LABOUR was dealt a hammerblow by Solihull voters at last week’s European elections – polling less than the BNP in the borough.
The party was relegated to fifth place in Solihull (finishing third in the West Midlands as a whole). It now holds just one of the region’s six seats.
Michael Cashman, their last man standing, said: “Despite the recession and the expenses scandal, the Labour vote is not shifting to either of the two main parties, it has gone to the protest party and this shows that a united Labour Party can fight back.”
That “protest party” is the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which profited most from Labour’s woes. The eurosceptic group polled more than 300,000 votes across the West Midlands (taking over 11,000 in Solihull).
UKIP candidate – and Solihull resident – Nikki Sinclaire was propelled to office. She has already dismissed claims that UKIP is a fringe party, describing it as “the only credible opposition”.
It was also a good result for the Tories, who took the largest share of the vote in Solihull and the West Midlands overall. Although the party lost one of its three seats, this was because the total number of MEPs in the region had been reduced from seven to six.
In Solihull, the Lib Dems won twice as many votes as Labour, but Liz Lynne remains the party’s sole West Midlands MEP.
The far-right British National Party – which gained its first European seats in Yorkshire and the North West – claimed more than 5,000 votes in Solihull. It finished ahead of the Green Party, which had won its first Solihull councillor last year and was hoping to make headway in Europe.
Turn-out for last Thursday’s elections was 35.51 per cent in Solihull – slightly ahead of the national average. This means that 55,835 people out of the 157,235 electorate visited polling stations.