Peter Hoskin

European election results: live blog

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Stay tuned for live coverage of the European election results, and their aftermath, from 2100.

2057, JGF: Harriet Harman is seated in the BBC studio. She really has been a trooper for the Labour party in the last few days.

2058, PH: Just before the results come in, it's worth noting that turnout was 43 percet - a record low for Euro elections.

2059, JGF:

The rumour reaching me is that projections show that Labour will finish third behind UKIP.

2100, PH: Sky showing dramatic footage of police clashing with anti-fascist campaigners trying to enter the Town Hall in Manchester.  Nick Griffin is there.

2103, PH:
Fraser's on Sky, folks.  Tune in, but don't leave Coffee House!

2106, PH: The debate on Sky is whether we'll see a BNP victory anywhere - Manchester seems like the most likely place.

2111, JGF: If that projection I mentioned earlier is right then, like everything else so far in this leadership crisis, the result is neither one thing nor the other. Labour haven’t come fourth but they have come behind UKIP. In terms of the mood of the Labour party, how the BNP does will be important. As Labour people have been saying these past few days, losing to the Tories is one thing letting in fascists is something else.

2113, PH: Jackie Ashley's latest column has just appeared on the Guardian website.  It's headline: "To save Labour, Gordon, go with grace and go today".

2116, JGF: Another rumour doing the rounds is that the Labour vote is in the teens.

2122, JGF:

If the Lib Dems have come fourth, then this has been an awful set of Local and European results for them. It does seem that the party’s pro-Europeanism is costing it support and making it harder for it to capitalise on the expenses crisis.

2122, PH: ConservativeHome are reporting that Labour are likely to come FIFTH in the South East.  Not an area where they were expecting to do well, but the scale of their defeat could ruffle a lot of Labour feathers.

2130, PH: Via Nick Robinson, here's what Lord Falconer writes about Gordon Brown in tomorrow's Times:

"It needs the leader to be the driver and the agent of very big change. This needs highly developed leadership skills. Gordon Brown has not displayed those skills. Whatever the length of time under this new leader, we would be more strongly united around both a new leader and an agreed programme, rather than clinging, disunited and dissatisfied, to the present position."

The big question is whether tonight's results encourage any Labour MPs to act against Brown who weren't intending to already.  At the moment, it's hard to judge - not least because the actual results aren't in - but expectations that Labour would finish fourth may be dashed.

2138, JGF: Over at The Guardian, Andrew Sparrow is reporting that the politics academic Phillip Cowley thinks this is heading towards being Labour's worst election result since 1918.

2139, PH: ConHome are saying that it looks like the Tories will win Wales (other rumours are saying Plaid Cymru will, but Tim Montgomerie is embedded in CCHQ, so I assume he's seeing what the Tory leadership are seeing).  The Cameroons will be especially pleased with that.

2147, PH: North East result in:

Lab: 25.0%

Other: 22.3% (BNP: 9%)

Con: 19.8%

Lib Dem: 17.6%

UKIP: 15.4%

That's one seat each for the three main parties.

2130, JGF: Mark Mardell is saying that the rumours in the European Parliament are that UKIP might have come second with 18 seats.

2152, PH:
Labour may have come top in the NE, but their percentage is down 9 points on last Euro elections.  Tories up one.  Lib Dems unchanged.

2159, FN: I'm sitting here in the Sky News studio beside Prof Michael Thrasher who has an awesome computer being remote controlled, presumably, by one of his techies. It has just told him that the BNP has 9 percent in the North East. Thrasher estimates the BNP need 14 percent in the North West to get a seat - the activists I was out with last week said 8.5 percent. If so, and the NE result translates acorss the Pennines, then Nick Griffin will be heading to Strasbourg. Am blogging during commercials - but so far v little results to commentate on. News of a recount in the East suggests the wait for the full result will be far longer.

2205, PH: Glenys Kinnock, the newly ennobled Europe Minister, is on Sky right now, trying to explain away Labour's expected results: talk about being flung into the fire...

2208, PH: Hang on.  Actually she may not be Europe Minister yet - she hasn't been formally appointed to the Lords yet(and her mandate as an MEP lasts until July), and she can't officially be a minister until she is.  Adam Boulton and the Tories' Europe guy, Mark Francois, are trying to hammer it out.  Francois keeps saying: "We don't have a Europe Minister."  He has a point.

2215, JGF: Nick Brown just refused to comment on a report in tomorrow’s Times that the controversial Royal Mail bill will be deferred.  Royal Mail could be the flashpoint at the PLP meeting on Monday night.

2219, JGF: It might concentrate Alan Johnson's mind to know that Labour have come second in Hull, where his constituency is, behind UKIP.

2221, PH
: You feel some of tonight's results will have certain ministers breaking out in a cold sweat: Labour have just finished third - behind the Tories and the SNP - in East Renfrewshire, the seat of Scotland Secretary Jim Murphy.

2224, FN: We just had a hilarious interview with Glenys Kinnock, whom Sky News understandably described as Europe Minister. But as she inadvertently revealed, she isn't. She is still an MEP and needs to resign to join a legislature like the Lords. But if she does so before midnight on 13 july she would lose a substantial amount of pension. Mark Francois, sitting opposite me at the Sky table, gestured to jump in and make this point to her on air. Adam Boulton adjudicated. You can tell she is used to Brussels - she looked appalled to be spoken to by Francois like that. Well, we do politics differently in Britain, Glenys. She'd better get used to it - as and when she resignes from Strabsourg. Until then, on the night of the European elections, Britain has no Europe Minister. What a farce.

2228, JGF: Allegra Stratton has an interesting piece in The Guardian on how one senior rebel is challenging Brown to call a secret ballot of the PLP on his leadership, saying that if they lose the rebels will then shut up and back Brown.

2230, PH: Tories worried that they've finished fourth behind BNP in Barking and Dagenham.

2234, JGF: The BBC are saying that Labour will finish comfortably behind the SNP in Scotland. Tim Montgomerie says tonight's results show that Darling, who has been conspicous by his silence in the last few days, would lose his seat based on these results.

2237, JGF: Andrew Sparrow's typically excellent live blog has provisional results from Scotland from PA:

SNP - 28% - up 8 since 2004.

Labour -20% - down 6

Tories - 17% - down 1

Lib Dems - 13% - n/c

Greens - 9% - up 2

Ukip - 5% - down 2

2241, PH: Things looking very positive for the Tories in Wales.  Here's Tim Montgomerie at ConHome:

"After 12 declarations in Wales Conservatives have topped the poll in Clwyd West, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Cardiff South and Penarth, Cardiff North."

2243, PH: It sure is looking bad for Labour: Andrew Sparrow has "Labour sources" saying their share of the vote may be around 16 or 17 percent.  Absolutely dreadful showing, if so.

2253, PH: Are any CoffeeHousers watching Sky?  Hilary Benn is parroting the same Labour spin that we've been hearing constantly over the past few days, but he somehow makes it slightly more palatable.  Someone Brown may want to make more use of, if Benn can stand it.

2257, JGF: If Labour has polled 16 percent, that is really bad news for Brown. Anything below 20 was going to cause him problems but 16 really is appalling. I suspect there are a few Labour MPs whose fingers are hovering over the send button tonight.

2259, JGF: There's something deeply comic about Tessa Jowell doing the media rounds today. Her private views on Gordon Brown--very different from her public ones--are pretty much an open secret in Westminster.

2303, JGF: If the BNP has won a seat that is shameful.

2306, PH: On Sky, Chris Bryant is trying to puch Hague on whether the Tories will do as well as the 36 percent they got under his leadership.  Hague replies that they won't - because of the rise of UKIP and other parties.  You feel that this will be crucial to Brown's narrative; the idea that all the parties have been hit.  Strictly speaking, it's true.  But some parties have been hit harder than others...

2309, PH:
For the Tories, one of the most encouraging stories developing tonight is how well they're doing in Wales.  ConHome are now reporting that the Tories have come top in Wrexham - for the first time ever.

2312. JGF:

No change in the party split of MEPs from the East of England but Labour's share of the vote is down six.

2312, PH:
Tories have come top in the East of England, with 31 percent of vote.  Labour vote down by 6 percentage points.

1213, JGF: Earlier the word was that Labour is going to come fifith in the South East, now the BBC is saying it is likely they'll come fifth in the South West as well.

2320, FN: In between the change of shift in the Sky panel, I chatted to a beaming William Hague - full of the joys. Not quite sure why, as a main theme of this evening is Tory failure to capitalise on the anti-Labour vote. It really doesn't look as if Cameron 09 will do so much better than Howard 04; perhaps due to the expenses collateral, perhaps due to something more fundamental. But with so few results in, it's hard to draw any hard conclusiona. And at the general election, there won't be this vast menu of minor parties to choose from, so Cameron will have a better claim to the anti-Labour vote. He'd far rather a pro-Tory vote, but even in leaked results there seems strikingly little of that. So far, at least.

I'm off now to Five Live, where my shift lasts from midnight till 1am. Hopefully, by then, we may even have some results.

2323, JGF : The BBC just flashed up the current national share of the vote, they have Labour in fourth on 14 percent. The Tories are top with 28 percent, hardly a great result for Cameron but few will notice. The story of the night is the Labour limbo: how low can they go?

2325, PH:
North West results due in at 2am, apparently.  Time to make a mug of coffee...

2337, FN:
Ha! The Cornish nationalists have beaten Labour in the south west. Time to dust down my Cornish credentials (I am Truro-born) and raise a pasty in celebration. This really does look like the night of the minority parties.

2338, PH: So far, Labour are coming fifth in 36 councils (h/t: LabourList).  This really is shaping up to be a dreadful, dreadful evening for them.

2339, PH: The BNP have won a seat in Yorkshire and Humber.  Dispiriting stuff.  This will be among the main stories of the evening.

2334, JGF: Andrew Sparrow points out that with the Tories coming top in Wales, it is the first time since 1918 that Labour has failed to win an all-Wales poll.

2336, FN: They're in. The BNP has a seat in Yorkshire - displacing Labour. Make no mistake, this the best day in the ragtag defeat-riddled history of what can be seen as the British fascist movement. Mosely didn't manage to get any wards, the National Front managed fewer than half a dozen. The BNP now have 57 council seats and - for the first time for them or any predecessor movement - a seat in a legislature.

2337, PH: Nick Griffin is being interviewed on Sky.  He says that the seat on Y&H is a "major breakthrough".  When pushed by Adam Bolton, Griffin also claims that the BNP only want to remove immigrants are "not loyal" to Britain - problem is, their definition of "not loyal" is considerably wider than everyone else's.

2340, JGF: I wonder if that result from Yorkshire and the Humber will prompt some Labour MPs to act. Labour weakness benefiting the Tories is one thing, but letting in fascists is another.

2342, PH: So here's the true face of the BNP: Nick Griffin has just said, "We are a Christian country; Islam is not welcome."  Disgraceful - and, if he's actually worried about Islamic extremism, exactly the kind of thing to drum up hatred.

2346, FN: So Andrew Brons, the BNP candidate, speaks. "I don't need to tell you that my election is not universally popular," he says. Well-spoken, a lecturer, and when he referred to "the old Labour party when it really was Labour," you knew where his votes came from. There was a huge media campaign against them, he says (quite accurately) and "somehow we have overcome it". Somehow? When Labour has lost the working class, millions of votes are up for grabs. The BNP has tonight picked up just a few of the spoils.

2350, PH: Nick Griffin's performance on Sky was abhorrent.  It's an immense shame that the failures of the main parties have helped gain the BNP a democratic platform.

2352, PH:
Unofficial results in from Wales.  The Tories are top on 21 percent; Labour second on 20 percent.  The Labour vote has fallen by a staggering 12 percent.  Still unofficial, but worrying stuff for Downing Street.

2357, PH: The results from Wales (see last entry) are official now.  Tories are delighted, and rightly so.

2359, PH: Andrew Sparrow reports that Labour are now "pretty sure" that they've only scored 16 percent of the national vote, and are "starting to worry" about finishing fourth.  If so, this is an annhilation for them

0003, FN: Not often I'm pleased to see Nick Griffin's face, but I am right now. He's on the Beeb and he's frowning - that can only be good news. He's talking about "radical and aggressive Islam" - a reminder that the driver behind BNP support now is agitation about Islam, not racial issues. This is why Griffin put himself on the North West list, not the London list. And you do wonder: if the mainstream parties spoke more openly about the jihadi menace, would the BNP have such traction? There are lessons aplenty in its success tonight.

0008, JGF: If you want an example of just how sensitive the Tories are about Lord Ashcroft, look at Tim Montgomerie's election blog - earlier it had a photo from CCHQ with Lord Ashcroft watching the results with some other people, that has now disappeared.

0009, PH: On Sky, Chris Bryant is pushing the line that the country "hasn't fallen in love with David Cameron".  If the Tories score under 30 percent, spinning this as an election in which all the major parties took a big hit will be a massive part of Brown's gameplan.  Problem is: if Labour get 16 percent, then it's clear that Labour - and Brown - are bearing the brunt of the anger.

0015, PH: With two boroughs to go, the Tories are leading in London (on 22.5 percent), with Labour in second (on 19.5 percent).  Official result soon.

0016, PH: Bad news from ConHome: "It is looking almost certain that Nick Griffin will become an MEP for NW England."

0018, PH: Sky have just run through the covers of tomorrow's papers.  Almost all of them dwell on the terrible results for Labour, and refer to tomorrow as "Judgement Day" for Brown, as he faces the PLP in the evening.  The tone of the coverage suggests that Brown is in major trouble.

0022, PH: SNP are confirming that they've won in Scotland.  They suggest that Labour's showing in Scotland is their worst since World War One.  It's hard to exaggerate just how badly Labour are doing.  This really is a historically poor performance, and one that might make Labour MPs think twice about Brown's leadership.

0029, PH: BNP currently down at fifth in the North West.  Maybe Nick Griffin won't get that seat after all.

0031, PH: Chris Bryant sill pushing the line that "It's not a particularly good night for the Tories - they haven't even got the 36 percent share of the vote that they got under William Hague."  Eric Pickles' response: "Well, it feels like a good night."

0034, JGF:
The Labour mood tonight is grim; the BNP’s victory is a significant blow to the party’s self-esteem. 16 percent, losing Wales, second in Scotland, fifth in the South East—it has been a horrendous night for Labour and proof of just where Brown is leading the party.

I get the impression that Brown will have to move significantly on policy tomorrow night at the meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party to survive. It was put to me just now that another speech like the one he delivered to the National Policy Forum after the Glasgow East defeat, would finish him off.

0037, FN:
I'm in a Five Live studio now with Tony Travers and John Pienaar and we've just worked out that, with the low turnout, the BBC's prediction would mean just 6 percent of those eligible to vote have gone for Labour. That is, if my memory serves, smaller than the percentage that thinks Elvis is still alive. Labour will finish third, according to the BBC's predictions, but only just. Con: 27, UKIP: 17, Lab: 16 and LibDem: 14. A mere percentage point separates second and third place, but psycologically the difference will be huge for Labour as Brown prepares to meet the PLP tomorrow night.

0040, PH: London results are in: Tories first (getting 3 seats); Labour second (2 seats); then Lib Dems, Greens and UKIP (1 seat each). 

0048, FN: Our new Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has told Five Live that "we're at a point now where waiting lists have been eradicated". Boy, does he have a lot to learn about the NHS.

0048, PH: London vote-share, via Andrew Sparrow:

Tories - 27% - up 1

Labour - 21% - down 4

Lib Dems - 14% - down 2

Greens - 11% - up 3

Ukip - 11% - down 2

BNP - 5% - up 1

0056, PH: Things are ticking along a little quicker now, and the East Midlands is the latest region to declare its results:  Tories win with 30 percent; Labour second on 17 percent; UKIP on 16; Lib Dems on 12; BNP on 9.  That's 2 seats for the Tories, and 1 each for Labour and the Lib Dems.

0103, PH: Article in Monday's Independent by Labour MP Graham Allen on why "Brown must go".  Read it here.

0105, PH: Jon Craig on Sky is saying that Brown loyalists claim these results are "bad, but could have been worse".  To my mind, it's a misleading point: sure, Labour may finish third, rather than forth, in the national vote - but a share of 16 percent would be historically terrible for them.  Quite simply, Brown has lead Labour to their worst ever defeat.

0109, FN: Is this a good night for the BNP? Tony Travers, in the Five Live studio with me, says not - their share of the vote is up from 6 percent to 8 percent he says. Tiny. That's one way of looking at it. Another way is to say its vote is up by a third and today is a breakthrough for them: it has a toehold in a parliament, which marks a giant leap towards the mainstream. I'm sitting next to Simon Wooley from Operation Black Vote, who says that tonight will be a failure for the BNP if Griffin doesn't get in. When they celebrate the opening of their new Brussels office it won't feel like a failure.

0113, PH: Given the numerous scandals he's embroiled in, it's pretty astonishing how well Silvio Berlusconi's party has done in these elections. Seems like not every electorate across Europe is protesting against the incumbant government.

0117, PH: One of the best things about listening to the election results live, is hearing the names of some of the more obscure parties.  Who knew that a "Roman party" - called "Ave" - was contesting the election in the South East? 

0118, PH: It's official.  Labour came FIFTH in the South East.

0119, PH: Dan Hannan is addressing the crowd at the South East results. He says bluntly: "Prime Minister, how much clearer do we need to speak before you hear us?"  This is similar in tone to his famous European Parliament speech - although, it has to be said, not quite as punchy. Still, expect to see it on YouTube shortly.

0121, JGF:

No Labour MEPs elected in the South West region as the party comes fifth with a mere eight percent of the vote.

0124, PH:
In his speech to the South East crowd, Nigel Farage complains about those folded-over ballot papers - says he may contest the results in certain boroughs.

0130, FN: Word from North West is that Griffin has won his seat. Very bad news if true - and, of course, the story of the election.

0132, PH: A victory for Nick Griffin would be of massive symbolic importance for Labour MPs.  In the backs of their minds, they may be thinking it was Brown's premiership wot won it for the BNP.

0145, PH: It's not yet official, but it really does seem certain that Nick Griffin will win a seat.  The other parties are preparing some form of protest up in Manchester.

0150, JGF:

We’re now just waiting for the results from the West Midlands and the North West. The North West one is expected shortly.

0154, PH: And those West Midlands results are in now.   Conservatives come top; then UKIP and Labour.  Percentage shares when I get them.

0155, PH: Here they are:

Conservatives - 28.1% - up 0.7

Ukip - 21.3% - up 3.8

Labour - 17.0% - down 6.4

Lib Dems - 12.0% - down 1.7

BNP - 8.6% - up 1.1

0200, PH: Just the North West to go. Expected any minute.

0205, PH: It's official: Nick Griffin has won a seat for the North West - boos ring out as his name is read out.  With 2 seats, the success of the BNP will be the main talking point of this election.  This is a dispiriting turn of affairs, and one that our current Parlimentarians should feel partially responsible for.

0206, PH:
Final results in the North West:

Conservatives - 25.6% - up 1.5

Labour - 20.4% - down 6.4

Ukip - 15.8% - up 3.7

Lib Dems - 14.3% - down 1.6

BNP - 8.0% - up 1.6

0208, FN:
So it's confirmed: Nick Griffin has done it. He has easily eclipsed John Tyndall and Oswald Mosley - neither the National Front nor the British Union of Fascists had anything like the popular electoral support which the BNP tonight commands. It has taken a monumental failure from the Westminster parties to get to this point, chief among them their failure to address immigration. Result: Nick Griffin's off first-class to Strasbourg and his next step will be to try to lead the fascist group in the European Parliament (not all of them accept the f-word, but that's in effect what they are). What an indictment of the Westminster parties that the new face of European fascism could be a British one.

And on that bleak note, I'm finally signing off for tonight.

0209, PH: Addressing the crowd in the North West, the main Conservative MEP laments the election of Nick Griffin, calling it an "aberration".  Cheers - and a few boos - ring out from the crowd.  I wonder what will happen when Griffin takes to the microphone.

0214, JGF: Monday is going to be another day of high-political drama. What happens at the PLP meeting is going to go a significant way to determining Brown’s fate, whether the rebels can get the 70 signatures they need. These results, which have been utterly terrible for Labour, have undoubtedly weakened Brown still further before that meeting.

0218, PH:
Here's Griffin now, and the other candidates leave the stage in protest.  Sections of the crowd are filtering out of the building too: no booing, no whistling - just near-silence.  Griffin exclaims at the BNP's success: "The waters of truth and justice are now washing over this country."  Yes, this is a democratic result.  But there's something depraved about this man standing there, on a new, legitimate platform.

0223, PH:
The Scottish and Northern Irish results are due tomorrow.  But this is how the national tally looks so far:

Conservative -- 28.6% -- up 1.2 -- 24 MEPS

UK Independence Party -- 17.4% -- up 0.5 -- 13 MEPs

Labour -- 15.3% -- down 7 -- 11 MEPs

Liberal Democrats -- 13.9% -- down 1.1 -- 10 MEPs

Green Party -- 8.7% -- up 2.5 -- 2 MEPs

British National Party -- 6.5% -- up 1.4 -- 2 MEPs

The success of the BNP will grab all the headlines, and - coupled with that awful 15.3% showing by Labour  - it all spells trouble for Gordon Brown.  Monday, 8 June, is going to be one of the most fraught and potentially explosive days of his premiership.  Watch this space.

0230, PH: Right, I'm going to call it a night now, and get my beauty sleep.  Many thanks to CoffeeHousers for joining us.  We'll have more on all this later.