Early Election Results Show Britain is Heading Towards Hung Parliament

Published June 9th, 2017 - 06:00 GMT
Prime Minister Theresa May billed the election as a clear choice on who would lead Britain as it negotiated its way out of the EU. (AFP)
Prime Minister Theresa May billed the election as a clear choice on who would lead Britain as it negotiated its way out of the EU. (AFP)

Early results from Britain’s snap general election suggest the country is heading for a hung parliament after the ruling Conservatives were projected to lose their majority in Westminster.

With results from 56 constituencies already in early Friday, the Conservatives had won 33 seats but the main opposition Labour Party managed to secure 55, so far supporting exit polls which suggested no single party will be able to form a government.

Initial exit polls suggested the Conservatives would remain the biggest party with 314 seats but this is 12 less than the 326 seats technically needed to form a government.

Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn, looks to increase its number of lawmakers in the House of Commons to 266 according to the same poll, up from 229 in the previous parliament.

The Liberal Democrats -- former coalition partners of the Conservatives in 2010 -- will have 14 seats, the joint BBC, ITV, Sky News poll suggested.

In Scotland, the dominant Scottish National Party (SNP) could return as few as 34 lawmakers to Westminster, a major drop in support from 2015. The SNP has won seven seats so far, according to early results.

The populist anti-EU U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) has not won a single seat yet after a big drop in their vote.

Meanwhile, the British currency fell on Friday morning after being traded at 1.27 against the U.S. dollar.

Prime Minister Theresa May billed the election as a clear choice on who would lead Britain as it negotiated its way out of the EU.

She sought to increase her Conservative Party’s 17-seat majority to strengthen the government’s mandate following a divisive Brexit referendum last year.

However, two terrorist attacks in Manchester and London that left 30 people dead in the weeks leading up to the vote shifted the emphasis to security, with police cuts during May’s six years as Home Secretary seeming to erode her lead in the polls.

Negotiations on the U.K.’s departure from the EU begin on June 19 and May has promised to be tough with EU partners during talks. “No deal is better than a bad deal” was her mantra during the election campaign.

Labour's Tom Watson, a senior figure in the opposition party, speaking after he kept his seat in West Bromwich, said May's authority had been damaged.

His comments were echoed by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage who told the BBC May had been "fatally damaged" and would face removal by her party.

Aside from the Conservatives and Labour, most voters were able to choose from parties such as the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and UKIP, as well as a host of independents and smaller parties.

In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, voters had a choice of parties unique to those countries, such as the SNP in Scotland and the nationalist Plaid Cymru in Wales.


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