May's UK election gamble backfires as Tories lose majority

ABC analyst Antony Green, who is in the United Kingdom to cover the election, tweeted just after midday that 356 seats had been counted with the conservatives attracting 43.1 per cent of the vote share and Labor 39.7 per cent. In terms of seats and popular vote, the Conservative lead over Labour this time was cut in half.

Will she stay or will she go?

The initial exit poll predicted the Conservatives, traditionally favored by markets as pro-business and fiscally prudent, would win 314 seats in the 650-member parliament and the opposition Labour Party 266, meaning no clear victor and a "hung parliament". The conservative party had to console itself with 26 out of 73 constituencies, the Liberal Democrats managed to win two seats only.

The projected loss for the Conservatives is 17 seats, with a gain of 34 seats for Labour.

Guenther Oettinger, the German member of the European Commission, said it was unclear whether negotiations could be launched on Monday, June 19, as planned, while a weak British government raised the risk that talks could fail to reach the kind of deal that can limit disruption when Britain leaves in March 2019.

"The mandate she's got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence", he said. But the fact that Corbyn is expected to have robbed May of her overall majority is a significant endorsement from voters for his brand of left-wing, populist politics.

Paula Surridge, senior lecturer at Bristol University, said it may take time to get to the negotiations in the first place. And now, with a majority government losing its clout over the Brexit, Britain's future is something not many will bet on at this moment.

"Theresa on ropes as her big gamble backfires", proclaims the Daily Mail, as it predicts "Brexit chaos" in the wake of the result. If that happens May - who called the election in a bid to increase her majority - will come under intense pressure to resign.

The Labour result is much better than anyone expected, even though it did not win.

And Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron pledged during the election not to go into coalition with either the Tories or Labour.

'It's early days but there is a glimmer of hope'.

"If the poll is anything like accurate, this is completely catastrophic for the Conservatives and for Theresa May", former Conservative Treasury chief George Osborne said on ITV.

"It's hard to see, if these numbers were right, how they would put together the coalition to remain in office".

Labour said it would not try to reverse the decision to leave the EU, but it does want to retain "the benefits of the single market and customs union".

Britain's home secretary has narrowly avoided defeat in the general election, holding on to her seat in Parliament by 346 votes after a recount.

May surprised the country in April by calling the snap election, seeking to shore up her 17-seat majority ahead of two years of gruelling talks with the European Union over its departure from the bloc. May was criticized for lackluster campaigning and deadly attacks that turned the election into a debate about national security.

That said, security was far from the only issue.

  • Leroy Wright