European elections 2019: Brexit Party tops South East poll

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Media captionBrexit Party leader Nigel Farage: "There's a massive message here"

The Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage has won four European parliamentary seats in the South East region.

The Liberal Democrats won three seats, while the Conservatives, Labour and Greens have one MEP each.

Mr Farage, who was re-elected as a South East MEP, said the Conservatives and Labour "could learn a big lesson" from the result.

The Brexit Party got a 36.07% share of the votes, compared to the Lib Dems' 25.75%. The Greens came third.

Turnout in the South East was 39.36% - up from 35.4% in 2014.

The Greens achieved a 13.52% share, with the Conservatives and Labour polling 10.25% and 7.27% respectively.

Mr Farage said: "Never before in British politics has a new party topped the polls in a national poll.

"There is a huge message here. Labour and Conservative Party could learn a big lesson tonight but I don't suppose they actually will.

"If we don't leave on 31 October, the scores you've seen for the Brexit Party today will be repeated in a general election and we are getting ready for it."

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Media captionFaversham and Mid Kent Conservative MP Helen Whately said her party "knew these were going to be bad elections"

The MEPs elected from the South East region are: Nigel Farage, Alexandra Lesley Phillips, Robert Rowland and Belinda De Camborne Lucy for the Brexit Party; Catherine Bearder, Anthony Hook and Judith Bunting, Liberal Democrats; Alexandra Phillips, Green; Daniel Hannan, Conservative; John Howarth, Labour.

Analysis by Helen Catt, Political Editor, BBC South East

The Brexit Party, just a few weeks old, pulled off a remarkable feat in the South East, topping the poll with a higher vote share than UKIP managed in 2014.

The Liberal Democrats also staged a startling resurgence to pick up three MEPs, after being almost wiped out five years ago.

It's what happened to the Conservatives and Labour that may provide the biggest shock though.

The Tories, the party in government, are left with just one MEP in South East England.

While Labour also has one MEP but found itself coming fourth in Brighton and Hove - an area where it is traditionally strong.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said the total number of votes for remain-supporting parties outstripped those for the Brexit Party.

Ms Bearder said: "Now it is absolutely vital all the remain groups come behind the number one party, the Liberal Democrats, to fight Brexit. It is not inevitable.

"Our place is in the European Union, leading the European Union and shaping the future."

Daniel Hannan, who was re-elected as a Conservative MEP, said: "This is our worst ever result.

"We need to make Brexit happen, but in a way that will carry the 48% [of Remain voters in 2016] with us,"

He said the Conservatives need a "different, credible leadership" to ensure Brexit is delivered.

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The Brexit Party did particularly well in Thanet in Kent, taking almost half of the vote (49%). The Conservatives were beaten into fifth place.

In Medway the Brexit Party got just over 30,000 votes, more than 22,000 more than the next party the Lib Dems.

UKIP got a 1.85% share of the vote, down by 26.94% on the 2014 European election. The Conservatives also lost more than 20% of their share of the vote.

Map of Great Britain showing the leading parties for each local authority

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