England

Labour and UKIP claim victory in North East Euro vote

  • 26 May 2014
  • From the section England

Labour and the UK Independence Party both claimed victories in the European elections in the North East, while the Tories lost a leading MEP.

Labour polled 221,988 and took two seats, up one. UKIP gained a seat, returning a single MEP with 177,660 votes.

The North East's first UKIP MEP, Jonathan Arnott said voters rejected "uncontrolled immigration".

Tory Martin Callanan, said keeping his seat was "too much of a stretch".

The Lib Dems also failed to retain the seat they won in 2009.

Speaking after his election, Mr Arnott said: "We have had a very clear message in this campaign.

"We are the party that says no to European union and we are the party that says no to uncontrolled immigration.

Image caption MEP Jude Kirton-Darling said voters cared about their jobs and a living wage

"That message has gone down very well on the doorstep in this single issue election which was only about European union."

The Tories came third with 107,733, votes, while the Lib Dems took 36,093 and the Greens 31,605.

'Corrosive'

Labour doubled its representation in the region with the election of two new MEPs and 36% of the vote.

Newly elected Jude Kirton-Darling said: "It is a fantastic night for Labour.

"We have knocked the leader of the Tories out of the European Parliament - an extremely corrosive politician who has upset a lot of people.

"Labour is putting forward policies which are resonating on the doorstep - the living wage, addressing the health system, education - these are the things that people really care about.

Image caption Conservative Martin Callanan lost his seat

"People's main concerns are about jobs and housing."

Her new colleague Paul Brannen added that Labour would listen to the concerns of those who "felt unable to vote for them in this election".

"Ultimately, we will only be able to address those if we go on and win the General Election a year from now. This result puts us on target to do that."

Speaking after his defeat Mr Callanan, Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, said: "The North East has always been a Labour stronghold so winning a seat for the Conservative party in the region is always difficult.

"I've managed it on three occasions, unfortunately on the fourth occasion it was too much of a stretch."

Meanwhile UKIP's Mr Arnott promised to create "shock waves" when he takes his seat in parliament.

"Nigel Farage promised a political earthquake. We have caused that tonight.

"It is time now to go to Brussels and to work together with any moderate, like-minded politicians and let us take the North East's message to Brussels and let us create shockwaves there too."

Image caption Lib Dem Angelika Schneider said now was not the time for "internal squabbles"

The Lib Dems lost more than 11% of their vote and finished just under 4,000 votes ahead of the Greens.

Lib Dem, Angelika Schneider, said it was "back to the drawing board" for the party.

"We need to find out what's gone right in this campaign and what has gone wrong and learn from it - back to the drawing board.

"I don't think internal squabbles at this stage will help us", Ms Schneider said.

Overall, only a third of people eligible to vote in the European elections in the region turned out at the polls.

Seats in the European Parliament are allocated according to the D'Hondt system, a type of proportional representation.