Sterling stunned by United Kingdom election shock, stocks wait for more results

It would be a personal triumph for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was widely regarded as having run a successful campaign after being written off as unelectable by many observers and some in his own party.

The pound shed as much as three USA cents at one point in hectic trade, or close to 2 percent, before steadying as the results waxed and waned.

And if it takes a week or more to cobble together a viable government, then the talks may have to be delayed from their scheduled start on June 19, throwing the whole Brexit timetable into doubt.

The polls were close to the actual result in 2005 and 2015, but it could be wrong.

"In the event that the Conservatives dropped below 300 seats, a workable majority between the Labour Party, SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Plaid Cymru may be possible", says analyst Deutsche Bank analyst Oliver Harvey.

May called the snap election to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations with the other 27 European Union countries and to cement her grip on the Conservative Party after she took over as prime minister in the wake of last year's Brexit referendum.

The result would plunge domestic politics into turmoil and could delay Brexit talks - inflicting months of further uncertainty on businesses and financial markets.

The exit poll will also provide some comfort to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

We certaintly don't see Theresa May being able to continue in her role should the exit poll be correct.

Opponents dubbed it a "dementia tax".

A BBC exit poll released as polls closed at 10pm suggested the Tories were expected to be the biggest party but would fall 12 short of an overall majority; it could leave the Tories trying to form a minority government or with a small majority at best.

With just a handful of seats left to declare, Thursday polls shows gains for the opposition Labour Party.

But he said officials in Brussels "will have looked at the exit polls and be cheering very loudly because right now, if we believe the exit polls, Brexit is under a bit of threat".

"But equally it's quite hard looking at those numbers to see how Labour could put together a coalition so it's on a real knife edge", he said.

Pundits think that perhaps postal votes, which are not captured by exit polls, are muddying the waters. 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.

Brexit failed to emerge as a major issue in the campaign, as both the Conservatives and Labour said they would respect voters' wishes and go through with the divorce. "I don't recall us ever voting for significant Tory policy in the past and it would be hard to see in the current climate with the austerity cuts, hard Brexit party, that we would want to support them in any way in this future parliament".

"The country needs a period of stability and whatever the results are the Conservative Party will ensure we fulfil our duty in ensuring that stability so that we can all, as one country, go forward together", she said.

"If the United Kingdom was to turn around and say, "we need a bit of leeway" - we don't have a lot of leeway in the big scheme of things".

  • Zachary Reyes