Fife EU count: Labour reflect on ‘deeply disappointing’ vote

Counting the votes at Michael Woods Sports Centre, Glenrothes (Pic: Andrew Beveridge)
Counting the votes at Michael Woods Sports Centre, Glenrothes (Pic: Andrew Beveridge)

Labour has described its polling in Fife in the EU election as “deeply disappointing.”
Lesley Laird MP said the polarisation of Brexit had been played out at the polling booths – and the party “had been punished as a result” as Thursday’s vote became a ‘Brexit Election’ by proxy.
She said it would now have to take stock.

Labour were relegated to fourth place in the Fife count, with just 9.7 per cent per cent of the regional vote – a slump of 20 per cent on the 2014 election.

It polled just 10,216 votes, finishing well behind the Brexit Party on 16,738,the Lib Dems on 17,269 and had almost three times fewer votes than the SNP who topped the poll with 39,446.

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The party lost both its Scottish seats at the EU, and slumped as low as sixth in Edinburgh.

Ms Laird, deputy leader of Scottish Labour and Shadow Scottish Secretary, said the party’s message “had not cut through in the way we would have hoped.”

She said: ““The vote count in Fife was deeply disappointing for Labour and we will need to take stock.

“The polarisation on Brexit, which has played out in Parliament for three years, was played out in the country and Labour has been punished as a result.”
She blamed the Conservative Government at Westminster for the chaos – and a said a public vote, or second referendum, was now required.

“This mess is all of the Tories’ making and we are now paralysed as a Parliament while a Tory leadership battle begins,” she continued.

“Throughout Theresa May’s shambolic EU negotiations we held firm to our position: to respect the result of the referendum but protect the UK from a Brexit which damages our economy and jobs.

“But this EU election became a proxy vote about Brexit.

“The danger, as Labour has warned, is now crashing out with no deal. Labour will not support that, and a public vote on any deal must now surely be required.

“All parties must now work together to find a way through this log jam and that will require compromise.

“Labour will listen carefully to its members and supporters, as clearly, our message has not cut through in the way we would have hoped.”