Failed gambit: United Kingdom polls put paid to May's hard Brexit

For the Conservatives, election results have been shocking since they lost 12 seats of sitting MPs forcing them to go for a coalition government.

The result could be bad news for the Scottish National Party, which was predicted to lose 20 of its 54 seats.

With all seats now declared, the Conservatives have 318 seats and the DUP have 10, collectively taking them over the majority threshold of 326.

The development is an embarrassing turn for the British Prime Minister, who called the vote three years earlier than required, in a bid to give her a strong position in Brexit negotiations.

Ms May is expected to form a minority government with the help of the Democratic Unionist Party (of Northern Ireland), which is likely to offer informal support.

As the dust settles, one issue will dominate investors' concerns above all: whether Britain is more or less likely to retain privileged access to the EU's single market, the destination for most of the country's exports. May called the snap vote in a bid to strengthen her mandate ahead of exit talks with the European Union.

She had hoped for a more decisive majority than the 331 seats won by former prime minister David Cameron in the 2015 general election but instead she ended by sacrificing the small lead she did have in Parliament.

The pound fell sharply amid fears the Conservative leader will be unable to form a government and could even be forced out of office after a troubled campaign overshadowed by two terror attacks. "This is a major disaster for her personal authority over the country and the Conservative Party, particularly because she made this election all about her "strong and stable" leadership", Jane Merrick wrote for CNN. After polls in Holland and France saw the electorate reject far-right populist parties that were critical of European Union, the British people too seem to have voted for a more temperate approach to issues such as migration and trade. Meanwhile, the Labour Party surged, winning 29 seats in areas where the party's lukewarm support for the Brexit played well.

The result is being billed as one of the biggest political upsets in the country's history, with the Labour Party of far-left Jeremy Corbyn defying expectations and projected to win 261 seats in Parliament.

Former Treasury chief George Osborne - who was sacked by May previous year - called her a "dead woman walking".

Corbyn's best chance of becoming PM is by claiming victory in another General Election.

Despite campaigning against Brexit, Labour has accepted the result but said it would prioritise maintaining close economic ties with the EU. Kallum Pickering, senior United Kingdom economist at Berenberg said a hung parliament could force a cross-party compromise, leading to a softer exit that could turn out to be positive in the long run. There's a possibility of voting it down it and we're going to push that all the way.

  • Leroy Wright