July 19, 2024

Brighton Journal

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LIVE UPDATES: Labour wins UK election after Sunak concedes defeat

LIVE UPDATES: Labour wins UK election after Sunak concedes defeat

The UK’s decision to give the centre-left Labour Party a parliamentary majority, according to opinion polls, comes as Europe is largely in the grip of what some call a right-wing populist wave.

past months European elections The recent European elections saw a record number of far-right and far-right lawmakers elected to the European Parliament. The results caused such chaos that French President Emmanuel Macron called for early parliamentary elections in his country, with the far-right National Rally winning in the first round. Won last week.

A far-right government was formed in the Netherlands this week. Italy is led by the most right-wing leader since the wartime fascist Benito Mussolini. These electoral victories and the prospect of right-wing populists coming to power are no surprise in Europe.

There are many reasons for this surge in populism, often unique to individual countries. But in general, a number of European countries are suffering from slowing economies, high immigration, and high energy prices, in part because of the pursuit of net zero carbon. The EU is often blamed for national woes by populist politicians, injecting oxygen into a national discourse that is increasingly Eurosceptic.

But why is Britain, the only country where Euroscepticism has led to a referendum on EU membership, expected to buck this trend?

Despite the expected number of seats, the British right is not dead yet. The Conservative Party, despite its undoubtedly disappointing night, is expected to outperform the expectations of a number of opinion polls during the campaign, some of which had shown its parliamentary seat tally falling into the double digits.

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Another party that is expected to beat polls is the UK’s right-wing populist Reform Party, led by Nigel Farage, who is perhaps best known these days for his friendship with former US President Donald Trump. Before that, he was credited with making Brexit possible after decades of campaigning against the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Farage’s political success so far has come without holding a parliamentary seat. Now he is expected not only to hold a seat, but also to nominate 12 colleagues to throw grenades at Labour leader Keir Starmer. While that may seem small compared to Starmer’s expected three-figure majority, Farage will undoubtedly influence the debate about the future direction of the Conservative Party, and perhaps even pull it further to the right.

Farage’s split to the right may have helped Starmer increase his parliamentary majority. It is a curious fact of British politics that the percentage of votes a party wins does not necessarily translate into seats. With Reform doing well in many of the seats Labour will eventually win, it will not only be impossible to ignore the far right in this parliament, it could easily see its influence grow even further.

Britain suffers from many of the same problems as other European countries, and if Starmer stumbles as prime minister, there is every chance that the populist right will continue to capture the public imagination, as it has elsewhere in Europe.