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10 key lessons from the European election results


Ukip's victory is the first time neither the Tories nor Labour have topped the poll in a national election in more than 110 years

Farage can claim to have won a truly historic victory, with Ukip becoming the first party apart from Labour and the Tories to top a national poll since December 1910. This was when Herbert Asquith won the highest number of seats, though not the largest number of votes.

Labour only beat the Conservatives very narrowly by doing well in London

Labour was tied with the Conservatives for most of the night and only sneaked ahead to around 25% of the national vote, compared with about 24% for the Conservatives, after London declared in the early hours. Both parties have 18 MEPs. Labour did, however, increase its share of the vote by almost 10% and top the poll in Wales, allowing it to make five gains.

Lib Dems only just avoided total wipeout

The party only held on to its last seat, in the south-east, by 6,983 votes. Its share of the vote dropped below 7%. A number of its longstanding politicians lost their seats, including former Tory Edward McMillan-Scott and Bill Newton Dunn, who had been MEPs for more than 30 years.

The Conservatives set a new low by coming third

The party lost at least 4 percentage points in its share of the vote and did not come first in any region, unlike Labour, which dominated in Wales and the north. In an attempt to put a positive spin on the loss of seven MEPs, Tory aides pointed out that the party had topped the poll in marginal areas such as Swindon, Stroud, Peterborough, South Pembrokeshire, Basildon, and North Warwickshire.

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