UK Election Debacle
CBJ — British Prime Minister Theresa May will form a government supported by a small Northern Irish party after her Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority in an election debacle days before talks on Britain’s EU departure are due to begin. The decision to hold a snap election on hopes of gaining more power in the upcoming Brexit talks backfired so badly that there have already been calls from members of May’s own party to have her resign.
A stony-faced May, speaking on the doorstep of her official Downing Street residence, said the government would provide certainty and lead Britain in talks with the European Union to secure a successful Brexit deal.
May said she could rely in parliament on the support of her “friends” in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party after her governing Conservatives failed to emerge as clear winners. But as critics would point out, calling an election at this point was totally unnecessary and some would say downright foolish.
Confident of securing a sweeping victory, May had called the snap election to strengthen her hand in the European Union divorce talks. But in one of the most sensational nights in British electoral history, a resurgent Labour Party denied her an outright win, throwing the country into political turmoil yet again.
EU leaders expressed fears that May’s shock loss of her majority would delay the Brexit talks, due to begin on June 19, and so raise the risk of negotiations failing.
Her Labour rival Jeremy Corbyn, once written off by his opponents, said May should step down and he wanted to form a minority government. Corbyn won his seat in north London.
But May, facing scorn for running a lacklustre campaign, was determined to hang on. Just after noon, she was driven the short distance from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace to ask Queen Elizabeth for permission to form a government – a formality under the British system.
With 650 of 650 seats declared, the Conservatives had won 319 seats and Labour 261 followed by the pro-independence Scottish National Party on 34.