Party Leaders React to European Election Results

The main political party leaders have reacted to the European Election results in the UK, which showed strong performances by the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the Brexit Party and the SNP. There were low shares of the vote for the Conservative and Labour parties, with the Labour party losing all of its seats in Scotland.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, posted on Twitter:

“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”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, issued a statement:

“After three years of Tory failure to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole country, these elections became a proxy second referendum. With the Conservatives disintegrating and unable to govern, and parliament deadlocked, this issue will have to go back to the people, whether through a general election or a public vote. Labour will bring our divided country together so we can end austerity and tackle inequality.

Over the coming days we will have conversations across our party and movement, and reflect on these results on both sides of the Brexit divide. We will not let the continuing chaos in the Conservative Party push our country into a No Deal exit from the EU. Parliament can and will prevent such a damaging outcome for jobs and industry in the UK.”

Vince Cable, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats posted on Twitter:

“A clear, honest, unambiguous message has won @libdems our best ever European election result. We have shown ourselves as the strongest Remain force in British politics. Thank you to everyone who put their faith in us. We will stand up for you and keep campaigning to #StopBrexit.”

Nigel Farage, the Leader of the Brexit Party, posted on Twitter:

“Never before in British politics has a party just 6 weeks old won a national election. If Britain does not leave the EU on October 31st, these results will be repeated at a general election. History has been made. This is just the beginning.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP, posted on Twitter:

“Outstanding results so far tonight for @theSNP – on course for our best ever Euro election result. Polling way ahead of any other party. Higher % in Scotland than Brexit Party’s current share in rUK. Emphatically clear that Scotland doesn’t want Brexit”

Guy Verhofstadt in London to discuss Brexit with Prime Minister

Guy Verhofstadt, the chief Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament, has met with Theresa May, the Prime Minister. Verhofstadt also met Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, for on-going talks about the Brexit negotiations.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“This morning the Prime Minister met Guy Verhofstadt MEP at Downing Street, as part of ongoing engagement with representatives from the European Parliament.

The Prime Minister and Mr Verhofstadt discussed the importance of citizens’ rights, including the proposals the UK put forward last week regarding EU citizens arriving during the implementation period. The Prime Minister reiterated that the expectations of those moving to the UK in this period will not be the same as those who arrived before our withdrawal.

The Prime Minister restated her commitment to avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and noted the importance of officials from the Irish government, the European Commission and the UK meeting to discuss practical solutions.

They discussed the European Parliament’s proposals for an institutional framework to support a close future relationship between the UK and the EU and the Prime Minister explained the vision for the future economic partnership set out in her Mansion House speech.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis attended the meeting. Mr Verhofstadt also met the Home Secretary Amber Rudd after the meeting”.

Verhofstadt said on Twitter:

“So many British people feel and are proud to be European. The welcome I received today in London was overwhelming. It is my priority and that of the European Parliament to make sure that citizens’ rights are protected after Brexit”.

Nigel Farage Faces £35,000 Fine After EU Mis-spending Fraud

Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP, has been fined £35,000 after being found guilty of mis-spending EU money. The European Parliament investigation found that Nigel Farage had employed a member of staff who was then not employed entirely on dealing with EU matters, which was a requirement of the funding.

The EU auditor discovered the discrepancy in Nigel Farage’s claims, but Farage said to the Daily Mail:

“It is guilty until proven innocent, they can do whatever they like. Since Brexit they are just being vindictive”.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Criticises UK’s “Nostalgic Approach”

Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, and David Davis, the Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, have failed to make substantial progress following the recent round of negotiations over Brexit.

Barnier said in a press statement:

“British positions are nostalgic, they involve wanting to benefit from all single market benefits without being in it.”

Davis disagreed with the assessment, saying in a statement:

“This week we’ve had long and detailed negotiations across multiple areas and I think it’s fair to say, we’ve made some concrete progress”.

Guy Verhofstadt, the Chief Negotiator for the European Parliament, wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph:

“Given the current pace of talks there is a real danger that sufficient progress will not be made by October. It would be a very risky strategy to burn negotiating time now in the hope that individual EU leaders will ride to the rescue; it was EU governments who defined Michel Barnier’s negotiating mandate”.