Insights from the UK and beyond
Reuters UK Chief Correspondent Keith Weir assesses the European election results and the challenges facing Prime Minister Gordon Brown after support for the Labour Party plunged to its lowest level in a century in European elections.
The collapse in the Labour vote in the European Parliament election, which followed a dismal showing in local government elections last week, helped the far-right British National Party win its first two seats in the European Parliament.
Labour won 15.7 percent of the European vote, behind the anti-EU UK Independence Party on 16.5 percent and the Conservatives on 27.7. Labour’s vote was about seven points down from the 2004 European election.
Gordon Brown’s drive to recapture the political agenda with a programme of new laws to create “an opportunity-rich Britain” was badly shaken yesterday by King’s warning.
“The nice decade is behind us,” Mervyn King declared in funereal tones, warning that the economy was “travelling along a bumpy road” as he predicted rising prices would put a squeeze on take-home pay for millions of workers.