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Who won the general election?

June 10, 2017 7:46 AM
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Theresa May promises "stability" after general election leads to hung Parliament but Jeremy Corbyn says she must resign

Theresa May's gamble in calling a general election ended in disaster after her Conservatives failed to win a majority in the 2017 general election .

As the votes continued to be counted, it appeared the UK was heading for a hung Parliament.

The Conservatives are set to be the largest party with around 317 seats, a loss of 13 seats and short of the 326 needed for a majority in the House of Commons.

A Government without a majority cannot be sure of winning crucial votes in the House of Commons on their programme for government or Budget proposals.

Conservative leader Theresa May said she would carry on as Prime Minister, and would do a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party - a Northern Ireland Party with 10 MPs - to get their support in Commons votes.

But it raises the prospect of Mrs May attempting to lead a weak and unstable government as she embarks on Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The result plunged British politics into chaos. Theresa May could be forced to call another election.

And she may come under pressure to resign and make way for a new Conservative leader.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May should "go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country".

But Mrs May said: "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."

Meanwhile, Labour politicians said their party could attempt to form a government instead, making Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.

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There was shock as an exit poll was published by Sky News, ITV and the BBC at 10pm on the day of the election, as soon as polling stations closed.

It suggested that Theresa May's party would have 314 seats, below the 326 they need for a majority.

And a result along these lines is a disaster for Conservative leader and Prime Minister Theresa May, who chose to call an early general election in an attempt to increase her majority in the House of Commons - but has lost seats instead.

Speculation that the Conservatives would take seats from Labour in Birmingham proved false as Labour held on to seats in the city.

Labour held on to Birmingham Erdington, Birmingham Northfield and Birmingham Edgbaston - all seats which the Conservatives had hoped they might win.

New MP Preet Gill is the first Sikh female MP, after a crushing win in Edgbaston.

She polled more than 6,000 votes more than Tory rival Caroline Squire.

One bit of good news for the Tories was gaining Walsall North. Labour candidate David Winnick lost his seat after being the MP since 1979.

If the Conservatives are the largest party in a hung Parliament, you’d expect them to lead the government. In the hung Parliament following the 2010 general election, they did this by forming a Coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has said he will not be part of any Coalition.

And a Lib Dem spokesman confirmed last night: “No coalitions. No deals.”

You can understand why. Voters punished the Lib Dems for the last coalition, and their vote collapsed.

What’s more, the Lib Dems are against Brexit - and Mrs May, of course, has presented herself as Brexit’s champion.

Mrs May is instead going to work with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

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Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said early this morning that Labour would refuse to do a deal with any parties, but would put forward a programme for government and just expect other parties to back it.

If parties such as the Lib Dems, Greens or SNP voted Labour’s plans down then they would effectively be allowing the Conservatives into government, she said.

On that basis, it’s possible that Labour could actually form a government with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.

Mrs May said on Twitter on May 20: “If I lose just six seats I will lose this election and Jeremy Corbyn will be sitting down to negotiate with Europe.”

The exit poll published by broadcasters actually suggested the Conservatives had lost 16 seats, down from the 330 they won in 2015 to the 314 they are predicted to win this time.

Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson reminded Mrs May of her promise, after he was re-elected this morning.

Speaking after the result was announced in his West Bromwich West constituency, he said: “We’re going to hold her to that.”

Her own party may be furious at her, both for calling and unnecessary election and for running a lousy campaign.

Will they forgive her? Some Conservatives may demand that Mrs May resign and make way for a new leader.

George Osborne, the former Tory Chancellor, said the mood in the party "will quickly turn to anger".

It depends on whether Theresa May's Conservative Party is able to carry out its manifesto plans.

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But her manifesto included plans to ensure Channel 4 moves out of London, giving a huge boost to efforts to bring the broadcaster to Birmingham.

Previously, the Government had said it was consulting on whether or not to force Channel 4 to move its headquarters, but the Tory election manifesto said the move would go ahead.

It also said the Government would move civil servants out of London, creating jobs in other regions.

The HS2 high speed rail line will go ahead. And the Conservative manifesto included a commitment to build a new “Northern Powerhouse rail” line connected to HS2, expected to link Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield and Newcastle.

The manifesto promised £8billion extra for the NHS and £4 billion for schools.

But it also promised to take away some perks away from middle class people.

Primary school pupils from wealthier families will lose the right to free school meals, and the winter fuel allowance of up to £300 will be taken away from all but the poorest pensioners.

There will also be an increase in the contribution many elderly people are expected to make to the cost of social care in their home, the so-called dementia tax, although Mrs May was forced to promise during the election campaign that this will be watered down.

Assuming Theresa May is still Prime Minister, she is likely to reshuffle her Cabinet, changing the people in some of the top jobs in her Government.

But she will also need to work out how she can govern the country without a majority.

Her own party may be furious at her, both for calling and unnecessary election and for running a lousy campaign.

Some Conservatives may demand that Mrs May resign and make way for a new leader.

The fact that Jeremy Corbyn managed to make gains, and deny the Conservatives a majority, if that is indeed what’s happened, means his position as Labour leader is safe. His enemies within the Labour Party won’t try to remove him now.

Whether he actually wants to carry on as Labour leader until the next election, probably in 2021, remains to be seen.

What nobody can guess at this stage is whether Theresa May’s Conservatives will manage to form a stable government - or whether there really is a chance of Mr Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.

The campaign began with Mrs May’s surprise announcement on April 17 that she had decided to hold a snap election.

Polling firms and politicians from all parties expected her to win an overwhelming majority.

But the Conservative campaign faltered in mid-May, when the Tory manifesto included plans to make the elderly pay more for social care at home.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn showed he could still attract crowds at rallies across the country.

As opinion polls showed the Tory lead falling, and Mr Corbyn’s supporters dared to dream that he could become Prime Minister.

Two terror attacks, in Manchester and London, shifted the focus of the election away from Brexit and on to issues of security and policing.

While Mr Corbyn was vulnerable to claims he had been soft on terror in the past, Mrs May was criticised for allowing police numbers to fall while Prime Minister.

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