Head of the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, Dr Nick Startin is available this week for interviews in the lead-up to Thursday’s European Parliamentary elections and subsequently to help dissect the results.
Commenting from Bath he said: “It seems highly likely that the newly-formed Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage will be the leading party in terms of votes and could poll around one third of votes cast. It’s clear that the Conservative Party will take a hit over the way they have handled Brexit. For Labour, it’s clearly also a challenging election owing to a lack of clarity on where they stand on Brexit.
What will be interesting is to see how the more defined pro-Remain ‘Bremain’ parties perform. The Lib Dems recently did well in the local elections, but that was without the presence of Change UK. The danger for those hoping that there will be a strong remain vote is that these votes will split and overall that will reduce the number of MEPs on the remain side.
One of the questions that’s being asked is whether this election can be a proxy for a second referendum. I’m not sure we can look at these elections in this way. Historically the turnout for European Elections is low with a tendency for protest votes. Whatever the result, it seems debates over Brexit and the UK’s future direction will persist well beyond this election.