Mr Farage won the European election but has he lost Brexit?

Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage Attends European Parliamentary Elections Count
Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage Attends European Parliamentary Elections Count

Nigel Farage pulled off one of the biggest upsets in British political history, after forming a party less than six months ago, and then leading it to victory in the European elections.

The Brexit Party, was clearly the night's winner returning 28 out of 73 MEPs alongside Germany's CDU, who traditionally send the most MEPs from any single party. But despite the big win, Mr Farage knows that the results don't automatically mean that British voters truly crave the no-deal Brexit he so desperately wants. Although, the Brexit Party will continue to claim it does based on the number of seats it has won.

Why? As Sky News Europe Correspondent, Mark Stone, pointed out: "The election results will be interpreted in starkly different ways in the UK".

When adding up the popular vote, it's a matter of simple arithmetic, pro-remain parties outperformed the hard Brexit parties.

Because the other big winner, the Lib Dems, after languishing in the wilderness following coalition with David Cameron, have been resurrected on the back of tonight's results and the local elections. Along with the Greens, with 11 new MEPs, they've managed to channel the anger of pro-Europeans.

This all places the Tory leadership contenders into ever more uncomfortable contortions, not just in order to have any chance of securing the leadership, but winning any general election. After falling to fifth place with their worst-ever election result, they may conclude that they need to 'out Farage', Mr Farage. This will give The Brexit Party huge power over the Tories - pushing them possibly to rush for the EU exit.

"The stakes couldn't be higher and Brexiteers have shown a willingness to gamble"

But what should worry the main parties in the days ahead, is that the Lib Dems, now offer an electorally viable platform for pro-Europeans. ChangeUK, which managed to get only 3.5% of the vote, will surely see the logic of merging. This could be the magnet for other disaffected centrist Tory and Labour MPs - who will conclude they have little choice if they want to stop a no-deal Brexit without risking a general election.

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All this will bring little comfort to Mr Corbyn - who won't be able to triangulate Labour out of the dawning realisation, that they are losing more pro-European voters than they are Leavers; and thus, seeing any future majority to form a Labour government draining away.

The carefully crafted positions of the Conservatives and Labour have only acted as centrifugal forces - pushing voters into the arms of smaller parties with little to lose by taking an honest stand. But ultimately, it may have been the creation of the Brexit Party, that did more to help coalesce and galvanize 'Remainers' into a similar electoral force.

That means the inescapable reality is Britain now faces a polarised choice: No-deal or revoke Article 50. The stakes couldn't be higher and Brexiteers have shown a willingness to gamble, even at the risk of losing their cherished dream of leaving the EU.

The question that will now preoccupy the country until October - is not the choice we will make (that torturous decision still waits) - but the way in which we will decide to jump, and just how radically that will alter Britain's political landscape.