Not a good night for Britain’s Gordon Brown. Support for the prime minister’s ruling Labour party has fallen to 15%, its lowest level in a century. The European poll seems to have dealt the blow the beleaguered leader was fearing. After a week of ministerial resignations and reeling from criticism of his handling of the expenses scandal, Brown had tried to rally his support:
“What would they (the public) think of us if ever we walked away from them at a time of need. We are sticking with them,” he insisted. But Labour’s share of the European vote is down about seven points from the last EU ballot while the opposition Conservatives’ 29% is little changed. But that still means the Tories consider their own steady performance as justifying increasing their calls for Brown to go. And if Labour’s fall wasn’t bad enough, the anti-europe UK Independence party (17%) has knocked them into third place. UKIP look like winning 13 seats, their best ever election showing. The Liberal Democrats won 14% and the Greens 9%. While in Manchester, frustration boiled over at the shock result that the far-right British National Party won 6,5% and their second seat of the night. The new MEPs Andrew Bron and BNP leader Nick Griffin aim to take the UK out of the EU. Anti-fascist protesters pelted the BNP leader with eggs as he attempted to attend the vote count.