Peterborough: Labour Cling on by 683 Votes, Brexit Party Thrash Tories into 3rd Place

Lisa Forbes of the Labour Party accepts her win for the local seat after all votes are in and counted at the Kingsgate Conference Centre in Peterborough, England on June 6, 2019. - A local by-election was triggered when Peterborough's former MP Fiona Onasanya was sacked by her constituents in …
LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty
JACK MONTGOMERY

Nigel Farage’s weeks-old Brexit Party has fallen just short in the Peterborough by-election, thrashing the Tories into third place while Labour clings to the seat by 683 votes.

UPDATE: 08:45 a.m. — Farage: ‘British politics has fundamentally changed’

Despite failing to win in the by-election, Mr Farage said that coming a close second to Labour reveals that the political landscape is changing and is no longer dominated by the establishment parties.

He told BBC Radio 4: “Eight weeks ago today the Brexit party launched, and what you have seen from the results last night is that British politics has fundamentally changed. It’s no longer just two parties contesting.”

For more on this story Breitbart London’s reporting here.

UPDATE: 05:10 a.m. — ‘We’ll be back’: Brexit Party has received 3,000 applications from prospective candidates wanting to fight the next General Election
Speaking to Sky News after the results, defeated Brexit Party candidate Mike Greene remarked on the gains that the fledgling party had made, saying: “Two parties have been ruling this country for decades. That’s not happening any more. We were ahead of the Tories, only a little bit behind Labour.”

“We’ll be back,” he added.

The Brexit Party’s focus on preparing to challenge the establishment in May 2021’s General Election — or, indeed, a snap election if one is called before then — was revealed by The Telegraph on Thursday night, when the centre-right newspaper reported it had learnt the party had near-3,000 candidate applications and that the party had vetted almost 200 of them.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told the newspaper: “People applied to the general election candidates already. So we’re sifting. We never shortlisting now and then the betting stages happen and everything else. If there was an election, we would be ready.”

UPDATE: 04:50 a.m. — Full results reveal other pro-Brexit parties gained a combined 688 votes — five more than the Brexit Party lost to Labour

With a 48.4 per cent turnout, the full vote count published by Peterborough City Council is as follows, in order of vote share:

Labour Party — 10,484
The Brexit Party — 9,801
The Conservative Party — 7,243
Liberal Democrats — 4,159
Green Party — 1,035
UK Independence Party — 400
Christian Peoples Alliance — 162
English Democrats — 153
SDP (Social Democratic Party) Fighting for Brexit — 135
Monster Raving Loony Party — 112
Andrew Moore (Independent) — 101
Common Good: Remain In The EU — 60
Renew — 45
UK European Union Party (UKEUP) — 25
Bobby Smith (Independent) — 5

As Breitbart London suggested after polls had closed, a threat to Brexit Party success in such a marginal seat — where former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya had won the seat from a Conservative in the 2017 General Election by just 607 votes — the other pro-Brexit parties may have lost Brexit Party candidate Mr Greene the contest.

UKIP — whose vote share was decimated in the European Parliament elections last month, losing all of its MEPs — won 400 votes, the English Democrats 153, and the SDP candidate and former UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn gained 135 votes. Combined, those equal 688 — with the margin that the Brexit Party lost to Labour being just 683.

UPDATE: 02:55 a.m. — Brexit’s close second shows we are “in a different political world”

Analysis of the vote shares achieved tonight by various parties bear some scrutiny, and who better to do it than Sir John Curtice, who as far as political science goes is the closest the United Kingdom has to a celebrity in that field.

The fact that the Labour share of the vote — while of course a close victory — was so low Sir John called it a record low is a clear sign the country is now in a “different political world”. Despite having all the resources the party was still down 17 per cent on the night.

Speaking to Britain’s Sky News after the result came in, the Brexit Party’s candidate Mike Greene was upbeat about the result and vowed to fight the seat again when the next election came. He was particularly focussed on the significant campaigning advantage the Labour party enjoyed from being a seasoned political force in the enormous amount of data it held on voters in the area.

Noting that Labour went into the election with lists of phone numbers of supporters and data on previous voting habits, his own party had gone from a standing start to coming within 683 votes of victory in just two weeks.

UPDATE: 02:00 a.m. — Labour win by under 1,000 votes but lose vote share, Tory vote collapses

Labour have been officially announced as the winners of the Peterborough by-election, pipping the Mike Greene of the weeks-old Brexit Party by just 683 votes — although they lost over 17 per cent of their 2017 vote share.

The Tories collapsed into third place, losing more than a quarter of their vote share, while the Liberal Democrats, who looked to have achieved something of a revival in the EU elections, achieved only modest gains for a distant fourth place.

UPDATE: 01:45 p.m. — Provisional results

Candidates have been summoned to hear the provisional results.

UPDATE: 01:30 a.m. — Owen Jones declares victory for Labour

Far-left Guardian columnist Owen Jones has declared victory for the Labour Party, although the result has not been officially announced.

Sky News is suggesting Labour has won by fewer than 500 votes, and that a recount may have been requested.

UPDATE: 01:05 a.m. — Westminster election poll gives Brexit Party a 6-point lead

Whatever happens in Peterborough, polls for the next general election suggest the Brexit Party is here to stay as a political force, with the party coming in first place with a 6-point lead over Labour and the Liberal Democrats, in joint second on 20 per cent.

The Tories are languishing in fourth place, while Change UK (CUK) — which had hoped to galvanise Remain voters the way the Brexit Party has galvanised Leave voters — now polling at 0 per cebt.

UPDATE: 00:25 a.m. — Tories autopsy another ‘shambles’ at the ballot box

A senior source with the governing Conservative Party has lamented that campaign in Peterborough — which they held up until the 2017 snap election and only lost by a few hundred votes — was “again a shambles”.

“Poor literature, bad timing, slow out of the block,” they said. “We’ve let a good candidate down, whilst Labour have propped up a poor candidate.”

UPDATE: 00:20 a.m. — Conspiracies abound as Brexit Party suggests Labour has scraped through

Popular election-monitoring account Britain Elects suggests that Brexit Party activists are conceding Labour has likely just clung on, with betting markets moving in the hard-left opposition party’s favour — but some suggest the Brexiteers may only be pretending to think they have lost as some sort of elaborate ruse.

UPDATE: 11:25 p.m. — Some encouraging signs for Labour

Labour sources have told LBC that turnout in some of their key support bases appears high — but that the contest is “the Brexit Party’s to lose”.

Even this is a sign of strength for Farage’s party, given it is only a few weeks old and Labour were the constituency’s previous holders.

Labour sources speaking Sky News have been less circumspect, however, saying they believe they will win.

Original article continues below:

Brexit Party candidate Mike Greene was the bookies’ favourite going into the contest for Peterborough, whose previous representative Fiona Onasanya, formerly of the Labour Party, was booted out in a recall ballot following a conviction for perverting the course of justice.

Onasanya took the seat from the Tories with a majority of only a few hundred — but the governing party has already conceded that its chances of retaking the seat are slim, with a source saying they are “recognising we’ve lost” and observing a “big lack of turnout in volunteers”.

The party was battered in the recent European Parliament elections — which the United Kingdom was forced to participate in almost three years after the British people’s vote to Leave the European Union due to Tory prime minister Theresa May’s failure to deliver Brexit on March 29th as promised — failing to reach even 10 per cent of the vote share.

In a tight contest, Brexit-supporting parties unlikely to scrape more than a few hundred votes which nevertheless decided to stand including UKIP, the English Democrats, and the SDP — represented by former UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn — could cost Mr Greene the contest.

Despite the Brexit Party’s meteoric rise to win the EU elections just weeks after it was founded, there are concerns that the Labour Party’s long-established infrastructure on the ground may have allowed it to mobilise enough of its core vote to hang on to the seat.

A Tory source told Sky News political editor Beth Rigby that they do expect the Brexit Party to win, but that Labour seem “oddly confident”.

“I’ll be happy if we get within 5 per cent [of a win], we will be happy and it will be a real achievement,” a Brexit Party source told the left-wing Mirror.

“Labour has been campaigning hard in this seat for months.”

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