Town keeps up the pressure with majority voting for Remain parties

Although the Brexit Party came out on top with a 32 per cent share of the local vote, the pro-European Liberal Democrat and Green parties between them received almost 50 per cent.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has called the elections a ‘big win’ for his party. They took four out of the ten seats contested for the South-East region, and nationally secured 29 MEPs out of the UK’s 73 seats.

The Lib Dems won three seats across the South-East, while the Conservatives, Labour and Greens each secured one MEP.

Farage’s party hoovered up a 36.07 per cent share of the votes across the South-East region, with the next largest party, the Lib Dems, achieving 25.75 per cent. The Greens were the third largest party with 13.5 per cent.

There was some confusion after the Brexit Party and Greens both fielded a candidate named Alexandra Phillips, and both Ms Phillips won seats for their respective parties.

In total, anti-Brexit parties such as the Greens and Liberal Democrats secured 39 per cent of the vote across the South East.

In Tunbridge Wells, the only borough in Kent to vote Remain in the original EU referendum, with 54.9 per cent voting to stay in the EU, anti-Brexit sentiment was much higher.

While the Brexit Party won the largest vote share in the borough of Tunbridge Wells, securing 11,370 votes (32 per cent of the 34,663 votes counted), Remain parties achieved a far higher vote share when counted together.

The Liberal Democrats narrowly missed out coming top, polling 10,889, with the Greens securing 4,624 votes, resulting in the two pro-Remain parties seeing a combined vote share of nearly 50 per cent (49.4 per cent) – much higher than the 39 per cent achieved across the rest of the region.

Just over 3,500 people voted Conservative in the borough last week, while Labour only managed a little over

1,500 votes.

Turnout was also higher in Tunbridge Wells than in the rest of the South-East, with more than 43 per cent of the electorate turning out to vote, compared to 39.36 per cent across the region.

The Leader of Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats, Ben Chapelard, said the results ‘sent a clear message that Tunbridge Wells wants to stay in the EU’.

He added: “Residents backed our clear Stop Brexit message locally and we are the leading party to achieve that nationally.

“The next general election in Tunbridge Wells will be a clear choice between the pro-Brexit Conservatives and the party of Remain, the Liberal Democrats.”

While the local Green Party say they were ‘delighted’ with the Tunbridge Wells vote.

A spokesman said: “The Tunbridge Wells Green Party is delighted to have come third within the 50 per cent of voters who clearly want to stay in the EU – the hard Brexit parties only scored 35 per cent.

“The Greens have surged across Europe, too, being the favoured party for 18-24 year olds, who recognise that EU-wide action is needed to preserve the world they will live in.”

Nationally, a similar picture to the South East played out across the UK, with both Labour and the Conservatives suffering heavy losses.

The Brexit Party secured 29 MEPs, the Lib Dems 16, Labour ten, the Greens seven, the Tories four, the SNP three and Plaid Cymru one.

A spokesperson for West Kent Conservatives said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ at the scale of Tory losses.

He continued: “These elections showed a polarisation of support for parties standing on firm Remain/Brexit policies at the expense of both Labour and the Conservatives.

“The next election is as likely to be fought as much on the fault lines of Leave/Remain as on traditional left/right divides. If Members of Parliament cannot find a way to respect that and deliver Brexit, then both they and the democratic process will be damaged.”

The MEPs elected to the European Parliament for the South East region are:

The Brexit Party: Nigel Farage, Alexandra Phillips, Robert Rowland and Belinda De Camborne Lucy.

The Liberal Democrats: Catherine Bearder, Anthony Hook and Judith Bunting.

The Green Party: Alexandra Phillips

The Conservative and Unionist Party: Daniel Hannan

The Labour Party: John Howarth


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