Po­lit­i­cal re­turns Fa­mil­iar faces to the fore in Euro­pean vote

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Phil NORRIS & Sa­muel PORT gloslive­[email protected]­plc.com

THERE were two po­lit­i­cal come­backs in the Euro­pean elec­tions as an ex-chel­tenham MP and a for­mer Con­ser­va­tive Min­is­ter were elected as MEPS to rep­re­sent Glouces­ter­shire and the South West.

The re­mark­able po­lit­i­cal jour­ney of Chel­tenham Lib­eral Demo­crat Martin Hor­wood con­tin­ued.

From na­tional pol­i­tics as a for­mer MP for Chel­tenham (2005-15), he lost to Con­ser­va­tive Alex Chalk in two gen­eral elec­tions (2015 and 2017) be­fore be­ing elected to Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil.

He has now bounced on to the in­ter­na­tional stage as the Lib Dems won two seats in the South West with the Brexit Party gain­ing three and the Greens re­tain­ing their seat in the re­gion.

Chel­tenham was the only dis­trict in Glouces­ter­shire where the Lib Dems got the big­gest share of the vote.

The Brexit Party mir­rored their na­tional success by top­ping the poll in the South West.

But there was a strong show­ing by the pro-re­main Lib Dems and Greens.

Mr Hor­wood tweeted: “So, Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK beat Brexit Party and UKIP in the pop­u­lar vote across the South West.

“Not such a Leave re­gion now, eh?”

Join­ing him as an MEP is for­mer Tory Ann Wid­de­combe who left pol­i­tics, went on Strictly Come Danc­ing and threw her­self back into front­line pol­i­tics by join­ing Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

She said: “It wasn’t so much duty calling, it was duty howl­ing at me to do this be­cause I couldn’t be­lieve the mess that was be­ing made in Westminste­r.”

She said she wanted a ‘clean Brexit,’ say­ing Britain could put more pres­sure

on the EU.

But she added: “I’m not in­ter­ested in their fur­ther con­ces­sions, I want a clean Brexit and that is where we’ve got to put our pres­sure.” Molly Scott-cato is re­turn­ing to Brus­sels rep­re­sent­ing the Green Party.

She said: “The huge in­crease in the Green vote where we beat the votes of Labour and the Con­ser­va­tives com­bined shows that peo­ple across the re­gion are dis­il­lu­sioned with two-party pol­i­tics and are turn­ing to the Greens be­cause of our pas­sion for Europe and our de­ter­mi­na­tion to stop Brexit through a Peo­ple’s vote.” Glouces­ter Coun­cil­lor Tom Coole (Labour, Mat­son and Robinswood), who was act­ing as an agent, said that he was dis­ap­pointed with Labour’s de­creased sup­port.

He said: “Ob­vi­ously, this was go­ing to be a re­ally tough elec­tion for all the ma­jor par­ties - par­tic­u­larly Labour and Con­ser­va­tives - be­cause the sit­u­a­tion is so tu­mul­tuous in Westminste­r.

“I think peo­ple are fed up with the sit­u­a­tion and I think peo­ple want to draw it to a close in some way.

“What that way is, I think is per­haps a bit more un­cer­tain.

“I think there is an in­creas­ing trend to­wards other par­ties away from the main two par­ties as a protest vote be­cause they don’t feel the politi­cians in Westminste­r are get­ting on with it and that’s what they have cer­tainly been say­ing to me.”

Anne Wid­de­combe and, in­set, Molly Scottcato

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