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Anti-Establishment Surge in UK Election Driven by Pro-Palestine, Anti-Immigration Sentiment

© AP Photo / Jose Luis MaganaLeader of the Brexit Party and former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nigel Farage waves a British flag as he speaks during Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2020, at the National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Md., Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Leader of the Brexit Party and former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nigel Farage waves a British flag as he speaks during Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2020, at the National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Md., Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.07.2024
Nigel Farage challenged the UK’s Conservative Party from the right while the Green Party and various independent candidates challenged Labour from the left.
Independent and minor party candidates performed strongly in UK parliamentary elections Thursday amid a surge of anti-establishment political sentiment.
The trend was perhaps best exemplified by the strong performance of Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party on a pledge to reduce net migration to the United Kingdom.
The populist party, originally formed to advocate a no-deal Brexit from the European Union, garnered almost 15% of the popular vote throughout the country and five seats in the House of Commons. In several constituencies Reform UK relegated the Conservative Party to third place.
Some observers have criticized the party as an electoral spoiler, splitting the right-of-center vote and enabling the Labour Party to more easily take power. Indeed, the combined vote share of Reform UK and the Tories surpassed that of the Labour Party, which became Westminster’s largest party in Thursday’s election.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak talks to media during his visit to Washington D.C., Wednesday, June 7, 2023. The war in Ukraine was top Sunak’s agenda Wednesday as he started a two-day trip to Washington carrying the message that post-Brexit Britain remains an essential American ally in a world of emboldened authoritarian states. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.07.2024
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Former US President Donald Trump congratulated Reform UK leader Nigel Farage Thursday on his entry into parliament from the Clacton electoral constituency.
“Congratulations to Nigel Farage on his big WIN of a Parliament Seat Amid Reform UK Election Success,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. “Nigel is a man who truly loves his Country!” Trump and Farage have remained strong political allies since Farage’s successful advocacy for the UK to vote to leave the European Union in 2016.
Meanwhile independent candidates enjoyed unprecedented success, picking up six seats. Firebrand leftist MP George Galloway was narrowly defeated in Rochdale, but five more candidates entered parliament on a pro-Palestine platform, unseating members of the Labour Party.
“Looking at the results across the country, including in Ilford North, it is very clear that Gaza has been a real issue for the Labour Party at this election,” said Labour MP Wes Streeting, who eked out a victory over a pro-Palestine independent challenger by just 500 votes.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has been broadly criticized for his public stance on Israel’s deadly military campaign in the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 38,000. Starmer claimed Israel “has the right” to withhold food, water, and electricity from the Palestinian enclave while also insisting the country has a “right to defend itself” against Palestinian resistance. The intentional starvation of a civilian population is considered a war crime under international law, while United Nations resolutions have affirmed Palestinians’ right to violently resist their occupation by the ethno-supremacist Israeli state.
Palestinian boy Haitham Matar, who suffers from malnutrition, lies on a hospital bed in Gaza City on May 28, 2009. Israel's recent war on Gaza brought the enclave to the brink of a catastrophe, Amnesty International said on May 28, also lambasting the two main Palestinian factions for human rights violations. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.04.2024
World Central Kitchen to Resume Work in Gaza as Hunger, Malnutrition Still Stalk Enclave
Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn won reelection in Greater London’s Islington North constituency, easily beating back a challenge from a Labour Party candidate after Starmer expelled Corbyn from the party for his pro-Palestine advocacy.
“The Labour Party has won a very large majority but on a considerably lower vote than was achieved in previous elections,” noted Corbyn, responding to criticism of Thursday’s election as the UK’s most distorted in history. “It does call into question the first past the post system and that no doubt is going to be a debate.”
“If the Labour Party is going to be the inclusive organization it ought to be then it’s going to have to loosen up a bit, and open up a bit; otherwise this idea of imposed candidates and removal of democracy within the party is not good for the future and not very good for democracy.”
The UK’s Green Party expanded its representation in the House of Commons from one to five seats and the Liberal Democrats expanded their representation to 71 seats, their best performance since 1923. The liberal party has struggled in the polls since forming a coalition government with Conservative Party leader David Cameron in 2010.
Irish nationalists enjoyed significant success, with Sinn Féin becoming the largest party in Northern Ireland. The party’s MPs refuse to take their seats in Westminster in rejection of continued British colonization of Ireland’s northern counties.
Scottish nationalists experienced a difficult night, however, with the pro-independence Scottish Nationalist Party losing 38 seats after winning 48 in 2019.
A Sinn Fein election poster hangs from a lamp post in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2023
Sinn Fein Clinches Majority in Northern Ireland's Local Government
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