• David Butler
  • Martin Westlake


In elections, as in life, people naturally seek ‘closure’ — a clear end to an event. But the European election had a protracted finale and the ‘smudge’ continued. The voting which started with the arrival of postal ballots at the end of May ended with the majority of United Kingdom voters going to the polling booths on Thursday 10 June. For European, as for parliamentary elections, voting goes on from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; for local contests the polls normally close at 9 p.m., but on this occasion the hours were standardised to end at 10 p.m. This extension induced a number of local councils, including London, to delay the local elections count until Friday morning. However, the early returns on Thursday night, together with an exit poll in London, made plain the way the wind was blowing. Headlines about Conservative and Labour humiliation and about a UK Independence Party breakthrough appeared in Friday’s papers.


Political Group Local Election Parliamentary Election European Election Electoral Commission 
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Copyright information

© David Butler and Martin Westlake 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Martin Westlake
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.European Economic and Social CommitteeBrusselsBelgium

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