British Prime Minister Theresa May’s gamble in calling an early election appeared Friday to have backfired spectacularly, with her Conservative Party losing its majority in Parliament. The opposition Labour Party, led by its left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, that had been written off by many pollsters surged in the final weeks of a campaign that was marred by deadly attacks in Manchester and London.
With only 7 of the 650 seats still to declare, the Conservatives have won 313 seats while the Labour Party has secured win 260 seats. The result largely bore out the exit poll, which predicted the Conservatives would get 314 of the 650 House of Commons seats and the Labour Party was projected to win 266.
The result looks set to trigger a period of political uncertainty and could throw Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union — due to start June 19 — into disarray. The pound lost more than 2 cents against the dollar within seconds of an exit poll projecting an uncertain result.
The counting for the votes are currently underway across the United Kingdom.
Live updates of UK elections 2017:
03:12 pm: Theresa May has struck a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party that will allow her to form a government, reports The Guardian
03:10 pm: Theresa May to visit Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm (local time) to seek permission from Queen to form government
02:44 pm: Results for 649 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-318, Labour Party-261, Scottish National Party (SNP)-35, Liberal Democrat-12, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-4, Green Party-1
01:08 pm: Senior Conservatives have confirmed that Theresa May has no intention of resigning this morning, reports The Guardian
12:03 pm:Turnout in the UK elections 2017 was around 69% – the highest since 1997.
12:02 pm: Results for 645 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-314, Labour Party-261, Scottish National Party (SNP)-35, Liberal Democrat-12, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-4, Green Party-1.
11:16 am: Results for 643 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-313, Labour Party-260, Scottish National Party (SNP)-35, Liberal Democrat-12, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-4, Green Party-1;
10:43 am: Results for 636 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-310, Labour Party-258, Scottish National Party (SNP)-34, Liberal Democrat-12, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-3, Green Party-1.
10:41 am: The Conservatives officially lose majority but will be the largest party in the hung Parliament.
10:14 am: Results for 625 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-302, Labour Party-256, Scottish National Party (SNP)-34, Liberal Democrat-12, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-3
09:26 am: Results for 594 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-285, Labour Party-245, Scottish National Party (SNP)-33, Liberal Democrat-10, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-3
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09:10 am: Results for 564 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-264, Labour Party-236, Scottish National Party (SNP)-33, Liberal Democrat-10, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-3
08:51 am: Result for 503 of 650 seats declared: Conservative Party-221, Labour Party-220, Scottish National Party (SNP)-31, Liberal Democrat-10, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Sinn Fein-7, Plaid Cymru-3
08:49 am: Country needs a period of stability, says Theresa May
08:40 am: Theresa May says she set out her priorities: getting the Brexit deal right, doing what is best for the country.
08:39 am: Theresa May re-elected from Maidenhead
08:20 am: “The prime minister called the election because she wanted a mandate. Well the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go actually,” said Corbyn.
08:18 am: After winning his seat, Corbyn said Theresa May should step down
08:18 am: Jeremy Corbyn re-elected from Islington North
08:11 am: Result for 417 of 650 seats declared: Labour-188, Conservative-176, Scottish National Party (SNP)-26, Democratic Unionist Party-10, Liberal Democrat-9, Plaid Cymru-3, Sinn Fein-4
07:32 am: Result for 259 of 650 seats declared: Labour-125, Conservative-103, Scottish National Party-16, Democratic Unionist Party-7, Plaid Cymru-3, Sinn Fein-2, Liberal Democrat-2
07:26 am: Whatever the final result, our positive campaign has changed politics for the better: Jeremy Corbyn
07:22 am: Result for 218 of 650 seats declared: Labour-107, Conservative-84, Scottish National Party-14, Democratic Unionist Party-6, Plaid Cymru-3, Sinn Fein-2, Liberal Democrat-1
6:53 am: Result for 118 of 650 seats declared: Labour-59, Conservative-42, Scottish National Party-10, Democratic Unionist Party-3, Plaid Cymru-2, Sinn Fein-1
06:51 am: “I would have no choice but to come back” if Corbyn gets a coalition, says UKIP’s Nigel Farage: BBC
06:50 am: Labour’s Tom Watson says Theresa May “will profoundly regret political opportunism” of calling: BBC
06:39 am: Result for 43 of 650 seats declared: Labour-26, Conservative-13, Democratic Unionist Party-2, Scottish National Party-1
06:32 am: A party needs to win 326 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons to form a majority government.
06:32 am: The Conservatives held 330 seats in the last Parliament, compared with 229 for Labour, 54 for the Scottish National Party and nine for the Lib Dems.
Talks of minority or coalition government, calls for May’s resignation
As the results piled up, some form of minority or coalition government appeared increasingly likely. That raised the odds that an election called by May to provide “strong and stable government” would bring instability and the chance of yet another early election.
The results confounded those who said the opposition Labour Party’s left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was electorally toxic. Written off by many pollsters, Labour surged in the final weeks of the campaign. It drew strong support from young people, who appeared to have turned out to vote in bigger-than-expected numbers.
By Friday morning, pressure was mounting on May, who called the snap election in the hope of increasing her majority and strengthening Britain’s hand in exit talks with the European Union. As she was resoundingly re-elected to her Maidenhead seat in southern England, May looked tense and did not spell out what she planned to do.
Corbyn said the result means “politics has changed” and voters have rejected Conservative austerity. Speaking after being re-elected to his London seat, Corbyn said May should “go … and make way for a government that is truly representative of all the people of this country.”
The result was bad news for the Scottish National Party, which by early Friday had lost about 20 of its 54 seats. Among the casualties was Alex Salmond, a former first minister of Scotland and one of the party’s highest-profile lawmakers.
The losses complicate the SNP’s plans to push for a new referendum on Scottish independence as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
“Indy Ref 2 is dead in Scotland,” said Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, using a short form for a second independence referendum.
Brexit failed to emerge major issue, security dominated the campaign
May had hoped the election would focus on Brexit, but that never happened, as both the Conservatives and Labour said they would respect voters’ wishes and go through with the divorce.
May, who went into the election with a reputation for quiet competence, was criticized for a lackluster campaigning style and for a plan to force elderly people to pay more for their care, a proposal her opponents dubbed the “dementia tax.” As the polls suggested a tightening race, pollsters spoke less often of a landslide and raised the possibility that May’s majority would be eroded.
Then, attacks that killed 30 people in Manchester and London twice brought the campaign to a halt, sent a wave of anxiety through Britain and forced May to defend the government’s record on fighting terrorism. Corbyn accused the Conservatives of undermining Britain’s security by cutting the number of police on the streets.
Eight people were killed near London Bridge on Saturday when three men drove a van into pedestrians and then stabbed revelers in an area filled with bars and restaurants. Two weeks earlier, a suicide bomber killed 22 people as they were leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Rachel Sheard, who cast her vote near the site of the London Bridge attack, said the election certainly wasn’t about Brexit.