How drama of election 2017 night unfolded

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

The main opposition Labour party are projected to win 266 seats of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of the UK's Parliament.

According to a BBC exit poll released as polls closed at 10pm, while the Tories would remain the largest party in parliament, May will fall 12 seats short of an overall majority.

The Conservatives were likely to end up with the most seats in Parliament, but could suffer the indignity of being forced to court minority parties to keep May and her party in power.

The error was put down to Conservative voters choosing not to participate.

Tonight's exit poll came as a shock to Theresa May's Conservatives, with the Evening Standard editor George Osborne calling it "catastrophic". Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP, said May would have to consider her position.

Senior Labour figure Clive Lewis said if the exit poll is borne out, it will be a "complete clusterf***" for Mrs May and Brexit negotiations, due to start in 10 days, as the PM will have an unclear mandate in talks.

After the result was declared in her constituency of Maidenhead, May gave a faltering speech.

"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.

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party will win 261 seats, compared with 229 before the election.

There were upsets elsewhere in the UK: In Scotland. the Scottish National Party was on course for significant losses.

The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat Party did not make its hoped-for inroads.

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May had warned repeatedly during the campaign that if she lost only a few seats then Corbyn could take office, presiding over a "coalition of chaos" involving the SNP and Lib Dems. Tim Farron, the current leader, retained his seat with only a narrow majority.

Commentators agreed the results were bad for the prime minister.

May had hoped the election would focus on Brexit, but that never happened, as both the Conservatives and Labour said they would respect voters' wishes and go through with the divorce.

Barely a month ago, the centre-left party seemed doomed to lose the election, plagued by internal divisions over its direction under veteran socialist Corbyn.

Leaders in the Northern Ireland are expecting an alliance between the Democratic Unionist Party and Conservative Party to negotiate Brexit terms with European Parliament.

Markets had priced in a healthy Conservative majority, giving Theresa May free rein to take charge of Brexit negotiations unhindered.

Corbyn, an old school left-winger widely written off at the start of the campaign, has drawn thousands of people to upbeat rallies and energized young voters with his plans to boost spending on health and education after years of Conservative austerity.

May, who went into the election with a reputation for quiet competence, was criticized for a lackluster campaigning style and for a plan to force elderly people to pay more for their care, a proposal her opponents dubbed the "dementia tax".

Terror attacks in London and Manchester made security an unexpectedly dominant factor in the election campaign.

Under her tenure in the role that is responsible for homeland security among other things, police numbers across the United Kingdom were reduced by 20,000.

Two terror attacks later, and the political discourse in Britain has shifted to a debate centered around security, policing and how to put a stop to home-grown terror. Police numbers across the United Kingdom were cut by 20,000 under May's watch as Home Secretary.

Other reports by GizPress

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