How Brexit has broken the UKs twoparty political system

Britain's traditional two-party system is cracking up under the strain of Brexit. We saw that very clearly in last week's European Parliament elections. Nigel Farage's new Brexit party won the vote, won the election with over 30 per cent of the votes cast - most of the seats. At the same time, the pro-European, anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats came second with 20 per cent of the vote. And what you saw there was immense pressure on the two big parties - the ruling Conservative party, which got 9 per cent of the vote - and the Labour party, which won just 14 per cent of the vote, drawing very different conclusions from the results. You've got contenders in the leadership contest that will soon follow with the resignation of Theresa May, saying that they should take Britain out of the EU whatever happens on the 31st of October. A no-deal Brexit - the Conservative party moving down very much a hard Brexit route. We will call for a general election and a referendum to decide on the future. And, at the same time, you've got the Labour party agonising over the fact that so many pro-European Remain voters left Labour and voted for, unequivocally, pro-EU parties - whether it's the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, Change UK, which did remarkably badly - actually only won 3 per cent of the vote - and in Scotland, the Scottish National party. An immense pressure now on Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, to get off the fence on Brexit and to promise the Labour will campaign for a referendum - a second referendum on the EU - and a remain vote in that referendum. So you can see there is a centrifugal force operating on the two main parties in British politics pushing them out to the edges of the Brexit debate. And think back to Theresa May's resignation speech on the steps of Downing Street. To have had the opportunity to serve the country I love. She said that compromise was the only way forward on Brexit. The results of the European elections seems to me to make compromise much less likely as the two main parties move further apart. It feels more to me like this will be a fight to the death on Brexit.

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