UK Election 2017: Britain's PM Theresa May's Gamble Ends in 'Disaster'

Evrard Martin
Juin 10, 2017

Read: U.K. election: So what is a hung parliament?

British Prime Minister Theresa May faced pressure to resign on Friday after one of the most dramatic reversals in recent British political history, as a shock election result saw her lose her parliamentary majority in an election she had been predicated to easily win.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed an overwhelming support from the grime music scene, who dubbed him as "Grime Minister".

After meeting Queen Elizabeth II Friday, May said she meant to form a minority government to break the deadlock of a so-called "hung parliament" and give the country "certainty".

With neither group winning an outright majority of 326 seats, it is up to the major parties to try to cobble together a deal with minor parties to be able to form a government.

Seeking to capitalise on sky-high popularity ratings, she called the election a few weeks later, urging voters to give her a stronger mandate.

"At this time, more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability", May said in her electoral district of Maidenhead, west of London, her voice at times shaking.

With the bulk of seats declared in the General Election, no party has gained a clear majority.

In a night that redrew the political landscape once again, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which won 12.5 percent of the vote two years ago and was a driving force behind the Brexit vote, was all but wiped out, hovering around two percent.

The British voter's main concern now, after the Brexit question is off the table, is how soon is actual Brexit coming, on what conditions the separation from the European Union would occur, or, in other words, would it be a "hard Brexit" or a "soft Brexit". "So the prospect of a minority government yielding a softer Brexit is likely to appeal to science leaders who have been pushing to retain a range of European Union benefits", says Sarah Main, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) in London.

Sterling tumbled as much as 2.5 percent on the result while the FTSE share index opened higher.

"The result may provide hope that a hard Brexit can't be pursued with such vigour as before", says Anne Glover, a biologist at the University of Aberdeen, UK, who was formerly the European Commission's chief scientific adviser. The Telegraph said senior Conservatives including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, interior minister Amber Rudd and Brexit minister David Davis were taking soundings over whether to replace her."As I reflect on the results I will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward", May said on Friday in a televised statement. "That's enough to go". The Scottish National Party is in third with 35, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 12.

But the Democratic Unionist Party has signalled it is ready to discuss working with the Tories.

Under these circumstances, the only option left for such a government would be to call a vote - whether a general election or a second referendum - focused on the Brexit agreement that the Conservatives negotiate.

It's all a distraction at a pressured time for the Prime Minister.

"We will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular", she said.

Jeremy Corbyn on stage at the Sobell Leisure Centre on June 9.

May, who promised "strong and stable" leadership, had a disastrous election. She reversed a policy on care for the elderly - dubbed the "dementia tax" by Labour - when it proved unpopular and refused to appear in TV debates with Corbyn. Opponents denounced her as "weak and wobbly".

May also tried to exploit terror attacks on Manchester and London to expose Corbyn's perceived weakness on security and his past associations with supporters of the Irish Republican Army. "It's a terrible night".

Pro-EU Member of Parliament Anna Soubry brought May's continued leadership into question in her acceptance speech. The clock is ticking ahead of the UK's expected departure in 2019 and Brussels has indicated there will be no concessions made with regards to the negotiation timeline despite the instability in Britain. The EU's budget commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, told German radio said the outcome raised doubts as to whether the talks could begin on time.

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