Voters dissatisfied with the Tory government’s failure to deliver Brexit have spoilt their local election ballots, writing in “Brexit Party” and “traitor” besides the names of Conservative and Labour candidates.
Sky News political journalist Jon Craig reported late last night that in Bury, Greater Manchester, a number of voters were expressing their “frustration” at “not getting a proper choice” of candidates because there lacked a clear, pro-Brexit party and were spoiling their ballots in large numbers.
The movement spread across England, with voters having taken to writing in “Brexit Party,” and comments like “traitor” besides the names of the establishment party candidates, “Four Remain parties and the f*cking Tories? NONE,” and “Get out, Theresa May,” sharing pictures of their ballots on Twitter under the hashtag #SpoilYourBallot.
Others had written on their ballots “Leave the EU on WTO [World Trade Organization] terms” i.e., leaving the bloc in a clean break, in-deal scenario, “Respect the Brexit vote,” or simply “Brexit.”
— ITV News (@itvnews) May 3, 2019
One election official at the Ipswich Corn Exchange told the Daily Mail, “We thought there would be quite a few spoilt papers, but nothing on the level we have seen, it took everyone by surprise. There seems to be a lot of anger and frustration out there.”
Almost 800 spoiled ballots were reported in Basildon by BBC Essex, reportedly “in protest against the government handling of Brexit and the lack of a party to represent them.”
While the count continues from Thursday night’s vote, it is clear that both establishment parties — Conservatives and Labour — haven had significant losses, with Prof John Curtice telling the BBC that voters had declared “a plague on both your houses” with losses for the main parties, while independents and the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats have gained seats.
At the time of reporting, Conservatives have lost over 900 seats and while Labour was predicted to win hundreds of seats, they have lost nearly 100.
Pollsters in the week before the local English elections predicted that the Conservatives would lose between 400 and 1,100 seats after having won 4,906 seats and 140 councils in the last local vote, holding the most seats out of the total 8,425 council positions across the country.
A few more spoilt ballot tallies…
Basildon – 796
Bath & NE Somerset – 331
Brentwood – 272
Castle Point – 414
Chelmsford – 539
Folkestone & Hythe – 637
Great Yarmouth – 968
North Norfolk – 563
Sunderland – 309
Swindon – 825
Tendring – 600
— John Stevens (@johnestevens) May 3, 2019
Despite being an election to determine who controls spending and development of local services, Tory activists warned the failure of the national government to deliver Brexit was dominating conversation on the doorstep and that the party would suffer as a result of Prime Minster Theresa May delaying Brexit and refusing to let the United Kingdom leave the bloc without a deal.
The Brexit Party is predicted to win the highest number of votes in May 23rd’s European Parliament elections, if recent polling is correct. Nigel Farage confirmed that his party — which he hopes to run in the May 2022 General Election — will contest the parliamentary seat of Brexit-supporting Peterborough in the June 6th by-election after disgraced politician Fiona Onasanya was ousted in a recall petition.
Brexit Party Could Win Over a Majority of Conservative Voters in EU Election https://t.co/5GXUJOoLDg
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 1, 2019