Can Leave Or Remain Claim Election Victory? Sir John Curtice Analyses Result

28 May 2019, 08:04

The UK's leading election expert told LBC the European Election shows that the UK is completely split over Brexit.

The Brexit Party claimed victory in the majority of councils across the UK, but Remain-backing parties claimed that they got more votes overall.

Sir John Curtice, however, believes it shows a stalemate between the two sides.

Speaking to LBC, he said: "You cannot read from these elections any clear evidence as to whether or not Leave or Remain are the more popular. It all depends how you decide to do the counting.

"The crucial message to take away from these elections is a) that we are basically evenly divided between the two courses open to us - leaving without a deal and having a second referendum.

"And b) we are deeply polarised between these two options and support for parties that were trying to find a compromise between these two options largely fell away, not least the Labour Party.

"So the message is not so much that one side has won, but that collectively we're going to find it very difficult to come up with a solution to the Brexit impasse that is going to satisfy the clear majority of people."

Sir John Curtice
Sir John Curtice. Picture: LBC

Does Theresa May's resignation and the Conservative disaster at the election make a General Election more or less likely? Sir John thinks an accidental election is the most likely option.

He added: "We are less likely to get a General Election as a result of voluntary action by a Prime Minister. As Jeremy Hunt has said, if the Conservatives tries to fight an election before they have delivered Brexit, then lots of people are still going to be reluctant to vote for it.

"On the other hand, because of the talk about no-deal and because if a government tries to pursue no-deal it is likely to be brought down, the risks of an accidental General Election have gone up."