EU elections: Labour keeps top spot in Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 18:39 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:30 30 May 2019

Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA.

Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

In spite of national difficulties, the Labour party has maintained its prime position in Tower Hamlets.

The result is despite the fact it lost 16 per cent of the vote compared to the last elections in 2014.

It won almost 38 per cent, with around 25,600 ballots cast for them.

Unsurprisingly, the Liberal Democrats saw the biggest gains, upping its share to a quarter, with almost 17,000 votes won to secure second place.

Lib Dem Tower Hamlets councillor Rabina Khanran ran for one of London's MEP seats.

She said: "Seeing the result today shows that the political momentum and the support of the people is building behind the Liberal Democrats.

"In Tower Hamlets, we are now the clear opposition to the Labour administration and the strongest Remain voice for local residents."

Elaine Bagshaw, the party's parliamentary spokesperson for Poplar and Limehouse, said: "People's trust in Labour and the Tories has evaporated.

"On the biggest issue of our time, it has become hard to tell them apart: my local Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick even went against his own party and voted for May's disastrous deal."

The Green Party maintained its place in third, though it made a modest gain of three per cent.

The Brexit Party eclipsed the Conservatives and UKIP to get fourth. It got almost 7,000 votes, more than 10 per cent.

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The Conservative and UKIP each lost 8.3 per cent and were relegated to sixth and seventh place respectively.

Spokesman for Tower Hamlets Conservatives Andrew Wood said the loss was the result of a decision to not campaign in the borough and a reflection of the national political landscape.

Will Tuckley, chief executive and returning officer for Tower Hamlets Council, said the election was trickier than usual.

"This election has been a major undertaking for the council and our staff, not least because it was not originally expected to take place," he said.

"As a result, the significant challenge has been to deliver a fair, transparent and professional election with considerably less time to plan than we would normally have.

"I'm pleased to say that our elections team and other council officers, working with trained polling and other volunteer staff, have risen to that challenge.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said the result equated to a reiteration from the borough's voters that they want to stay in the EU, but that they were frustrated with the main parties.

He said: "We continue to call for a second referendum to sort out the issue of Brexit. In the light of the prime minister's resignation, now more than ever, this would be the best way to resolve the paralysis in Westminster and avoid the danger of a no deal Brexit."

He also thanked Labour campaigners for the performance and council employees for their work on the count.

Overall the Lib Dems won the most seat in London, taking three of the eight. Labour took two, the same amount as the Brexit Party, and the Greens took one.

Tower Hamlets Green Party co-chair Tim Kiely said the London results cemented the party's position as the capital's 'third party'.

"With both the main parties asleep at the wheel on two of the biggest issues facing our country right now - our place in Europe and the fight against climate breakdown - people are ready for a green alternative delivered with clarity and conviction, that both safeguards the present and fights for a better future."

UKIP has been contacted for comment.

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