As the 2015 UK General Election draws near, we look back at the 2014 Local and European elections to consider what, if anything, the results can tell us about the outcome on May 7.
On Thursday 22 May 2014, UK voters took to the polls for both the local and European elections. Professor Tony Travers and Professor Simon Hix were invited to join presenter Martin Rogers on the HotSeat to give their views on the election results.
Discussing the local elections, Tony Travers, made the points that:
- These elections were an opportunity for UKIP to advance, one they have taken. Whether they can maintain and further build on their gains will become clear with time.
- The Conservatives have done no worse than expected given that they are incumbents and these elections came in midterm.
- The Liberal Democrats did as they expected to do: very badly.
- It’s a mixed picture for Labour, good in London but in the north of England it is losing votes and council seats to UKIP.
- These local elections again demonstrate that the two party system is “in freefall decline” and a multi-party era dominates.
Professor Simon Hix made the following remarks on the European elections:
- Rather than a vote against Europe, it is an excuse to vote against the mainstream parties.
- The European elections saw a surge for anti-establishment parties across Europe: on the right in northern Europe, and on the left in the south.
- These parties main influence will be indirect, it will be how the centre-left responds to the reaction to austerity and how the centre-right parties respond to immigration.
- In Britain, more than 50% of the votes cast were for UKIP and the Conservatives, both of whom promise a referendum. The Labour party’s response will be fascinating given the rise of UKIP in traditional Labour areas.