forge our way.“I am really optimistic and I think the British people are the most flexible, most tolerant and most innovative people on the face of the planet.“I know they will deal with whatever is thrown at them but we need to deliver now on what they said and leave the EU.“Whoever is the candidate needs to pledge that we will be leaving we are not going to delay it, we are not going to extend it, we will leave now."
7.18pm update: Ireland’s Green Party on course for first European Parliament seats in 20 YEARSSupport for the Green Party in Ireland has surged during European elections, putting it in line to take its first seats in the European Parliament for 20 years, an exit poll showed on Saturday.According to a RED C exit poll of 3,230 voters in stations across Ireland for broadcaster RTE/TG4, the Greens were set to win as many as three of the 13 European seats available.Irish Green leader Eamon Ryan said in a statement issued by the European Greens: "We cannot yet count our chickens but the exit polls for the Irish Greens are extremely encouraging."Our MEP candidates Ciaran Cuffe, Saoirse McHugh and Grace O'Sullivan have put their heart and soul into campaigning across the three constituencies over the past few months."He told RTE earlier: "We knew there was going to be a Green vote and it's everywhere; it's rural Ireland, urban Ireland, younger Ireland, older Ireland."It's reflective of a green wave of thinking that's happening all over the world, all across Europe. We were waiting for it to rise here and it has risen today."We still don't know the results obviously. We're going to be close on a couple of the European seats. I think we're in with a chance."
6.10pm update: Alastair Campbell SHUNNED Labour to vote for ‘Remain party’ in European electionsAlastair Campbell has admitted he shunned Labour and instead voted for an unequivocally pro-remain” party in the European elections.Tony Blair’s former spokesman told BBC Radio 5 Live it was the “first time in my life” he did not vote for Labour in an election.He also launched a stinging attack on the party, warning its “policy of riding two horses has failed”.Mr Campbell told Stephen Nolan: “I voted for one of the unequivocally pro-remain, pro-People’s Vote parties and I did that because I think that’s the right thing for the country.“I also think it’s the right thing that the Labour party gets the message that this policy of riding two horses has failed.”
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Luke Hawker.4.15pm update: Macron against the expansion of the European UnionEmmanuel Macron has declared he is opposed to expanding the European Union beyond its current 28 member states, in what could be seen as damning blow to the EU project.French President has stated he is against creating a “United States of Europe” because the bloc is already “very complicated”.Mr Macron insisted his vision is to enable a much more “united Europe” but one which enable countries to have more say on their domestic policies.In an Interview with Youtube Mr Macron said: “I don’t support complete federalism. I am in favour of a much more united Europe. I believe in national and European sovereignty. That means that we decide our own destiny and we set our own rules.”He added: “I do not want to create the United States of Europe because the heads of state and government still have a role to play.”
2.45pm update: Macron to be taught ‘humility’ if French President suffers losses in EU electionsFrench President Emmanuel Macron will be taught “some humility” if he suffers losses at the European Parliament elections, Jordan Bardella, spokesman for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally has said.Mr Bardella, who previously served as president of the Front National,hit out at Mr Macron’s social policies which has see rioting from yellow vest protestors throughout 2019.He told French newspaper Le Parisien: “If he loses, it will teach him some humility. Then he will have to give up the anti-social reforms he is about to implement.”Mr Bardella also stated it would be a “failure” for the people of France if Mr Macron came out on top in the EU vote.He added: “If Macron comes first, he will feel legitimate and think he has full powers.”
1.20pm update: Le Pen leads President Macron in final poll before EU voteMarine Le Pen's far-right party is set to gain the most votes ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron in the European Parliament election.Ms Le Pen’s National Rally remained in the lead on 24.5 percent whilst Mr Macron’s centralist La Republique En Marche party trailed on 24 percent in the last opinion poll before France goes to the polls tomorrow.The two leading movements were followed by Europe Ecologie-Les Verts on nine percent , France Insoumise on seven-and-a-half percent and the PS-Place Publique on five-and-a-half percent.Meanwhile turnout is expected to be between 43 and 47 percent.The Ipsos/Sopra Steria internet poll for French TV and Radio asked 3,355 potential voters between Wednesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 23.
12.50pm update: Verhofstadt’s desperate plea to voters to reject eurosceptic groupsGuy Verhofstadt has delivered a desperate call for voters to continue to back the EU project and reject challenges from Eurosceptic parties in the European Parliament elections.The European Union Brexit Coordinator has called on Europe to unite as a “European family” as the bloc conclude the EU elections this weekend.Mr Verhofstadt wrote on Twitter: “For the last 70 years, Europeans have been defining their future together: we are a European family! Let’s make sure nobody takes this away from us! #RenewEurope #EUelections2019.”
12.20pm update: Millions of ballot papers sealed as anticipation for EU election result growsMillions of ballot papers in hundreds of sealed boxes around the UK have been pictured from the European Parliament elections.However the much anticipated count will not begin until all 28 European member states have case their votes at the polling station.Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is forecast to surge to victory after the Government failed to deliver Britain’s exit from the European Union.In the last YouGov poll for The Times the Brexit Party was predicted to win 37 percent of the vote.A result is not expected until 10pm on Sunday.The survey asked 3,864 British adults from May 19-21
11.45am update: Salvini confirms talks with Nigel Farage to create “revolution”Matteo Salvini has confirmed talks have already taken place with Nigel Farage to create a “revolution” across Europe.Deputy Prime Minister of Italy is confident of forming an alliance with the Brexit Party leader in the European Parliament.In an interview with La Stampa, Mr Salvini said: “We are already talking to Nigel Farage. We can really make the revolution possible in Europe.”
11.15am update: Verhofstadt calls for investigation after citizens denied vote in EU electionGuy Verhofstadt has called for an investigation into how thousands of EU nationals and British expats were denied to vote in the European Parliament election.Thousands complained on social media under the hashtag ‘Deniedmyvote’, citing apparent administrative errors by local councils.European Parliament Brexit coordinator said: "Worrying reports of EU citizens in UK being denied the right to vote & told to vote 'at home'. The scale of this apparent problem needs to be investigated."The Electoral Commission said they "understand the frustration" the situation has caused and attributed the problem to the "very short notice" on the UK's participation in the European elections.EU citizens must transfer their vote from their member state to the UK in a process which must be done 12 working days in advance of the poll.It said in a statement: "The very short notice from the Government of the UK's participation in these elections impacted on the time available for awareness of this process amongst citizens, and for citizens to complete the process.”
10.40am update: Labour poised for worst election day in 35 YEARSThe Labour Party is set for its worst election result in decades, according to one of its own MPs.Ben Bradshaw has slammed Labour’s European election campaign as “the most dispiriting” for 35 years.The MP for Exeter since 1997, hit out at Jeremy Corbyn’s lack of clarity on Brexit which he claims has driven away support for Labour.Mr Bradshaw wrote on Twitter: “That was the most dispiriting Election Day in 35 years a Labour member. Our voters are flocking to the Greens & Lib Dems because of their clear & unequivocal support for a #FinalSay #peoplesvote & Remain.“So sad & so avoidable. #BrexitShambles #EUelections2019.”READ MORE: European elections: Corbyn’s DISASTER as Labour poised for worse election day in 35 YEARS
10.20am update: Green Party set for surge in IrelandThe Green Party is set to claim victory in Dublin according to the latest exit poll by Irish broadcaster RTE.The Party’s former junior minister Ciaran Cuffe is forecast to win 23 percent of the vote. The poll also indicates that a candidate from Ireland's largest party, Fine Gael's Sean Kelly, could be re-elected, with the survey of voters in the South constituency putting him on 16 percent.Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness looks likely to top the poll in the Midlands/North West constituency.The polling firm RedC spoke to 3,230 voters in stations across Ireland.