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European election 2019: Brexit Party tops West Midlands polls

Newly-elected Brexit Party MEPs Rupert Lowe, Martin Daubney and Andrew Kerr Image copyright PA
Image caption Newly-elected Brexit Party MEPs Rupert Lowe, Martin Daubney and Andrew Kerr

The Brexit Party has taken more than a third of the votes in the West Midlands' European Parliament election.

The party took 38% of the vote in the region and will have three MEPs, while Labour, the Conservatives, Greens and Liberal Democrats each have one.

New MEPs include an ex-football club chairman and a former lads' mag editor.

UKIP, which won three seats in the 2014 European Parliament elections, now has no West Midlands MEPs, while Labour and the Conservatives each lost one.

The West Midlands turnout was 33.1 % this year, compared to 33.31% in 2014.

The Brexit Party MEPs are Rupert Lowe, one-time chairman of Southampton Football Club, Martin Daubney, ex-editor of Loaded magazine, and Andrew Kerr.

Mr Lowe said: "It's very exciting, but I will be working pretty hard to ensure that I'm not an MEP past my birthday on the 31 October."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The West Midlands turnout was 31.1% this year, down from 32.4% in 2014

Mr Daubney said the result had "smashed expectations".

"For my entire media career as a coal miner's son from Nottingham I've been able to speak with ordinary people.

"I understand the language of the man and woman in the street and that's what I think the difference has been with our campaign."

Neena Gill and Anthea McIntyre both held their seats representing Labour and the Conservatives respectively.

"I'm very pleased that we hung on to a seat here in the West Midlands, but I'm obviously sad that we lost a seat too," said Ms McIntyre.

"Until we leave I'm determined to do my best to represent the people of the West Midlands to stand up for the interests of industry, workers and farmers and make sure they feel that their voice is still heard in the European Parliament," she added.

Ms Gill was jeered as she attacked the Brexit Party for promoting "division and destructiveness".

She said: "Your win tonight is for big money, vested interests and a sophisticated and rampant disinformation campaign, manipulating facts on social media. It's a victory for loads of money.

"European history tells us that every fascist regime needs people it can demonise in order to thrive."

Mr Lowe branded the comments "complete rubbish" and "pathetic".

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There was a comeback for Liberal Democrat Phil Bennion who lost his seat in 2014, while Ellie Chowns gained a seat for the Greens.

Ms Chowns said she was "absolutely delighted" and the results were a "really strong vote of confidence in Remain parties".

Sion Simon and Dan Dalton, who had represented Labour and the Conservatives respectively, both lost their seats.

The West Midlands constituency has seven MEPs representing Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands metropolitan area.

Full UK results

Results in maps and charts

England results and reaction: As it happened

Analysis by Patrick Burns, political editor, BBC Midlands

The region which registered the highest proportion of Leave votes in the 2016 referendum has now delivered an equally thumping victory to Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party.

Over half a million West Midlands voters have sent three Brexit Party MEP's to the new European Parliament. That matches the number achieved last time by UKIP.

The Brexit Party drew support from the Conservatives and Labour who lose one seat each in what will be seen as a punishment for their failure either to deliver Brexit on time, or to find an effective compromise at Westminster.

The Conservatives finished fifth behind the Greens who now have their first West Midlands MEP.

The other big message of the night is that Remain supporters congregated around the Liberal Democrats and, to a lesser extent, the Greens.

What's already clear is that these results will have a heavy impact, not only on the Conservative leadership race but also on the debate within Labour over whether or not it should clarify its position as a party of Remain or a party that really does want Britain to leave the EU.

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

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