New poll puts Brexit Party in lead for European Parliament elections

A new poll by YouGov puts the new Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage in first place for the European Parliament elections, which are due to go ahead in the UK on 23 May if the Withdrawal Agreement has not been ratified. The poll, conducted between 15 and 16 April in Great Britain, shows the Brexit Party leading with 27%, followed by Labour with 22% and the Conservative Party in third place with 15%. The Green Party was on 10%, Liberal Democrats, 9%, UKIP, 7%, Change UK, 6% and the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru together on 4%. 

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, polling expert Sir John Curtice said that the poll did not actually show “a marked increase in support for pro-Brexit parties,” adding, ” There’s been this very sudden resorting away from UKIP to the Brexit Party… Nigel Farage is evidently relatively quickly winning the battle with UKIP to be the premier party in favour of Brexit.”

Meanwhile, a separate YouGov poll for The Times also puts the Brexit Party in the lead on 23%, Labour on 22%, the Conservatives Party, 17%, the Green Party, 10% and the Liberal Democrats, 9%. Change UK was on 8% and UKIP, 6%. The poll was carried out between 16 and 17 April. 

The Daily Shakeup will be back on Tuesday 23 April. In the meantime, the Open Europe team wishes Happy Easter holidays to all of our subscribers!   

Jacob Osborne: European Elections in France: Macron leads the polls, but Euroscepticism is rife

In a new blog, Open Europe’s Jacob Osborne examines recent political developments in France ahead of the upcoming European elections. President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-EU La République en Marche currently leads the polls, closely followed by the Eurosceptic Rassemblement National. Osborne writes that the European Parliament elections “will be more than just a referendum on Macron’s leadership. At the heart of the elections is a widening division in French politics over the institutions and future course of the EU itself.” He continues, “One of the major recent themes of modern French politics has been the rapid decline of the traditional centrist parties,” which he argues is a sign that the French public desire “more radical political change at both a national and European level.” He concludes, “While Macron is currently projected to win the European elections, he will have to proceed with caution,” as “over a third of votes are likely to go to strong Eurosceptic parties that are outside the political centre… In this difficult political landscape, it remains to be seen how successful Macron will be with his reformist agenda.”

Elsewhere, in an article for the opinion website 1828, Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe surveys the “long road to Brexit” at the EU level. He assesses the role of the single currency and the Lisbon Treaty in creating the conditions that led to Brexit, arguing, “Crocodile tears were shed after the British people voted to leave, but many in Brussels should realise they carry responsibility for the divorce too.”

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