Belfast Telegraph

Most of UK declared before our tally began

By Adrian Rutherford

The rest of the UK's Euro MPs were all but confirmed before counting even got under way in Northern Ireland.

Indeed, 10 of the 12 UK regions had declared their results within five hours of polls closing across Europe at 10pm on Sunday.

The 11th region, Scotland, was largely completed by 1.30am, however, it was another 12 hours before its results were finalised because one area, the Western Isles, does not count votes on a Sunday.

In any event, the final Scottish outcome was declared around 1pm on Monday – well before Northern Ireland's first result was even announced at 6.30pm.

Counting of votes in England, Scotland and Wales started around 5pm on Sunday, but the first results could not be announced until the polls in the rest of Europe closed at 10pm.

The first results came around 17 minutes after 10, with the North East region in England first to declare.

It returned two Labour MEPs and Ukip gained a seat. The Conservatives and Lib Dems both lost their seats.

The East of England, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, South West and Wales regions all managed to declare before midnight.

Because Northern Ireland does not count votes on a Sunday, it was 9am on Monday morning before totting up finally began here.

By that stage the political landscape of Europe was already clear.

Indeed, as polls closed on Sunday evening, TV networks were already calling the big shock of the night – the surge of Marine Le Pen's Front National party in France and Ukip's breakthrough in the UK.

Gains by far right eurosceptic groups in Greece, Holland and Germany were also being called early.

By 1am on Monday, the populist Danish People's Party was revealed to have topped the national poll, with around 27% of the vote, doubling its number of MEPs from two to four, and final results from Cyprus and Slovenia were also known.

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