British PM May's Conservatives see majority cut in Cameron's constituency

October 21, 2016 2:25 AM EDT

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Number 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister's Questions at parliament in London, Britain October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay


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LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservative Party held the parliamentary constituency vacated by David Cameron but saw its majority cut significantly as thousands of voters flocked to a pro-European Union opposition party.

Just weeks after Britons backed Brexit, former Prime Minister Cameron said he would resign as a lawmaker from the southern English seat of Witney, which bucked the national trend by voting to remain in the European Union.

On Friday, the Conservatives retained the constituency, garnering 17,313 votes, but saw their share of their vote fall from 60 percent to 45 percent compared to the General election result last year.

The second-placed Liberal Democrats, Britain's most consistently pro-European party, won 11,611 votes, significantly increasing their vote share to 30 percent, according to official results. The opposition Labour Party slipped into third place.

In the West Oxfordshire area which contains Witney, 54 percent of voters backed remaining in the European Union, whilst nationally 52 percent of Britons supported leaving the bloc in the June 23 referendum.

The pro-EU Liberal Democrats campaigned heavily in the seat hoping to cause an upset by winning over centrist Conservative voters disillusioned by May's push for a "hard Brexit", which would see Britain outside of the European single market.

Larry Sanders, the brother of U.S Senator Bernie Sanders, stood for the Green Party and came fourth in the poll.

In a separate election, Britain's main opposition Labour Party retained a northern English seat in a vote caused by the killing of lawmaker Jo Cox, just a week before the June 23 referendum on EU membership.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)



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