UK election chaos: May goes to the Queen with numbers

BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May has told the Queen she has the numbers to form government, and will provide Brexit and anti-terror 'certainty'.

Speaking to media outside Number 10, Ms May spoke as certainly as though her Conservative party had won an absolute majority - which it hasn't.

"I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen and I will now form a Government," she said.

"A government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.

"This Government will guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks that begin in just 10 days and deliver on the will of the British people by taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

"It will work to keep our nation safe and secure by delivering the change that I set out following the appalling attacks in Manchester and London."

Britain's general election on 08 June had ended in a hung parliament with the Conservative Party unable to gain a majority.
Britain's general election on 08 June had ended in a hung parliament with the Conservative Party unable to gain a majority. EPA - FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Ms May stated her government was the only viable outcome of the poll, would crack down on Islamic extremism and strengthen police powers, and would introduce policies of fairness and opportunity .

"What the country needs now more than ever is certainty," she said.

"Having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the General Election it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons.

"We will continue to work with our friends and allies, in particular the DUP. Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip enter 10 Downing street in London, after an audience with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip enter 10 Downing street in London, after an audience with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. EPA - ANDY RAIN

"This will allow us to come together as a country and channel our energies towards a successful Brexit deal that works for everyone in this country, securing a new partnership with the EU which guarantees our long-term prosperity.

"That's what people voted for last June, that's what we will deliver. Now let's get to work."

Ms May also confirmed she would keep her senior ministers in the same posts.

Finance minister Philip Hammond, whose future had been subject of speculation before the vote, will stay in place along with Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, Brexit minister David Davis, Defence Minister Michael Fallon and Interior Minister Amber Rudd.

'DIFFICULT FOR MAY TO SURVIVE'
The leader of the Northern Ireland party that has handed Britain's Conservative government power has said it will be 'difficult' for Prime Minister May to keep her job.

The Prime Minister is headed to Buckingham Palace, convinced she has enough support to form government and retain the leadership of her party.

A government spokesperson has told media Ms May, who reportedly has no intention of resigning, will meet the Queen at 9.30pm AEST to claim government.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland has carried her Conservative Party over the line by throwing its 10 votes into the tally - without the need for a signing off on a formal coalition deal first.

But this may not be enough for Ms May herself.

DUP leader Arlene Foster told British media that contacts will be made over the weekend, but "I think it is too soon to talk about what we're going to do." However, she believed it would be "difficult for (May) to survive."

If so, Ms May will not be the only leader to fall as a result of the poll. Paul Nuttall has lready quit as the far-right UKIP after his party was decimated.

Arlene Foster, left, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, during a meeting in Belfast.
Arlene Foster, left, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, during a meeting in Belfast. Charles McQuillan - PA

MAYDAY! UK PLUNGED INTO CHAOS
British politics was plunged into chaos after Prime Minister May's early election gamble spectacularly backfired, costing her majority government and lumbering the country with a hung parliament days before Brexit negotiations start.

As counting continued in the general election, shell-shocked Conservatives had fallen well short of a majority, securing only 317 seats.

Far from the Tory landslide strategists were anticipating, Mrs May presided over a big loss, while the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, defied internal and external critics to finish with 261.

At 6.45pm AEST last night, counting was continuing in two seats.

EU DECLARES RESULT 'ANOTHER OWN GOAL'
The European Parliament's top Brexit official called the British election result "yet another own goal" for the Conservative Party and said it will make "already complex negotiations even more complicated."

In a statement to The Associated Press, the legislature's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt quipped: "I thought surrealism was a Belgian invention."

EU President Donald Tusk urged Britain not to delay Brexit talks after elections produced a hung parliament, warning that time was running out to reach a divorce deal.

"We don't know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end. Do your best to avoid a 'no deal' as result of 'no negotiations'," Tusk wrote on Twitter.

The pound plunged on the election result against the US dollar and the euro, but not to the extent it did when the country voted last July to leave the European Union.

WILL JUNE BE THE END OF MAY?
Before moving to meet Queen Elizabeth II, Mrs May was bunkered down inside Downing Street with her closest aides as she resisted pressure to resign. She met with several Cabinet colleagues who told her she had an obligation to stay on.

As neither party reached the 326 seats required to form a majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, the country now has a hung Parliament with Mrs May - or potentially a new prime minister - having to rely on other parties to pass its legislative agenda.

The country is now rudderless, just days before formal negotiations begin on June 19 to finalise Britain's divorce from the European Union.

"This is a very bad moment for the Conservative Party, and we need to take stock," Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry said. "And our leader needs to take stock as well."

But the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, which finished with 10 seats, has thrown the Prime Minister a lifeline by pledging its support.

Britain will have a hung parliament

AFTER a long night of counting, the verdict was official - it was impossible for the Conservatives to achieve a majority, resulting in Britain having a hung parliament.

"It is definitely a hung parliament," the BBC declared just before 6am local time.

It was an outcome exit polls had shockingly forecast several hours earlier.

The Sun front page, Friday, June 8, 2017.
The Sun front page, Friday, June 8, 2017. Supplied

 

The result is Prime Minister Theresa May's worst nightmare. She has been met with calls for her to stand down amid the Tories' election disaster, with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn saying "it's enough for her to go".

With 646 seats out of 650 counted, the Conservatives had 315 seats and the opposition Labour Party 261.

Mrs May was holed up with her aides, her leadership under enormous pressure as the post-mortem began on how the Tories got it so wrong.

At the declaration of her constituency, Mrs May was asked by a reporter "are you going to resign?" before it was announced she had retained her seat of Maidenhead.

But Mrs May insisted "the full picture had not emerged".

"At this time, more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability," she said.

"And if, as the indications have shown, and this is correct, that the Conservative party has won the most seats, and probably the most votes, then it will be incumbent on us to ensure that we have that period of stability and that is exactly what we will do, so that we can all go forward as one country together.

"My resolve is what it has always been."
 

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May listens as the declaration at her constituency is made for in the general election in Maidenhead, England, Friday, June 9, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble in calling an early election appeared Friday to have backfired spectacularly, after an exit poll suggested her Conservative Party could lose its majority in Parliament.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May listens as the declaration at her constituency is made for in the general election in Maidenhead, England, Friday, June 9, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble in calling an early election appeared Friday to have backfired spectacularly, after an exit poll suggested her Conservative Party could lose its majority in Parliament. AP Photo - Alastair Grant


After being re-elected in Islington, Mr Corbyn said: "The Prime Minister called the election because she wanted a mandate.

"Well the mandate she's got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go actually.

"What's happened is, people have said they've had quite enough of austerity politics, they've had quite enough of cuts in public expenditure, underfunding our health service, underfunding our schools, our education service, and not giving our young people the chance they deserve in our society."

Mrs May called the snap election on April 18, ostensibly to clear obstructions ahead of the start of formal Brexit negotiations. At the time the Tories were leading Labour by 20 points.

During the campaign, Ms May warned that if she lost only a few seats it could open the way for Mr Corbyn to take office in a coalition with the Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats.

 

Britain voted Thursday in an election that started out as an attempt by Prime Minister Theresa May to increase her party's majority in Parliament ahead of Brexit negotiations but was upended by terror attacks in Manchester and London during the campaign's closing days.
Britain voted Thursday in an election that started out as an attempt by Prime Minister Theresa May to increase her party's majority in Parliament ahead of Brexit negotiations but was upended by terror attacks in Manchester and London during the campaign's closing days. AP Photo - Frank Augstein

 

'COMPLETELY CATASTROPHIC' FOR CONSERVATIVES

Sky News reported Conservative sources as casting doubt on the results of the exit poll.

But one of Britain's leading political figures said the polls, if accurate, would make it very difficult for a new government to be formed.

Former Treasury chief George Osborne, who now edits the Evening Standard newspaper, told ITV: "It is early days, it's a poll, if the poll is anything like accurate this is completely catastrophic for the Conservatives and for Theresa May," he said.

"It's difficult to see if these numbers were right how they would put together the coalition to remain in office, but equally it's quite difficult to see how Labour would put together a coalition.

"It's on a real knife-edge."


Osborne, a prominent Conservative stalwart, did not seek re-election to Parliament, choosing instead to focus on journalism.

Former Labour home and foreign secretary Jack Straw said if the results were correct it was to the "great personal credit" of Mr Corbyn.

Mr Straw praised the "great vigor and consistency" of the Labour campaign.

He slammed Ms May as a "weak and wobbly leader" and claimed the election had been a "disaster" for her.

The Labour Party welcomed the results of the exit poll.

A statement released by the Party and attributed to a spokesperson read: "If this poll turns out to be anywhere near accurate, it would be an extraordinary result.

"Labour would have come from a long way back to dash the hopes of a Tory landslide.

"There's never been such a turnaround in a course of a campaign. It looks like the Tories have been punished for taking the British people for granted.

 

UKIP VOTE COLLAPSES

Ukip has suffered a collapse in its vote, with many people who backed the Eurosceptic party in 2015 switching to the Tories or Labour.

Early results saw the party's vote down by around 13 per cent on 2015, when under Nigel Farage it secured a 12.6 per cent share of the national vote.

Pressure will increase on Ukip leader Paul Nuttall if the party's vote share does not improve as further results come in, particularly if he fails in his second attempt this year to secure a Commons seat.

Mr Nuttall, who is standing in Boston and Skegness, failed to enter Parliament in the Stoke Central by-election in February.

Former party leader Mr Farage insisted that Ukip could benefit if - as an exit poll predicted - the country faces a hung parliament.

He told LBC Radio: "If the result of this tonight is that we finish up without a government with a clear majority pushing for Brexit, then a huge gap opens in the political landscape for Ukip once again."

But he said officials in Brussels "will have looked at the exit polls and be cheering very loudly because right now, if we believe the exit polls, Brexit is under a bit of threat".

 

Britain's political leaders asked voters Wednesday to choose: Who is best to keep the U.K. safe and lead it out of the European Union?
Britain's political leaders asked voters Wednesday to choose: Who is best to keep the U.K. safe and lead it out of the European Union? Stefan Rousseau - PA via AP

 

Voters turned away

HUNDREDS of voters in the UK have reportedly been turned away from polling stations in marginal seats due to administrative errors.

The Independent reports that Paul Farrelly, the Labour candidate for Newcastle-under-Lyme, said he planned to refer the council to the Electoral Commission over the "shambles", which he said had prevented at least 50 people from voting.

"Each passing hour is not only spoiling election day, but just adding to the issues for complaint, which I will be referring tomorrow to the Electoral Commission and other bodies for an independent, outside investigation," he said.

The Independent has heard from student voters who were turned away from a polling station near Keele University despite having registered to vote online.

 

TRAFALGAR SQUARE EVACUATED
Trafalgar Square in London was evacuated by police over reports of a suspicious item.

There was a heavy police presence at the famous tourism mecca with the area cordoned off from the public for about an hour.

The nearby Charing Cross station was also reportedly evacuated.

Transport For London has tweeted: "Charing Cross Road as closed northbound between Trafalgar Square and Cranbourn St due to a police incident."

It has since reopened after police checked things out.
 

It comes after the barbaric terror attack in London on Saturday night, when three men mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and went on a stabbing frenzy at Borough Market.

They killed eight people, including two Australians.

Results from the UK election are expected later today.

Polling booths are open with voters turning out to cast their votes.

Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn have been spotted at polling booths in Maidenhead and Holloway.

The pair traded last-minute blows over Brexit, but the real heat remained in the terrorism debate, with Labour and Liberal Democrats both refusing to accept Mrs May's assertion that human rights laws should be torn up if they stood in the way of deporting or detaining suspected terrorists.

Labour suffered an 11th-hour blow when Mr Corbyn asked his accident-prone shadow home secretary Diane Abbott to temporarily stand aside after she fumbled a series of media interviews including one on terrorism policy.

Mr Corbyn said Ms Abbott had fallen ill and would be replaced by Lyn Brown - an MP who had previously quit his frontbench in a rebellion against his leadership - for the final hours of the campaign.

While Ms Abbott tweeted that she was still standing for a seat and would "rejoin the fray soon'' the move allowed the Government to paint Labour as indecisive and disorganised in the fight against terrorism.

The leaders spent the last day of the eight-week campaign crisscrossing the country in a final bid to motivate voters and boost electoral turnout.

 

LABOUR'S BIG PUSH
The UK does not have compulsory voting, and Labour has been working particularly hard to entice young people out to vote, handing out flyers on trains across London yesterday urging people to cast a vote.

However, even if they do come out in large numbers, there are concerns most young voters would emerge in the urban seats Labour already holds around London.

Mr Corbyn, who surprised many in his own party with the strength of his personal campaign,

visited eight seats, starting the day in Glasgow before heading to Wales and northwest England

He highlighted Mrs May's role as former a former home secretary in cutting 20,000 police from the beat.

Mrs May's day got off to a bad start when she was heckled by butcher at a dawn visit to the Smithfield Meat Market in London, before she travelled to Norwich in east of England, urging Conservative voters to turn out and warning "if we lose just six seats the Government loses its majority.''

The Tories currently hold 330 seats and Labour holds 229, with 10 parties holding the remaining seats in the 650-seat House of Commons. The Government has a slim working majority of 17.

Mrs May squandered an early 20-point lead in the opinion polls with some bungled policies including on plans, quickly amended, to slug elderly people more for care.

News Corp Australia


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