The Brexit Party are the big Welsh winners in the European parliamentary elections.
The Eurosceptic party won two of the four Welsh seats after claiming victory in the national poll with a 32.5% share of the vote.
Plaid Cymru were runners-up with 19.6%, ahead of Labour (15.3%), but both parties retained their MEPs. It’s the first time Plaid have beaten Labour in an election across Wales – and the second such defeat for Labour in a century.
The Liberal Democrats finished in fourth place, ahead of the Conservatives, who have lost their sole Welsh seat in Brussels.
Former UKIP Wales leader, Nathan Gill, who lives on Anglesey, returns to the European Parliament as a Brexit MEP – he’ll be joined by James Wells after the Brexit Party topped the polls in 19 of the 22 local council areas.
Earlier this month, the party formed a four-strong group of AMs in the Welsh Assembly. It was officially recognised in the Senedd last week despite calls from rival parties to change Assembly rules in a bid to stop the group from forming.
Following the declaration in Haverfordwest on Sunday night, Mr Gill said the result was a ”very strong message from Wales – we want our Brexit and we want it now”.
Jill Evans retained her seat for Plaid Cymru for a fifth term – she was first elected to the European Parliament in June 1999.
In the North West, Plaid won the Gwynedd poll with a 10,000-strong majority – but on Anglesey, they defeated the Brexit Party by just 353 votes.
Plaid leader Adam Price said the result showed ”the tectonic plates of Welsh politics are shifting”.
He added: ”For generations, the Westminster establishment has taken Wales for granted. And for the first time in the history of Plaid Cymru, we have now beaten Labour in a national election. Be under no illusion that something very exciting is happening in Wales.”
While Welsh Labour held onto its seat – with Jackie Jones replacing Derek Vaughan as MEP – the party’s share of the vote tumbled by 12.8% in the first key electoral test under First Minister, Mark Drakeford.
Before the final result was announced, his predecessor, Carwyn Jones, tweeted pro-Remain parties had failed to ”put forward a united slate, just like the Brexit Party”.
He said: ”Remain parties will comfortably out-poll the Brexit Party in Wales tonight, but the Brexit Party will come first in the vote tallies.”
Among the other parties, Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds said her party’s comeback was in ”full effect” – their fourth-place finish was their best ever European result.
She said: ”We achieved this result because of our long standing, unambiguous and passionate campaign to stop Brexit. Poll after poll has repeatedly shown that the Welsh people want to be given the final say and the opportunity to choose an exit from Brexit.”
The Welsh Conservatives fell from third place in the 2014 elections to fifth this time around – losing the seat previously held by outgoing MEP Kay Swinburne.
The Tories’ group leader in the Assembly, Paul Davies, said his party ”must now reflect long and hard” on the results, which he described as ”extremely disappointing for our hard-working candidates.”
The Green Party finished ahead of both UKIP and Change UK.
2019 EUROPEAN PARLIMENTARY ELECTIONS
Wales result in detail
Brexit Party: 271,404 – 32.5% (+32.5)
Plaid Cymru: 163,928 – 19.6% (+4.3)
Labour: 127,833 – 15.3% (-12.8)
Liberal Democrats: 113,885 – 13.6% (+9.7%)
Conservatives: 54,587 – 6.5% (-10.9%)
Green Party: 52,660 – 6.3% (+1.8%)
UKIP: 27,566 – 3.3% (-24.3%)
Change UK: 24,332 – 2.9% (+2.9%)
Plaid Cymru: 7,144 – 34.7% (-0.4%)
Brexit Party: 6,791 – 33% (+33%)
Labour: 1,890 – 9.2% (-7%)
Liberal Democrats: 1,603 – 7.8% (+6.2%)
Conservatives: 1,157 – 5.6% (-8.8%)
Green Party: 941 – 4.6% (+1.9%)
UKIP: 668 – 3.2% (-24.4%)
Change UK: 382 – 1.9% (+1.9%)
Plaid Cymru: 18,009 – 50.8% (+7.3%)
Brexit Party: 7,886 – 22.3% (+22.3%)
Labour: 2,761 – 7.8% (-7.2%)
Liberal Democrats: 2,224 – 6.3% (+4%)
Green Party: 1,826 – 5.2% (+0.3%)
Conservatives: 1,335 – 3.8% (-8.4%)
UKIP: 886 – 2.4% (-17.3%)
Change UK: 513 – 1.4% (+1.4%)