The Liberal Democrats received resounding backing from voters in Gibraltar, securing 76.5% over the votes in the 2019 election to the European Parliament.
The party, whose list of candidates included Gibraltarian Luke Stagnetto, received 7,220 votes out of 9,331 votes cast on a turnout of 39.8%.
The votes helped the Lib Dems secure two MEPs for the south west and Gibraltar region – but it was the Brexit Party that won most of the votes for the region, where it will have three MEPs. The final seat was won by the Greens.
The MEPs for the south west and Gibraltar region are Anne Widdecombe, James Glancey and Cristina Jordan for the Brexit Party; Caroline Voaden and Martin Horwood for the Liberal Democrats; and Molly Scott Cato for the Greens.
Labour MEP and longtime friend of Gibraltar, Claire Moody, lost her seat, as did Tory MEP Ashley Fox.
Both Labour and the Conservatives haemorrhaged votes to the Brexit Party and smaller pro-EU parties, as voters punished to two parties for the stagnation of Brexit.
The win for the Brexit Party in the south west and Gibraltar reflected the trend across much of the UK, but in Gibraltar it was the Lib Dems which dominated the vote.
The pro-EU Lib Dems had fought a Remain-focused campaign, vowing to “stop Brexit”. It was also the only party to include Gibraltar in its manifesto as well as its line-up.
“The people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal Democrats in the 2014 European elections (67%) and we pledge to continue to support their rights in Europe and to self-determination,” the manifesto said.
Speaking after the results were announced by returning officer Paul Martinez in the John Mackintosh Hall, local candidate Mr Stagnetto thanked voters for their support.
“I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “It’s fantastic.”
But while the overwhelming sentiment among voters was clearly pro-EU and pro Remain – reflecting Gibraltar’s 96% backing for Remain in the 2016 referendum – there was another significant trend evident in the result.
The second most voted party was Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which secured 746 votes, or 7.9%.
That reflects not just frustration with the stagnated Brexit process, but also anger at the way the EU has backed Spain during the withdrawal negotiations.
The Green Party secured 4.9% of the vote, with Labour close behind on 4.4% and the Conservatives on 2.7%.
Photos: Johnny Bugeja