The 2019 European elections truly showed Northern Ireland and Britain's feelings over Brexit as only one pro-Brexit politician wins a seat in pro-EU North
In the EU elections, Northern Ireland and Scotland reflected a three-year-old referendum decision to remain part of Europe – but in the rest of the United Kingdom, the Conservative and Labour parties suffered humiliating punishments for their handling of Brexit, Britain’s departure process.
Only one of the three EU seats in Northern Ireland went to the pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The other two went to pro-EU Martina Anderson of Sinn Fein and non-sectarian Alliance Party leader Naomi Long.
DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose party has always gone against the bulk of public support for the EU in Northern Ireland, expressed disappointment that only one unionist was returned as an MEP.
Some 57 percent of voters in the North backed pro-EU parties.
Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill hailed Anderson's poll-topping election victory. “This is a vital result in terms of sending the right message to Brussels and Britain that we voted to remain in 2016 – and we are still determined to remain…there is no good Brexit for Ireland, north or south,” she said.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was on an official trip to Ireland when the final declaration was made, giving her pro-EU Scots Nationalist Party and the Liberal Democrats a total of four seats with the remaining two in Scotland going to the brand-new Brexit Party and the Conservatives.
Sturgeon said in Dublin that the outcome had shown that the “U.K. political system has failed -- and it has failed Scotland utterly.”
She added, “Scotland said no to Brexit in 2016. This result makes clear, we meant it.”
But the rest of Britain remained bitterly divided, with voters punishing the Conservatives and the Labour Party and turning instead to other parties, like Nigel Farage’s six-week-old Brexit Party if they wished to opt out of Europe, or the pro-EU Liberal Democrats and Greens.
Farage’s Brexit led the polls with nearly 32 percent while Labour and the Conservatives, who jointly bungled the process of Britain exiting the EU, were respectively down to 14 percent in third place and less than nine percent in fifth place.
The pro-EU Lib Democrats and Greens had respectively 18.5 percent and slightly over 11 percent.
Analysts believe Farage’s Brexit has the potential to impact the race over who becomes the next British prime minister.
The Tories elect a new leader in July after Theresa May’s announcement last Friday that she will resign as prime minister on June 7 but will remain in Downing Street until her replacement is selected.
Farage claimed on Monday that if Britain doesn’t leave the EU on October 31, the current deadline, then his party would repeat its success in a general election.
He tweeted, “We will contest all 650 seats across the country at the next general election. I will not stop until the job is done.”