Elections 26 May 2019 The New Statesman 2019 European elections liveblog The results as they come in from around the country. Photo: Getty Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up Welcome to the New Statesman liveblog. Please press 'refresh' for updates 19:41: And with the final three MEPs declared, the 2019 European elections in the United Kingdom are over - as is the short but eventful life of its premier liveblog. We've been Patrick Maguire and Stephen Bush. These are your final results. Brexit Party - 29 MEPs (up 29), 31.6 per cent (up 31.6 points) Liberal Democrats - 16 MEPs (up 15), 20.3 per cent (up 13.7 points) Labour - 10 MEPs (down 10), 14.1 per cent (down 11.3 points) Green Party - 7 MEPs (up 4), 12.1 per cent (up 4.2 points) Conservatives - 4 MEPs (down 15), 9.1 per cent (down 14 points) The SNP have three MEPs, while Plaid, the DUP, Sinn Féin and Alliance have one apiece. See you in 2024! 19:34: That's it from Northern Ireland. Alliance's Naomi Long - thought to be in a close race for third place - has come in second, with Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson in third. It's a remarkable result for Alliance, who more than doubled the number of first preferences they won in 2014. Taken together with their surge in this month's council elections, it is clear that the party is in the ascendant. That is in no small part down to Long's charismatic leadership. Her party now indisputably owns the centre-ground and has demonstrated its appeal reaches beyond non-aligned voters and liberal unionists, its happiest hunting ground traditionally, to moderate nationalists too. Sinn Féin, whose vote fell, are doing their best to spin the Alliance surge as a happy consequence of their electoral hegemony. In 2014, Anderson won a commanding victory and was elected on the first count. Today she insisted that her own voters had lent their vote to Long in the knowledge that she would return to Brussels whatever happened. That isn't necessarily untrue, but in an election that saw the party slump in the Republic, a 3.3 per cent drop in vote share will give the party some cause for concern. Yet in public it will insist the real victory is that Northern Ireland's electors returned two pro-Remain MEPs. Note that Sinn Féin, unlike the DUP, did not insist that its voters transfer to the other nationalist on the ballot, the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood. The moderate nationalist party's vote held up but, despite a creditable campaign that majored on its pro-European credentials, they did not come close to challenging. Indeed, they were so far behind Alliance on first preferences that transfers would have made very little difference anyway. In the end, they were eliminated before Jim Allister's Traditional Unionist Voice, a party that takes pride in its antediluvian, obstructionist stances on everything from the constitution to social issues. The rise of Sinn Féin has given the SDLP, once the hegemonic party of Northern nationalism, much cause for concern. But tonight's result suggests they have been looking in the wrong direction. Alliance has mucled into the centre ground at their expense. One friend of the leadership puts it thus: "They are caught between not being centre-ground enough for liberal unionists, and not nationalist enough for moderate Sinn Féin voters." And so it proved: just two per cent of UUP voters transferred to the SDLP. That ought to worry a party whose electoral sine qua non has always been cross-community appeal. With 65 per cent of the SDLP's own transfers going to Alliance, the risks and opportunities ahead could not be clearer. The UUP have even greater cause for concern. Northern Ireland's oldest party - for so long its natural governing force - were defending an MEP seat at this election, but capitulated. They were eliminated by the second count. Granted, the incumbent had retired, but their vote nonetheless cratered to such an extent that it raises existential questions for the party's future. Asked by the BBC why his party still existed, UUP leader Robin Swann could only put it down to their voters existing. Caught between the Alliance and DUP, Swann is finding that fewer and fewer such people do. And what of the DUP? It depends what question you're asking. From a party political perspective, it was, give or take, a good result. Arlene Foster's party consolidated its number of first preferences - up 0.9 per cent on 2014 - and, thanks to transfers from the UUP, Diane Dodds was the first candidate elected. But as far as the health of unionism as a political movement is concerned, the outlook is less clear. The vote share of other members of the soi-disant unionist family fell, and in the UUP's case fell precipitously. It's clear from Alliance's strong showing that an increasing number of voters reject the DUP's preferred feaming of the electoral question entirely. The appetite for a new, socially progressive politics will give the party's modernisers food for thought. The 2016 referendum could re-align politics in Northern Ireland as it appears to be doing in the rest of the UK. Then there is the casus belli of last Thursday's poll: Brexit and Westminster's failure to deliver it. The DUP explicitly sought a mandate to reject the Irish backstop, and as far as they are concerned, they got it. No shift will be in the offing and any prospective Tory leader still needs to square that circle. But the result the EU will pay attention to is the clear majority - some 57 per cent - for parties who support the backstop. It's for that reason that, despite the vagaries of tonight's result, the dimensions of the question as Brussels sees it hasn't changed. 18:48: A Conservative source gets in touch to point out that the party's Northern Ireland branch, which came dead last with a paltry 662 first preferences today, claims to have 800 members. 18:30: You can find my full report on Jeremy Corbyn's not-quite-shift to a pro-referendum position this evening here. The crucial point, says one pro-EU frontbencher, is that he still some distance short of offering “a full-throated endorsement of a second referendum with remain as an option, and Labour campaigning for it” that many MPs want. Expect this one to run and run. 17:43: As expected, the SDLP's Colum Eastwood is out of the running in Northern Ireland. Your scores on the doors after the fourth count. Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin) 128,200.5 (+ 10.5) Naomi Long (Alliance) 123,917 (+ 1,654) Jim Allister (TUV) 89,854 (+ 10,314) Colum Eastwood (SDLP) 82,413.5 (+ 312.5) Eastwood's 82,413 votes will now be recounted and the transfers redistributed, after which it's overwhelmingly likely Long will reach the quota. To those of you who are still following: thank you. 17:21: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell now appear to be singing from similar hymn sheets on a second referendum. The shadow chancellor tells Sky: "Our only option now is go back to the people in a referendum and that is the position we’re in now." Corbyn, meanwhile, has emailed his MPs to assure them that he believes "that the deadlock in Parliament can now only be broken by the issue going back to the people through a general election or a public vote. We are ready to support a public vote on any deal." It's not quite as strong as McDonnell's line, but it's stronger than we've come to expect from the leader of the oppositioin. I'll post the full text of the email in a separate blog shortly. 16:53: Just as protracted as Northern Ireland's STV count is this 33-tweet thread by Conservative Treasury minister Jesse Norman, who might or might not have just entered the race to succeed Theresa May. It's rather hard to tell. In recent days I’ve been asked a lot if I would stand for Leader of the Conservative Party. It’s already a crowded field, and my reply has been that the views of my constituents, party members and colleagues should shape that decision, and I will carefully consult among them. 1/ — Jesse Norman (@Jesse_Norman) May 27, 2019 16:40: Dodds won 51 per cent of UUP transfers. The TUV's Jim Allister won 29 per cent. Alliance's Naomi Long got 13 per cent, while the SDLP's Colum Eastwood won just 2 per cent. That's a strikingly bad result for a party whose electoral sine qua non was once its appeal, or transfer-friendliness, to unionist votes. (Though they have some distance to fall before they hit the 0.1 per cent Sinn Fein managed.) The scores on the doors after the third count. Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin) 128,190 (+ 73) Naomi Long (Alliance) 122,263 (+ 6,936) Colum Eastwood (SDLP) 82,101 Jim Allister (TUV) 79,540 Allister is all but certain to leapfrog Eastwood once the DUP surplus is redistributed. That isn't the finish the SDLP anticipated. 16:28: As my DUP source predicted earlier, Diane Dodds - the party's serving MEP - has been re-elected first in Northern Ireland, surpassing the quota on the third count. As her total of 155,422 is some 12,000 clear of the threshold, her surplus will now be distributed among the other parties. 15:22: Across the North Channel, the mood in Scottish Labour is souring after the indignity of a fifth place finish. Ged Killen, MP for the hyper-marginal constituency of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, takes the leadership to task in a frank piece for our Staggers blog. He warns Labour faces wipeout north of the border unless it recognises the concerns of Remain voters. This election felt like watching a slow motion car crash. The outcome was entirely avoidable and incredibly frustrating for people like me who have consistently argued for a final say referendum with Labour campaigning to remain. Instead, we have tried and failed to be all things to all people and it has left voters confused about what we stand for. It is crucial that we heal divisions in the country, but we can only do that by being straight with people and staying true to our values. Scottish Labour now has a choice to make: we can start listening and respond with the courage of our convictions, or we can continue to stick our heads in the sand and become an irrelevance in Scotland. Read Killen's full piece here. 15:05: The results of the second count in Northern Ireland have just been announced. Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin) 128,117 (+ 1,166) Diane Dodds (DUP) 127,291 (+ 2,300) Naomi Long (Alliance) 115,327 (+ 9,399) Colum Eastwood (SDLP) 80,949 (+ 2,360) Jim Allister (TUV) 63,872 (+ 1,851) Danny Kennedy (UUP) 54,736 (+ 1,684) Alliance, unsurprisingly, took the lion's share of transfers from the Green Party - their stablemates in the cross-community centre ground - and the Remain independents, while the DUP and TUV are the main beneficiaries from Ukip's exclusion. Having placed last, the UUP are excluded. That, frankly, is a dreadful result for a party that won the third seat reasonably comfortably in 2014. Just who Danny Kennedy's transfers benefit will offer a fascinating insight into just who is still voting for the UUP in 2019, and of the complexion of their unionism. Jim Allister stands a decent chance of securing a windfall that will take him above Colum Eastwood after the third count. To be eliminated to an unapologetic fringe politician in those circumstances would be something of a humiliation for the SDLP, whose high hopes have been unceremoniously dashed today. 14:50: Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster, DUP Arlene Foster does not deny the party has had conversations with would-be candidates for the Tory leadership. Speaking of which, Sajid Javid has just announced his candidacy. It appears to be unrironically branded Team Saj, which makes a bit of a mockery of all those times his team denied that was his preferred nickname. I’m standing to be the next leader of @Conservatives & Prime Minister of our great country. We need to restore trust, bring unity and create new opportunities across the UK. First and foremost, we must deliver Brexit. Join @TeamSaj to help me do just that #TeamSaj pic.twitter.com/qfH1lLNusQ — Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) May 27, 2019 14:07: What might results in Northern Ireland mean for Brexit? It's unclear, but a potential answer becomes clearer if you slice the numbers on the basis of whether each party supports the Irish backstop, the border insurance policy which ultimately felled Theresa May. Candidates that support it won 57.2 per cent of the vote, among them two of Northern Ireland's three MEPs. Expect Brussels to point to these results when the next Conservative leader attempts a renegotiation. 13:55: We have our first result from Northern Ireland, where first preferences have just been counted. Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin) 126,951 Diane Dodds (DUP) 124,991 Naomi Long (Alliance) 105,928 Colum Eastwood (SDLP) 78,589 Jim Allister (TUV) 62,021 Danny Kennedy (UUP) 53,052 Claire Bailey (Green) 12,471 Rob Hill (UKIP) 5,115 Jane Morrice (Independent) 1,719 Neil McCann (Independent) 948 Amandeep Singh Bhogal (Conservative) 662 Here are those numbers as percentages. Northern Ireland 1st prefs: SF 22.2 (-3.3) DUP 21.8 (+0.9) APNI 18.5 (+11.4) SDLP 13.7 (+0.7) TUV 10.8 (-1.3) UUP 9.3 (-4.0) GRN 2.2 (+0.5) UKIP 0.9 (-3.0) IND (Morrice) 0.3 (+0.3) IND (McCann) 0.2 (+0.2) CON 0.1 (-0.6) — Number Cruncher Politics UK (@NCPoliticsUK) May 27, 2019 With no candidate having reached the quota of 143,112, Bailey and the four candidates placed below her will be eliminated and their preferences redistributed. DUP sources at the count expect Diane Dodds to be elected first on transfers, despite placing second - and looking at the run of parties to be eliminated, that smells about right. Sinn Féin have cause to be disappointed but are claim tactical voting from their followers handed Naomi Long - and by extension Northern Ireland's Remainers, who now have two MEPs rather than one - victory. The big story here, of course, is the Alliance leader's stunning surge - she has more than doubled Alliance's number of first preferences from 2014. The numbers make grim reading for the UUP and they aren't much better for the SDLP, who, despite marginally increasing their vote share and running a much-praised campaign, are some distance out of the running. The Tory total of 0.1 per cent provides the punchline, but the real loser here is me: BBC Radio Ulster's feed from the count centre has cut out, and now they're playing Snow Patrol instead. 13:11: Issuing correction on a previous post of mine, regarding Ruth Davidson and Boris Johnson. She do not, under any circumstances, "gotta hand it to him". Just interviewed @RuthDavidsonMSP who argues the results of the EU elections show how entrenched the two sides are becoming & says the “kicking” of both the Tories & Labour parties shows they’ve “got to get back to the middle” and get Brexit across the line #EUelections2019 — Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) May 27, 2019 12:57: The SDLP is now calling the third seat in Northern Ireland for the Alliance. Running its leader, Colum Eastwood, was always going to be a high-stakes gamble for the SDLP, but it is fair to say that nobody expected it to backfire quite so badly. By all accounts the business of tallying votes is proceeding much quicker than anticipated, and, with the DUP's Diane Dodds having just arrived at the count centre, we could be due a result soonish. 12:48: Responding to results which saw Labour slump and Plaid Cymru soar, Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, has called for a second referendum and pledged his support for Remain in any campaign. That he has done so is a mark of how quickly the debate has shifted since his election last December: one of the main dividing lines in the leadership campaign was a new vote, with Drakeford by far the most hostile of three candidates on holding one. 12:39: Theresa May has emerged, half a day late, to reassure the Conservative Party that it's only a flesh wound. A very disappointing night for @Conservatives. Some excellent MEPs have lost their seats, some excellent candidates missed out. But Labour have also suffered big losses. It shows the importance of finding a Brexit deal, and I sincerely hope these results focus minds in Parliament — Theresa May (@theresa_may) May 27, 2019 The Prime Minister's basic analysis is correct, though those focussed minds aren't likely to be thinking of the same thing she is. 12:33: Richard Corbett, leader of Labour's much-diminished group in the European Parliament group, says Jeremy Corbyn's failure to endorse a second referendum explains last night's result. Many of his colleagues in the PLP - particularly those staring down the barrel of a fifth place finish in Scotland - agree with him. 12:23: Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP's chief whip at Westminster and a leading contender to suceed Arlene Foster, has more or less called the third seat in Northern Ireland for Alliance: he tells the BBC that Long could poll more than 100,000 first preference votes. That would more than double their 2014 result, which at the time was its best ever. Expect Donaldson to be thinking very deeply about what that result means for both the future of unionism and how the DUP should seek to shape it. His prediction is echoed by Long's predecessor as Alliance leader, David Ford, who says the party is on course to win 16 per cent of the vote. Again, that's more than double the 7.1 per cent it won in 2014 and well up from the 11.5 per cent they won in local elections earlier this month. 12:06: Ruth Davidson has blamed the poor Tory result in Scotland on the party's failure to deliver Brexit. Might she be preparing to make peace with the prospect of a Boris Johnson premiership? Many think these results do pose an existential question for the Conservatives, and plenty of the party's parliamentarians will conclude that Johnson is the answer. 12:01: A Sinn Féin source gets in touch to blame the SDLP's poor performance on Seamus Mallon, its former deputy first minister. Mallon, who has a memoir out, called last week for Northern Ireland's constitutional future to be decided by a dual consent mechanism that would require majorities of both communities to vote for a united Ireland, as opposed to the 50 per cent plus one threshold mandated by the Good Friday Agreement. "Mallon's comments hurt Eastwood getting republican transfers," avers the official. "We heard from plenty of people that he sunk it for second prefrences." It's a cute theory but Naomi Long's success probably has more to do with Naomi Long. And, perhaps, the tacit endorsement she got from the Sinn Féin leadership. What should worry the SDLP much more than its old guard's capacity to generate unwelcome headlines is the fact that its slick pro-European campaign lost it votes rather than broadening its appeal. One source familiar with the party leadership's thinking puts it well: "The UUP ran a bad campaign, but the SDLP ran a good campaign - and yet still they can’t pick up votes." 11:48: Final scores on the doors from Scotland, where the Western Isles have just declared. The SNP are on 37.8 per cent (up 8.8 points from 2014) and three MEPs (up one). The Brexit Party are on 14.8 per cent (up 4.3 points from Ukip in 2014) and one MEP. The Lib Dems are on 13.9 per cent (up 6.8 points) and one MEP (up one). The Conservatives are down 11.6 per cent (down 5.6 points) and one MEP. Labour are on 9.3 per cent (down 16.6 points) and have lost their two MEPs. The Greens are on 8.2 per cent (up 0.2 points); Change UK are on 1.9 per cent; Ukip are on 1.8 per cent (down 8.7 points). The SNP topped the poll in 30 of 32 council areas, while the Lib Dems won in Orkney and Shetland. Here's looking at you, Jo. Grimond, that is, not Swinson. So a great night for the SNP, a good night for the Liberal Democrats, and Brexit Party, bad but marginally better for the Tories than elsewhere in Great Britain, disappointing for the Greens, and plain awful for Labour. As for Change UK: considering its lead candidate defected to the Liberal Democrats halfway through the campaign, it could, I suppose, have been worse. 11:31: We have our first numbers from Northern Ireland, via the SDLP team at the count. They are, it turns out, the bearers of very bad news for themselves (and their nationalist rivals in Sinn Féin, though that will come as scant comfort). The three seats, as many expected, look set to go to the DUP, Sinn Féin and Alliance. Though headline change is one Alliance gain at the expense of the UUP, there is a hell of a lot of movement beneath the bonnet. New SDLP rallies suggest Diane Dodds will top the poll. UUP will lose seat. Dodds 102,000 Anderson 97,000 Long 75,000 Eastwood 55,000 Allister 47,000 Kennedy 40,000 Bailey 7,000#EuropeanElections2019 @BBCNewsNI — Darran Marshall (@DarranMarshall) May 27, 2019 Even allowing for lower turnout, those raw numbers look very disappointing for Sinn Féin, who led on first preferences in 2014. Danny Kennedy's poor showing is frankly apocalyptic for the UUP. The SDLP will be alarmed too. Their campaign was explicitly non-partisan and emphasised the party's pro-European credentials rather than its Irish nationalism. Yet it appears to have been comprehensively beaten by Alliance, who - slowly but surely - appear to be muscling Eastwood's party out of the centre ground. Polling showed Eastwood pipping Long for third place. After a surge for Alliance in Europe and on Northern Ireland's councils, the SDLP will be lucky to avoid the finish it sought to inflict on Long when Northern Ireland next goes to the polls. 11:23: Jeremy Corbyn is sounding notably less equivocal than usual on the prospect of a second referendum. He tells the BBC that Labour supports putting any Brexit deal to a public vote. Though, as has been clear from various pronouncements from the opposition this morning, it isn't immediately clear what that phrase means. 11:14: It's still very early in Northern Ireland, but both Sinn Féin and the DUP are expecting Naomi Long, leader of the cross-community Alliance Party, to take the third seat. Though the DUP urged its supportes to transfer to other unionist parties, the politics of an Alliance win would in the long run be good for the big two's bids to cement their status as the dominant parties of nationalism and unionism respectively. Sinn Féin's decision to encourage its voters to transfer to pro-Remain parties - read: Alliance - rather than their fellow nationalists in the SDLP, should be read in that light. It would also hand ammunition to the modernising faction within the DUP. If these predictions are borne out by the final results, by the way, all three of Northern Ireland's MEPs will be women and two will be Remainers. 10:55: As we await final results from Scotland, a reminder of where the parties stand with every council area but the Western Isles having declared. It's a good night for the SNP and Liberal Democrats, as expected for the Brexit Party, marginally better for the Tories than elsewhere in Great Britain, and plain bad for Labour, all but one of whose Scottish MPs have very slender majorities. The Greens will also be disappointed with their showing, which doesn't quite match strong results south of the border but can be explained by the SNP's ruthless consolidation of the pro-independence Remain vote. The SNP have 37.9 per cent, and are forecast to win three MEPs (up one). The Brexit Party have 14.7 per cent, and are forecast to win one MEP (level with Ukip in 2014). The Liberal Demorats are on 13.9 per cent, are forecast to win one MEP (up one). The Conservatives are on 11.7 per cent, and are forecast to win one MEP (no change). Labour are down to 9.3 per cent and no MEPs. The Greens are on 8.3 per cent, Change UK are on 1.9 per cent, and Ukip are on 1.8 per cent. Cumulatively, those numbers add up to... 45 per cent for parties of independence, and 55 per cent for unionist parties. 10:24: Labour's shadow cabinet is still talking at cross purposes on a second referendum. In the morning's least surprising intervention, Keir Starmer has endorsed a new plebiscite. John McDonnell, meanwhile, is trying his best to look like he isn't. So people are absolutely clear what I am saying.Of course I want a general election. But I realise how difficult this is to secure.I will do anything I can to block no deal Brexit. So yes if,as likely GE not possible, then I support going back to the people in another referendum — John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) May 27, 2019 That the row is already this messy does not suggest a straightforward resolution is in the offing. 09:49: There's an awfully long way to go before a result in Northern Ireland yet. But early indications from the count in Magherafelt, Co. Derry, are that the fight for the third seat is Remain vs Leave rather than Remain vs Remain, as I suggested earlier. Very early in the day yet, but early piles suggest Anderson and Dodds are very close. Allister is ahead of Kennedy. And Long ahead of Eastwood. #EP2019 #NorthernIreland — Mick Fealty (@mickfealty) May 27, 2019 09:28: SPLITTERS! Anna Soubry of Change UK - you know, the ones with no MEPs - tells the Today programme: “I think it is rather bizarre for an interim leader, on the eve of poll to tell people essentially not to vote for their party.” Soubry has spent this morning's broadcast round insisting that, contrary to whatever Heidi Allen and latterly Chuka Umunna are saying, the party has no plans to enter a pact with the Liberal Democrats. It's a bold gambit to be adopting after a night that saw Change's votes deny the Lib Dems additional MEPs in several regions (in the four regions they were beaten by Labour, Change votes would have put them ahead), but you do you I suppose. The disagreement within Change over whether to board the Vince train looks increasingly existential, and, indeed, intractable. The party's inaugural conference and leadership election are going to be quite something and will almost certainly be fought along pro- and anti-merger and lines. Stephen has a nice theory: the candidate of cooperation could win among members, who make up 50 per cent of Change's electoral college, while the candidate of going it alone will win among MPs and thus clinch the leadership. Call it a reverse Miliband. 09:07: You wait all morning for a longstanding ally of Jeremy Corbyn to criticise his strategy and two come along at once. Here's Diane Abbott. We have to take the time to analyse the EU vote. But, when we come in third after the Brexit party, that is a clue something is wrong with our strategy. We need to listen to our members and take a clearer line on a public vote. — Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) May 27, 2019 Team Corbyn, meanwhile, are briefing that the "public vote" McDonnell and Abbott are talking about refers to a general election as much as it does a second referendum. That twanging sound you can hear is the elastic in Westminster's collective creduility giving way. 08:44: Speaking of scripts and refusing to follow them: John McDonnell has just called for Labour to unequivocally endorse a second referendum. Can’t hide from hit we took last night.Bringing people together when there’s such a divide was never going to be easy. Now we face prospect of Brexiteer extremist as Tory leader & threat of no deal, we must unite our party & country by taking issue back to people in a public vote — John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) May 27, 2019 A good way to understand McDonnell's role at fraught times like this is as Jeremy Corbyn's navvy - the guy who does the gruelling work of breaking rocky ground so that, eventually, the leader of the opposition can can sail painlessly through. Corbyn, however, is still sticking to the formulation that's causing so much consternation in the PLP - and they would say confusion and exasperation among the electorate - and has called for a general election OR public vote. This one will run and run. 08:35: Much of the pre-match commentary in Northern Ireland has framed the battle for the third seat as a straight fight between Alliance's Naomi Long and the SDLP's Colum Eastwood, with the former expected to triumph. Long has the following factors working in her favour: her own popularity, Alliance's surge in the local elections held earlier this month, Sinn Féin's tacit endorsement of her as their second preference, and that 2016 vote to Remain. Eastwood, meanwhile, is in a slightly better position to win the third-highest number of first preferences - the SDLP finished just 2,000 behind the UUP on the first count in 2014 - but it doesn't necessarily follow that the transfers will break his way. Either way, though, Northern Ireland will return two MEPs who want to call the whole Brexit thing off. Or will they? Two other potential results have been rather underpriced but are really just as plausible, if not as easily digestible for viewers in Great Britain in general or users of the #FBPE hashtag in particular. There's a reasonably big pro-Brexit vote in play today. On those grounds it isn't inconcievable that the UUP candidate, Danny Kennedy, retains the third seat. Nor should we write off Jim Allister, the leader of Traditional Unionist Voice - the party for unionist voters who find the DUP a bit lily-livered - who won a chunky 75,000 first preferences in 2014. Both are Brexiteers (it isn't hard to guess which of the two is more hardcore). The 24,584 votes Ukip won in 2014 and differential turnout in the unionist and nationalist communities could well swing the outcome to one that very much wasn't in the script. 08:10: Good morning! This is Patrick, who - not a bit unwisely - chose to follow last night's results to the bitter end rather than sleep. But I'm here now. England and Wales might be done and dusted but we're still awaiting a full result from Scotland, which on account of the Sabbatarianism of the Western Isles won't declare until 11am. On the basis of counts already completely, SNP expect to win three of six seats, with the Brexit Party, Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives on one apiece, but let's wait and see. The count in Northern Ireland, meanwhile, has only just kicked off. Unlike those elsewhere, its three MEPs are elected via single transferable vote rather than D'Hondt - electors give individual candidates numbered prefrences rather than putting their cross beside a closed list. We should know who's won by the time unionists mark Northern Ireland's cenetenary in 2021. (I'm only half joking.) In 2014, Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson was elected on the first count, with the DUP's Diane Dodds and UUP's Jim Nicholson taking the other two seats. But with Nicholson retiring at this election and the UUP in less than rosy straits generally, both the moderate nationalist SDLP and cross-community Alliance believe they are in with a shout of nicking the third MEP (for the first time ever, in the latter case). As we are frequently reminded, 56 per cent of voters in Northern Ireland backed EU membership in 2016. In running their party leaders, Alliance and the SDLP have both made unapologetic and high-stakes pitches to that audience. Will that be enough to dislodge the UUP and return two Remainers this time? Whatever happens, we're in for quite the ride. 01:02: Here's where we are. The Brexit party has 28 seats, up four from Ukip's 2014 showing. The Liberal Democrats have 15, up 14. Labour have 10, down eight. The Greens have seven, up four. The Conservatives have three, down 15. Plaid Cymru have one, unchanged but with the warm glow of beating Labour in Wales for the first time ever. 00:50: The Greens are miles ahead in Bristol, while the Liberal Democrats are in second, which of course will further entrench the deadlock in that Labour MPs in the city will be intensely reluctant to back any form of Brexit as a result. 00:42: David Cameron has this one neat trick to destroy and revive the Liberal Democrats in just three years. 00:35: The North West has declared: the Brexit party are on three, as were Ukip in 2014. Labour have two, down one. The Liberal Democrats have two, up two. The Greens have one, up one. 00:31: Oh god, I, rather like the voters, forgot the Conservative party. They have three, down 13, and are likely to finish fifth. 00:27: Scores on the door. The Brexit party has 25 seats, up four from Ukip in 2014. The Liberal Democrats have 13, up 12 from one. Labour have eight, down seven. The Green party have six, up three! Plaid Cymru have one, notionally unchanged but have beaten Labour into second place in Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland will declare tomorrow. 00:25: I don't mean this to at all take away from the Brexit party's success in managing to go further into the Conservative vote - and perhaps, though it will need further study - and into the Leave vote than Ukip ever did. But ultimately, they are not a "new party" in the way that Change are, and I am not just referring to the differential level of competence. Avengers Endgame is a great flick but it wasn't a "new" film and neither is the Brexit party. 00:22: In the South East, Alexandra Philips has been elected for the Brexit party. Another Alexandra Philips, who is highly rated by her Green colleagues, has been elected for the Greens. Presumably the evil one will start wearing an eyepatch and/or a goatee to differentiation herself from the one from the good timeline, as is customary. 00:12: The thing we can't really do is read across to a general election, because in these elections, neither the Conservatives nor Labour can play their most devasting card against the Brexit party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Greens, which is to say "ok, I get that you are angry, but if you don't vote for me, then the other lot will get in". Our terrible electoral system hands a very, very potent weapon to the big two. But what we can do is say "what will MPs make of this?". And what that tells us is that we are heading for a situation where Parliament is more deadlocked even than it was yesterday. 00:02: Scores on the door. The Brexit party have 21 MEPs, just three short of Ukip's 2014 total for the country as whole. The Liberal Democrats have 10 MEPs, up nine. Labour have seven, down seven. The Greens have five, up one. The Conservatives have two, down 11. *sad trombone plays* Plaid Cymru have held one. Scotland and Northern Ireland will declare tomorrow. 23:57: Two bits of fantastic news. The first is that we are going to get to go to bed at a sensible time as there aren't that many results left to declare tonight. The second, which I am conflicted about covering at all, is that Tommy Robinson aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is not going to enter Parliament.. The reason why I am conflicted about it is that he has done worse than a variety of single issue cranks of various hues, none of which have recieved any kind of national coverage. Robinson's defeat raises serious questions for anyone who has covered him as a serious phenomenon worthy of national discussion. 23:53: Two results from the South West and East Midlands, where both the major parties have been wiped out, with the parties of the Remain-Leave poles the beneficiary. The big problem the UK has is that there is a chunk of voters who vote on Remain/Leave lines, but this seciton isn't big enough to win and govern alone - they are however, big enough to make it very difficult to see how anyone wins a majority while Brexit remains a live issue, and the only way to resolve Brexit is for one side to win a parliamentary majority. 23:43: Perversely, the most likely outcome of this as far as Brexit is concerned is yet more requests for extension rather than a deal or the whole thing being called off. Why? Well because there is now a large chunk of Labour MPs, who, rightly, will look at these results and go "Backing Brexit? In this constituency?!" and a smaller, but still significant as far as the composition of the Westminster parliament goes, who will say "Stopping Brexit? In this constituency?!" Whatever happens there is a core of Tory MPs who won't vote for any negotiated Brexit and a group who will vote against any no-deal Brexit. Unless a pro-Leave Tory is willing to take us out with not only no deal but no preparation for no deal, we are heading for the exit in the same way Turkey is going to join the EU: there will be people whose fulltime job is to prepare for it, but it ain't gonna happen in this parliament. 23:38: Yorkshire and the Humber results. Brexit party get three, same as Ukip but with a higher vote share, Labour down one to one, Liberal Democrats and Greens up one to one each, Conservatives down one to none. 23:35: Excluding Labour, which you can argue both ways, Remain parties outpolled Leave ones in Wales. 23:33: Another subplot of Wales: it's another election in which the Change vote made a difference between a Liberal Democrat MEP and a Labour one. 23:25: Labour are third in Wales, behind the Brexit party and Plaid Cymru. Brexit party gets two, up one on Ukip in 2014. Plaid Cymru get one, no change but they will obviously be over the moon at having beaten Labour into second place. Labour get one, no change, but they will equally be devastated at third place, which means they face a two-legged tie against the SPD to get into the Champions League proper. 23:21: The Brexit party have won Peterborough council but the council area and the constituency aren't the same. That said, it is a very good sign for them. 23:20: It is a good night for: the Brexit party, the LIberal Democrats and the Green party, in about that order. It is a bad night for: the Conservative party and the Labour party. 23:18: It is worth noting, despite the fact that MPs and activists in both parties are gonna lose their nuts regardless, that this is ultimately an election in which the best card our two major parties can play - that thanks to our terrible electoral system the only way to avoid one is to vote for the other - is not in play, and that since the switch to PR these elections have been won by William Hague, Michael Howard, David Cameron and Nigel Farage (twice, most likely). 23:11: Change UK are not going to win any MEPs (I know, I'm as surprised as you). 23:09: The good news we can all rally around: London declaring early means that we will likely be done by two. My bed, my bed is calling! 23:04: London has declared! The Liberal Democrats are king of the hill with three, up three. Labour have two. Brexit win two having won one as Ukip last time. Conservatives have one, down one. 23:01: It's earlyish, but ultimately as far as resolving Brexit is concerned: if you are a Conservative MP, the message here is you need to resolve Brexit, but good luck agreeing on a resolution. If you are a Labour MP worried about a Liberal Democrat revival, you have got a lot of evidence that this position is not helping you and that it should change. But if you are a Labour MP who is worried about Leave voters you have also got a lot of evidence that this policy needs to change. Labour's unity position, hilariously, is going to be that they need more clarity: they just won't be able to agree on what. Deadlock deepens.... 22:52: Oh, ignore me. Eastern Region has beaten Wales to it. Scores on the door: Brexit have three MEPs, so treading water on what Ukip got in 2014. The Liberal Democrats have gained two, the Greens one, while the Conservatives are down two to just one, while Labour have lost one, leaving them with no MEPs in the east of England. 22:49: We're expecting a result in Wales soonish, while the Liberal Democrats think they have won three out of eight seats in London. 22:44: There are some individual councils reporting from Scotland but I genuinely think there is very little point trying to draw patterns. These are elections last held when Labour a) won in Scotland and b) this was a non-event. A great deal of political change has happened since then. We might as well compare Vince Cable's electoral performance with that of Gladstone's than spend too much time saying anything other than "the SNP are doing well, eh?". 22:42: The benchmark for the Liberal Democrats in these elections, by the way, is 15 per cent - the highest amount they have ever got in a European election. I'm using Ukip's 2014 performance as a yardstick for the Brexit parrty (see 22:26 for why) and they are so, far, doing much better than that also. 22:41: It's really very remarkable what is happening to the Conservative vote in its (former?) heartlands. Essentially the Brexit party is damn near replacing them. It looks more like some of the results in Scotland in 2015 than Ukip in 2014. 22:40: I have been looking at it and here's a thing: the votes that Change UK got in the North East are the difference between a Labour MEP and a Liberal Democrat one. 22:29: Some constituency results to look out for: Liberal Democrats narrowly top the poll in Sutton, a Conservative-held target of that party. Liberal Democrats top the poll in Jacob Rees-Mogg's constituency. And Liberal Democrats top the poll in Haringey, which includes Hornsey and Wood Green which is...maybe a target? They held it before and the seat has been very volatile but on paper it is very much a stretch goal at a general election. 22:26: An actual result! From the North East region, where there are two Brexit party MEPs, and one Labour MEP. That's the Brexit party up one from what Ukip got (Nigel Farage may have a different outfit but the party's leader and most trusted aides are the same, it's Ukip 2.0 and we should assess it on the basis) and Labour down one. 22:23: The Conservatives are fourth in Hillingdon, which includes Boris Johnson's constituency. 22:18: It is very early in the night and we shouldn't draw any conclusions about anything but something to keep an eye on: the Brexit party is running ahead of Ukip in these elections. Of course, it helps that the Conservative party are doing far, far, far, far (you get the idea) worse. The political situation is a lot more difficult for them than it was back then but it is also worth noting that in the run-up to the 2014 Euros Ukip had the full force of CCHQ's attack machine against them. This time, they didn't, and there's an open quesiton s to whether the Conservatives have a machine in the sense they once did. 22:15: Results! That ultimately tell us nothing because this is a proportional election set by the whole region but I'm going to draw your attention to ones that may have interesting implications for local and parliamentary elections, such as: the Greens have beaten Labour into second place in Sheffield, which they'll hope, coupled with their growing local authority presence there allows them a real foothold to build over the coming years, and ultimately to challenge for the parliamentary seat. 22:10: Am hearing tht the LIberal Democrats are confident of having topped the polls in the seats of Chuka Umunna and Heidi Allen, two prominent Change MPs. Not sure if that is good news or bad news for the MPs in question. An embarassing lifeboat is still a lifeboat, after all. 22:05: People are asking where election rumours come from, and, more importantly, how these rumours emanate. Here's the from: they come from local councillors, the party's official spinners, activists, and candidates, who very kindly let me know what is happening in their parts of the world. How do they know? That's the trickier part. Parties can make a good guess during verification - the bit where they argue about whether to count a vote in which someone has drawn a large penis in one party's box as a vote for that party or not - and from their own get out the vote operation. But not all local parties are as effective as each other, and of course, they can know how well they have done but have less good an idea how the other lot is doing. (One former Conservative MP told me almost exactly how many votes they were up on from 2015 the night of the 2017 election. They were dead right: unfortunately for them, what they didn't know was that the Labour vote was up even more.) 22:03: Latest rumours. The Liberal Democrats think they have topped the polls in Oxford, Cambridge, Richmond, St Albans and Cheltenham, all seats they will seek to win at a general election. Change UK think they aren't going to win a single seat.// 22:00: I can't remember how the recurring gag of people emailing to ask what my dinner arrangements were, but: I had carrots roasted in cumin, roast potatoes in za'atar and olive oil, plus stuffed yellow peppers with tomato, olives and capers. 21:57: Why do the results in Scotland take so much longer to come in? Because they don't count results on the Sabbath in the Western Isles, which means they can't calculate how the seats need to be handed out tonight. 21:55: Rumours! The Liberal Democrats are sounding very chipper pretty much everywhere in England, but particularly in London. The Greens think they may have won outright in Brighton having got just 24 per cent in the city in the 2014 Euros (albeit a result slightly deflated by the underperforming local council). Plaid Cymru think they've beaten Labour into second place in Wales, behind the Brexit party. The Labour party is sounding pretty grimfaced about the results. The Conservatives have got to that "Oh, god, why even bother spinning this?!" stage of electoral despair. 21:51: Hullo, and welcome to the New Statesman's liveblog. I'm your host, Stephen Bush, and I'll be covering all the results from across England and Wales as they come in. Hopefully it'll be a short, sharp set of declarations and we'll be in bed by two am. This liveblog will then re-open at eight o'clock tomorrow morning when Patrick Maguire will be giving you the results from Scotland and Northern Ireland. › University staff are suffering an “epidemic” of poor mental health Subscribe For more great writing from our award-winning journalists subscribe for just £1 per month!