DESPITE winning the most votes Labour has failed in its bid to get Newport-based candidate Jayne Bryant elected after UKIP came a strong second in the Wales-wide European election poll.
The UK Independence Party were within just hundreds of votes of coming first in Newport – and either topped the poll or came second in every local authority count in Wales.
In the end the status quo was maintained at one Welsh MEP to Labour, UKIP, the Tories and Plaid each, who came first, second, third and fourth respectively.
Derek Vaughan, Kay Swinburne and Jill Evans were re-elected for Labour, the Tories and Plaid respectively in the result announced in Fishguard late Sunday night.
Nathan Gill was elected for UKIP.
Labour won four out of five Gwent counties excluding Monmouthshire, where the Conservatives came top. UKIP came second in them all.
The Lib Dems polled dismally across Gwent, often coming behind Plaid and the Greens and, in one case, the BNP.
Labour won 206,332 votes across Wales, compared to 201,983 for UKIP, 127,742 for the Tories and 111,864 for Plaid.
In Newport Labour topped the poll but only by fewer than 300 votes – 10,648 to UKIP’s 10,376.
The Tories came third with 5,804. Plaid and the Greens, who don’t have any councillors on Newport council, beat the Lib Dems to take fourth and fifth place respectively, pushing the Lib Dems into sixth.
Up in Torfaen Labour won again, with 7,183 votes, with UKIP coming second at 6,569. The Tories came third at 2,799.
Caerphilly’s Labour vote came out on top at 14,253, with UKIP getting 11,809 and coming second. Plaid – the second largest group on Caerphilly council - came third at 5,392.
In Blaenau Gwent Labour won with 6,621 of the vote, with UKIP polling 4,300 votes and coming second. Plaid came third at 1,164.
The Lib Dems were beaten in the county by the BNP – 191 votes to 298.
Finally, in Monmouthshire the Tories polled top at 7,969 with UKIP second at 6,757. Labour came third at 4,769.
Jayne Bryant had hoped to be elected as Labour’s second MEP and earlier polling had suggested she was in with a good chance – but on the night only her no.1 counterpart Mr Vaughan, already an MEP, was elected.
Ms Bryant told the Argus: “It’s obviously really disappointing to just miss out. I’m pleased we’ve topped the poll in Wales.
“I always knew it was going to be tight... it was always going to be close. We just had to try our best.
“I didn’t know what to expect. It’s so hard when you’re campaigning throughout Wales to know how it’s going. We contacted double the amount of people in 2009, we did as many leaflets.
“The national media was saturated with UKIP... which has been disappointing, without people challenging their policies.”
Paul Flynn, Newport West MP, said the UKIP performance was an “enormous protest vote” but cast an optimistic note when he said he thought trust and confidence could be restored in politicians.
“Every party is going to have to deal with it. There’s an anti-politics feeling, and it’s up to us to restore trust and confidence in politics,” he said.
“I’m sure it will.”
Nathan Gill, newly elected MEP for UKIP, told the Argus that UKIP will now look at finding three or four target seats in the country to aim for at the next general election.
He said: "We've doubled our vote. We came first and second in every single constituency.
"The people were behind us."
Mr Gill said UKIP is going to have to look at its results "and where we have got a good structure with all of our branches... we will concentrate our effort with three or four targets seats in Wales."
Jill Evans, Plaid's MEP who was tonight re-elected, said it was a tough campaign.
"We are very pleased to have kept the seat, particularly after an opinion poll showing we would lose the seat we did turn that around," she said.
Ms Evans said there had been a "very negative" campaign on the EU: "Although she wasn't a referendum on EU membership a lot of issues were raised affected the way people voted."
She said the vote reflected people's disappointment with politicians.
Tory MEP Kay Swinburne, who has won her seat back, said the Conservatives should "absolutely not" go into a pact with UKIP.
"I think there are issues where people are not happy with the way Europe is going. People want reform and hopefully we will be able to deliver that,” she added.