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Nigel Farage's Brexit Party stormed to victory in a European election, riding a wave of anger at the failure of Prime Minister Theresa May to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, partial results showed.
A European Parliament election that the United Kingdom only took part in because May delayed Brexit showed a country still relatively evenly divided over the EU divorce nearly three years since a 2016 referendum in which it voted 52% to 48% to leave.
The United Kingdom was supposed to have left on March 29 but it remains a member of the EU and its politicians are still arguing over how, when or even whether the country will leave the club it joined in 1973.
May on Friday announced she was stepping down, saying it was a matter of deep regret that she could not deliver Brexit.
Across England and Wales, voters turned away in anger from May's Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, which had sought a softer version of Brexit. The Conservative Party was on course for one of its worst results in a nationwide election ever.
The Brexit Party came first while explicitly pro-EU parties - the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Change UK - were, combined, a few percentage points behind.
"It looks like it's going to be a big win for the Brexit Party," Farage told reporters in Southampton in southern England where he is running.
Such a severe election drubbing for the two major parties will stiffen a belief among leading Conservatives vying to replace May that they must go for a more decisive split from the EU. But it will also increase pressure on Labour's Corbyn to come out explicitly for a second referendum on EU membership.
BBC projections put the Conservatives on around 10 to 12%, down from 23% in 2014. Labour came third in Wales. The Liberal Democrats even won in Corbyn's home constituency, Islington.
The Brexit Party won around 10 percentage points more than the UK Independence Party did in 2014, partial results showed.
In total, Britain will elect 73 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) to the 751-seat parliament. They will not contribute directly to British policymaking on domestic issues like Brexit, but will have a say in EU-wide policy as long as they remain in the assembly.
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