‘Our position on Brexit has failed’: MPs react to early election results

Early losses for both Labour and the Conservatives in the English local council elections were cause for critical reflection from the parties’ politicians, with Brexit cited by many as the key cause.

By around 5am, the Conservatives had lost a net 117 seats and Labour was down 32, while the Lib Dems were up 96, the Greens had gained 16 and Ukip two.

Labour MP Jess Phillips reacted by saying her party’s position on Brexit had “failed”.

“I’m off to bed as have to be up at 7am to do the school run,” she tweeted. “My final word is that I think our position on Brexit has failed.

“Bravery is needed. If you combine kindness and effectiveness with a bit of grit most people will respect you even when they don’t always agree.”

Fellow Labour MP Wes Streeting said losses in Sunderland and Liverpool demonstrated that “looking both ways on Brexit isn’t doing Labour any good”.

Change UK MP Mike Gapes, formerly of Labour, said the overnight results suggested Jeremy Corbyn’s party was “unable to capitalise on the incompetent dysfunctional Conservative Government”.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats were on course for a strong performance, with predictions it could make as many as 500 gains.

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron tweeted: “Congratulations to all those Lib Dems who picked a ward…and won it!”

MP Ed Davey said his party was having an “awesome night” thanks to voters rejecting Labour and the Conservatives, citing hard work rather than Brexit issues for their success.

“No question that it’s down to the hard work of activists across the country – proud to see so many local teams get the results they deserve,” he tweeted.

One point of satisfaction for the party also came in the fact that leading Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg now has a Liberal Democrat councillor representing him in Somerset.

MP Wera Hobhouse commended Lib Dem Dave Wood on his victory over Conservative Tim Warren, leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, in Mendip ward.

“The start of a very good night in Bath!” she tweeted.

While the Conservative party suffered significant losses across the country, Tory MP Eddie Hughes had cause to celebrate as his party gained Walsall North from no overall control.

“Looks like we hadn’t read the script in #Walsall North,” he tweeted, sharing a video of his party members celebrating.

“This is what our #LocalElection2019 looked like…”

Conservative MP for East Surrey Sam Gyimah said the party’s loss of control in Tandridge, Surrey, was “disappointing but not surprising”, citing two non-Brexit-related issues.

“We lost some fantastic councillors over the big local issue: proposed new housing in the Local Plan and protecting the greenbelt,” he tweeted.

“Thanks to the voters who supported us. Well done everyone on a tough campaign. Time to regroup!”

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