Tories and Labour brace themselves for major Brexit backlash
PUBLISHED: 22:25 26 May 2019 | UPDATED: 22:34 26 May 2019
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The Conservatives are expecting a "wipeout" and Labour a "good kicking" as the EU election results come in, say MPs.
Opinion polls have suggested that the Brexit Party will lead the polls, with the Liberal Democrats also expected to pick up votes.
Prominent Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan said he feared the party was facing "total wipeout" and would be left without any representation at all.
The Brexiteer, who has been a member for South East England since 1999, said he suspected the party would be left with "zero MEPs" following the poll.
Mr McDonnell said Labout was in for a "good kicking" but said it has been right to "tread a really difficult road" of trying to bring Leave and Remain supporters back together.
Mr McDonnell told Sky News: "I think we most probably will get a good kicking in the election results tonight.
"We'll see. We are braced for that."
He added: "But, you know, we had to do the responsible thing.
"It was a hard road to follow. But someone had to be there and say 'Can we bring the country back together again?'
"And it would have been easy to go to one side, go to the Remain side and ignored all those people who voted Leave - that's not the nature of our party.
"We are the party that is trying to bring people back together again.
"That's been difficult electorally for us in these elections, of course it has.
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"But now we have got to move on."
Labour leader Tom Watson, an outspoken Remainer, wrote in the Observer that the party must "find some backbone" and that the party should stop "hedging its bets" by fully committing to a second referendum on Brexit to have any chance of winning the next general election.
Watson added that the party's decision to back a People's Vote only after all other options had been exhausted had been made by a small number of people, and should instead be made by party members.
The deputy leader also vowed to support calls for Labour's Brexit policy to be changed before the autumn party conference.
"I fear that unless our policy on Brexit changes we will not have the opportunity to be the radical reforming government that so many millions of people in our country need," he said.
"The campaign to change that begins now."