The Brexit Party took 31 percent of the UK vote share and won 29 seats in the European Parliament. It was a disastrous night for both the Conservatives and Labour, as voters turned their backs on the parties as they grow increasingly frustrated with the handling of Brexit. The Tories languished in fifth place, achieving just less than 10 percent of the vote, while Labour were beaten into second by the Liberal Democrats after scoring 20 percent of the vote.
Nigel Farage claimed a ”big win” and demanded the Brexit Party be part of the Brexit negotiating team with the European Union.
He said: “We’ve got a deadline for 31 October, that’s the date on which we’re supposed to leave the European Union.
“That’s in five months’ time. What we’re saying is we’ve got a mandate now, we demand to be part of that negotiating team, to get this country ready to leave whatever the circumstances.
“Firstly we’re going to be in Brussels, secondly we’ve got some very high calibre businessmen and businesswomen used to putting deals together – we’ve got to get on with this!”
On Friday, Theresa May announced she was resigning as leader of the Conservatives on June 7 – sparking a huge race among several prominent party members to be the next Prime Minister.
Leadership contenders were quick to suggest that if they were elected, they might return to Brussels to try to negotiate a better Brexit deal.
Mrs May has already seen her agreement with the EU suffer a trio of humiliating defeats in the House of Commons as MPs refuse to get behind it.
But the EU has continued to insist under no circumstances will it renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, maintaining it his the only deal possible with the UK.
Brexiteers remain fiercely opposed to several aspects of this, predominantly the Northern Irish backstop, which would likely see the UK remain tied indefinitely to EU customs rules.
Brussels has said it would be happy to renegotiate a different future relationship with the UK.
But the EU has maintained its stance over the withdrawal agreement.
Mr Farage has also threatened to unleash the Brexit Party at the next General Election if the Tories fail to deliver on Brexit.
He said: “If we don’t leave on October 31 then the scores you have seen for the Brexit Party today will be repeated in a general election, and we are getting ready for it.”
Mr Farage, who was re-elected as an MEP in the South East, also warned his his Brexit Party could “stun everybody” if Britain fails to leave the EU by the next national poll.
He said: “We’re getting ready. Listen, I’m off to the office now, we’ve got 650 candidates to interview, vet.
“And we’re not just here to leave the European Union but to try and fundamentally change the shape of British politics, bring it into the 21st century and get a Parliament that better reflects the country.”