Britons cast ballots in election marred by terror attacks

Elias Hubbard
June 9, 2017

The exit poll predicted the Conservatives will get 314 seats and the Labour Party 266, leaving both short of the 326 needed for a majority.

So what exactly is a hung parliament?

But in United Kingdom elections this result does not automatically trigger another election.

If the exit poll is correct and neither party wins an overall majority, Corbyn could attempt to form a government with smaller parties that also strongly oppose most of May's policies on domestic issues such as public spending cuts. The Liberal Democrats, who had formed the previous coalition government with the Conservatives, have ruled out forming a coalition this time round, making other parties such as the SNP and Wales Plaim Cymru, potential partners.

A delay in forming a government could push back the start of Brexit talks, now scheduled for June 19, and reduce the time available for what are expected to be the most complex negotiations in post-World War Two European history.

As party leader, he unenthusiastically campaigned for Britain to remain in the bloc.

If the hung parliament is confirmed, what happens next?

Mr Corbyn's party claimed Tory scalps in Stockton South and Vale of Clwyd and took Rutherglen & Hamilton West from the SNP, one of a series of reversals for the nationalists following their historic tally of 56 out of 59 seats north of the border in 2015.

"We have done no deals and no pacts with anybody, we're there as the Labour Party with our points of view".

If the result is tight, or if the popular vote gives a different victor to the tally of seats, as much will depend on fixing a narrative in the early stages as straightforward math.

The exit poll will also provide some comfort to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In the run-up to the general election May had insisted that there would be no general election until the parliamentary term ended its five-year span in 2020.

According to The Guardian's tally as of 8:45 a.m. local time Friday, 315 seats had been declared for the Conservatives, 261 for Labour, 35 for Scottish National Party, and 12 for the Liberal Democrats, with the count ongoing.

The single largest party, which is expected to be the Conservatives, could decide to govern as a minority administration.

"Britain will now go into its most important challenge in 40 years - extricating itself from the European Union - at a severe disadvantage", NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from London.

The latter result - the Lib Dems nearly doubling its representation - could prove pivotal in a "hung parliament" situation. However, between them they now have just 10 MPs and are predicted to lose some seats, making May's chances of achieving a working majority, even in a coalition, appear slim.

Should she be forced to step down as prime minister after this election, that would make her tenure the shortest of any British premier since the 1920s. "Our Labour MPs would vote for it and we would call on the other parties to vote for it as well".

"There will be a huge post-mortem about having the general election, about the manifesto. about the style of the campaign", former Conservative finance minister George Osborne said on ITV.

If the Conservatives retain power, the Brexit agenda will likely be set by lawmakers who campaigned for the cleanest break with the EU.

A make or break situation for May might be reached over the weekend.

But if May has not secured a deal with another party by Monday morning, there will be pressure on her to call off the talks, particularly if Labour can show it can form a coalition with other parties to form a working majority and send Corbyn into Downing Street as Prime Minister.

Labour would increase their share from 229 to 266 seats, pointing to a hung parliament - yet another upset in a turbulent year since the European Union referendum in June 2016.

The result would be a validation of the approach of Mr. Corbyn, under whose leadership there has been a groundswell of support for Labour, against the belief of many in his party, including within Parliament, where he faced a vote of no confidence in 2016.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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