What the UK election earthquake means for the world

British Prime Minister Theresa May's wager on gaining majority backfired when her Conservatives party emerged the largest but lost majority in a snap election on June 8, 2017. If she is to succeed in delivering the wishes of 52% of the public and take Britain out of the European Union, she must find a way to secure the full support of her party to pass legislation preparing for and enacting the departure.

"The big picture is that political uncertainty could take weeks or months to be resolved and it is likely to weigh on both financial markets (in particular the pound) and the economy", said Paul Hollingsworth, economist at Capital Economics in London.

European Council President Donald Tusk warned there was "no time to lose" in starting the negotiations, with the two-year countdown to Britain s exit from the European bloc already well underway.

Labour had 262, up from 229, and the Scottish National Party 35, a loss of about 20 seats that complicates the party's plans to push for independence.

A major campaign issue centered on Britain's plan to leave the European Union, also called Brexit. "I'm ready for another general election", Corbyn said.

Even with backing from the so-called progressive alliance of SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green Party MPs, Labour would still fall short of an overall majority.

British media attacked May over the election result, questioning whether she will be able to remain in power after an outcome that leaves her reliant on uniting rival factions within her party.

Britain's best-selling Sun newspaper said senior members of her party had vowed to get rid of May, but would wait at least six months because they were anxious that a leadership contest now could propel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into power. A stronger majority would have given May more ability to resist "hardline pro-Brexit factions in her party" and would have let her offer better terms to the EU.

However, the Conservative Party were only 287 votes from forming a majority government and could have done so by winning four seats.

'I can still be prime minister. Farron said May "should be ashamed" and should resign "if she has an ounce of self respect...she called this election expecting a coronation, and took each and every one of us for granted in the most cynical way possible...she has put the future of the country at risk with arrogance and vanity".

But her campaign unravelled after a policy U-turn on care for the elderly, while Corbyn's old-school socialist platform and more impassioned campaigning style won wide support.

That the result of the British election has come as a shock to Theresa May is stating the obvious, but what perhaps may not be as obvious is the underlying message it has given to the Tories and its leadership. "It is also important for the prospect of successful Brexit negotiations that we have certainty in the political system", she added in a statement.

Despite campaigning against Brexit, Labour has accepted the result but said it would prioritise maintaining close economic ties with the EU.

  • Leroy Wright