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Friday 3 May 2019

The full results aren’t in, but the obvious takeaway from yesterday’s local elections so far is that voters are apoplectic with rage over the political establishment’s mishandling of Brexit, an impression that is unlikely to change. This was a local election about the biggest international issue of our time, leaving the EU on sovereign terms.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have haemorrhaged seats in England — 442 and 79 respectively as of 9:55 this morning — just rewards for repeated lies and contradictory promises.

The majority of the gains go to the Lib Dems, which — as Westmonster point out — have a strong record in local elections and significant resources at their disposal.

It is estimated independent candidates won an astonishing 25% of the vote in the 69 wards where they were standing.

Referring to the Conservative-Labour stranglehold on UK politics — they won 82% of the vote share in 2017 with pro-Brexit manifestos they’ve since discarded — professor John Curtice commented:

“What the voters have been saying is ‘a plague on both your houses’… and one of the ways that’s been expressed is they’ve swung away from Labour where Labour were previously strong; and equally they’ve swung away from the Conservatives most where the Conservatives were previously strong.”

No wonder last night has been declared a win for the “independents”, disillusioned local politicians offering the public a different and welcome vision.

But the story goes beyond the rejection of the Westminster consensus (bear in mind the Lib Dems’ have successfully presented themselves as the protest vote). Voters up and down the country really are furious.

The other big indicator of popular defiance against the elites were the many photos of spoilt ballots posted on social media.

“After the #BrexitBetrayal none of the main political parties represent me.

“I will support the @brexitparty_uk in the EU elections, but until then a spoiled ballot paper was the only option,” wrote one angry voter.

Another wrote: “(Never spoiled a ballot paper in the past and I’ve always voted Tory) The next time I vote it will be for @brexitparty_uk.”

Voters are now permitted to take photos of their ballots. At this stage, it is difficult to quantify how many have been defaced, but there’s no doubting the volume is unprecedented. This story will run throughout the day. Leave.EU will be following it closely. Stay tuned.