British voters are turning their backs on the country’s two major political parties when they head to the polls for the European elections, according to the latest projections from Europe Elects.
British Conservatives are flocking to Nigel Farage’s recently formed Brexit Party, while Labour voters are turning to the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Change UK parties. Europe Elects, which provides poll aggregation and election analysis, said there has been a dramatic shift in voting behaviour in the UK since its previous forecast , with voters abandoning the Labour and Conservative parties in large numbers.
“Half of the 2018 Labour voters have shifted to support the Greens (Greens/EFA), the Liberals (ALDE), or Change UK (EPP) in European elections,” said Tobias Gerhard Schminke, founder of Europe Elects.
This will take a toll on the centre-left Socialists and Democrats group, with which the Labour Party is aligned, as it is forecast to drop five seats since last week’s projections.
ALDE, Greens, and EFDD are predicted to gain 10 seats in the same time period.
But it’s Farage, who has called for a no-deal on Brexit instead of Theresa May’s thrice rejected withdrawal deal, and his Eurosceptic party that have a particularly strong showing.
“Three out of four of the 2018 Conservative voters now vote for the Brexit Party (EFDD) in European elections,” said Schminke.
National political parties choose which European parliament group they are affiliated with — and there are a few major ones that are wildcards. This includes Hungary’s ruling Fidesz, which last week rejected its European People’s Party group lead candidate Manfred Weber, and Romania’s ruling PSD party, which has cooled ties with its Socialists and Democrats group following EU warnings this year over corruption and rule of law.
“The most important uncertainty to consider in projections for the EU Parliament is that national parties decide after the election with which group in the European Parliament they are affiliating with,” said Schminke.
It also remains to be seen which group Farage’s Brexit Party, as well as Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio’s Five-Star Movement (M5S), will join. Both parties are currently housed with the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group.
“M5S announced that they intend to create a new group in the European Parliament, but the partners they have found so far are from less than seven countries — but a group needs to include MEPs from at least seven countries,” said Schminke.