The European election numbers for Essex

Here is a summary of how the five parties with the biggest vote fared in the European elections in each of the fourteen local authority (LA) areas in Essex. All figures are percentage of vote share.

UKIP Con Lab Grn LD
Basildon 44.8 24.2 17.3 4.8 2.9
Braintree 39.1 29.5 14.7 8.3 3.9
Brentwood 37.5 32.8 10.3 6.3 8.3
Castle Point 47.8 25.8 12.6 4.8 1.8
Chelmsford 36.8 31.4 12.1 7.3 8.7
Colchester 31.9 27.9 14.8 10.0 11.1
Epping Forest 40.3 31.2 11.4 6.7 5.0
Harlow 39.2 20.9 26.1 4.8 2.8
Maldon 40.9 32.3 10.8 8.1 3.7
Rochford 43.4 29.5 10.6 6.6 3.4
Southend-on-Sea 37.1 26.8 15.6 7.9 6.1
Tendring 48.4 24.9 13.1 6.5 2.1
Thurrock 45.9 19.5 22.8 3.4 1.7
Uttlesford 32.0 36.1 9.7 8.8 9.5

It was a good day for UKIP, who ‘won’ thirteen of the fourteen LAs. In some areas their vote share was remarkably high, especially when you factor in the fact that there were ten competing parties on very single ballot paper. UKIP came within touching distance of fifty per cent in two places (Tendring and Castle Point).

Castle Point’s borough boundary is co-terminus with the Parliamentary constituency, which makes the 22% lead by UKIP over the Conservatives significant. Tendring covers the Parliamentary constituencies of Clacton and Harwich and North Essex, and the two Conservative MPs here will have cause to be worried. Of course, the UKIP surge may be a temporary thing, but that is far from certain. Besides, I cannot believe that all those who lent UKIP their support on May 22nd will switch back to the main parties in their entirety. The calculation is whether enough UKIP support lingers to make a UKIP win, or a Conservative loss, possible.

Labour were second in Harlow and Thurrock, but their third place in Basildon is a disappointment. Their performance in Southend-on-Sea ranks as their fourth best in the county. A Labour government with no Essex MPs seems an improbable thing.

The Liberal Democrats had a miserable night, finishing fifth overall and only hitting double figures once. The Greens finished fourth overall, and even where they were beaten by the Liberal Democrats they were still very close.

Of the other parties, the UKIP splinter An Independence from Europe did best, and NO2EU worst. An Independence from Europe managed 3.1% in Castle Point and finished above the Liberal Democrats (a feat they also achieved in Thurrock). NO2EU got the wooden spoon everywhere.

These elections give little clue, in my opinion, as to what will happen next May. Low turnout and that the electorate see these as the safest way to protest mean the results merely show who is most upset at the moment. Next May voters will be choosing their government, and the calculations in the minds of voters for this will, as always, be largely based on the economy and perceptions of how prosperous people feel. However, I do expect the obvious discontent about Europe and immigration to have a significant role in framing manifesto commitments. Whilst the UKIP surge must subside to some extent, those MPs defending small majorities will have some thinking to do.


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