May Struggles to Hang On as Election Plunges Britain Into Political Chaos

But some analysts think the election result will make it more hard for the Conservative Party to achieve, raising the likelihood of a "soft Brexit", in which Britain remains in the single market and citizens enjoy some freedom of movement.

Opinion polls had suggested she had a commanding lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, who added 29 seats.

British newspapers summed it up in a word: "Mayhem".

And although it has a female leader, it remains an overwhelmingly male, white bastion and is certainly more conservative than the Conservatives.

It will seek to form a minority government with the help of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

"As I reflect on the results I will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward", May said on Friday in a televised statement.

May called for the election last April, saying she hoped to expand her parliamentary majority. The Conservative Party and Labour Party, who both support leaving the single market and scrapping free movement of people, hold 580 of the 650 seats.

The final result was announced nearly 24 hours after polls closed. In Kensington, an overwhelmingly Conservative seat - but also overwhelmingly anti-Brexit - the vote was so close that recounting was suspended at 8 a.m. on Friday so that election officials could go home and rest. And eventually Harold Wilson managed to form a government.

If she is to succeed in delivering the end of Britain's European Union membership which 52 percent of the British public demanded a year ago, she must find a way to recapture the full support of her party because she will need their votes to pass legislation preparing for and ultimately enacting the departure.

"Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom", Mrs May said outside her Downing Street residence.

Cutting a deal with the DUP, which won 10 seats, may not be straightforward. If it seems Britain recently had an election, you're right. With the fractured mandate that she has got now, the task of the negotiators would be far from easy.

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said it is not even clear whether May will now lead those negotiations. A blatant bid to do away with a living and breathing opposition that threatened to scupper her plans every step of the way.

While the former DUP health minister, Jim Wells told a South Down hustings in 2015: "The gay lobby is insatiable, they don't know when enough is enough".

In the Conservative Party, recriminations were immediate and stinging.

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn casting his vote at a polling station at Pakeman Primary School in London, England, June 8, 2017.

But her party is deeply divided over what they want from Brexit and the result means British businesses still have no idea what trading rules they can expect in the coming years. Confident of securing a sweeping victory, May had called the snap election to strengthen her hand in the European Union divorce talks.

Now Mrs May and her Conservatives will have to decipher the message sent by voters, while the world looks on to see where it will all end. May had made it her business during the election campaign to paint a gloomy picture of how Britain would lose out if the mandate given by the electorate is not strong.

"This is a disgusting, desperate attempt to stay in power", read the petition, which outlined some of the DUP's more controversial views including opposition to gay marriage and abortion.

  • Leroy Wright