General Election 2017: the most shocking election in recent history
Election results 2017 LIVE: May FINALLY focuses on Brexit as she vows to stay 5 more years
BRITAIN will have a minority government after the Conservatives failed to gain the majority needed, following a night of Labour wins and SNP losses as a defiant Theresa May refuses to resign and gets the backing of the DUP vowing “let’s get to work”.
- Theresa May’s snap election backfires as hung parliament declared
- Conservatives to go into a minority government with the backing of the DUP
- 649 seats out of 650 have been counted
- Conservatives have 318 seats, Labour 261, Lib Dems 12, SNP 35, DUP 10, other 13
- The Sterling plunged seconds after the exit poll predicting a hung parliement but recovered slightly
- Jeremy Corbyn has called for Theresa May’s resignation
- The SNP suffered a huge blow, losing more than a third of its seats
- Indications say highest turn out since 1997
- The Tories now have more seats in Scotland than since 1983
- Ukip leader Paul Nuttall resigns
- Nicola Sturgeon to consider position as leader of SNP after disaster election
Theresa May put Brexit first as she struck a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to form a minority government.
A defiant Mrs May ignored calls for her to resign and formed an alliance with the DUP in Northern Ireland.
Mrs May said that despite having lost their majority in the Commons, only the Conservatives had the “legitimacy” to form a Government.
Speaking on the steps of Number 10 she insisted her government “can provide certainty for Brexit” and pledged to take Britain out of the EU.
In light of recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, the Prime Minister vowed to “crack down on the ideology of extremists” as she promised “put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do”.
Mrs May’s hopes of securing a bigger Commons majority were quashed by a resurgent Labour Party while huge losses for the SNP in Scotland all but ended Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes of a second independence referendum.
In an astonishing turn of events that left Britain braced for a hung parliament, with the Conservatives short of an overall majority after losing 12 seats, Mrs May’s future as Prime Minister was thrown into doubt, as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for the PM to step down.
Instead Mrs May sought to form a minority government with the support of the DUP in a new alliance.
The announcement came after a shocking night in British politics which saw Labour retain most of the seats the Tories were hoping to snatch, while making significant gains in Scotland.
The SNP lost more than 20 seats in Scotland in the wake of an independence referendum backlash with First Minister Ms Sturgeon saying she will take some time to review the election fuelling speculation she will step down.
Among the big names to lose their seats were former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, Angus Robertson and Alex Salmond.
Mr Clegg, who was ousted from his Sheffield Hallam constituency by Labour’s Jared O’Mara, was praised by Lib Dem leader Tim Farron who desribed him as a “giant among men” as the Lib Dems increased their seats by four.
Ukip failed to win a single Commons seat, forcing leader Paul Nuttall to resign amid hints by Nigel Farage that the MEP is prepared to re-enter British politics.
7pm update: Nigel Farage is expected to decide within the next seven days if he will lead Ukip for the fourth time following a collapse in his party’s support at the polls.
The former leader said he was going “to have a think about it” after his successor Paul Nuttall resigned as Ukip leader earlier today.
Mr Farage said he had been “taken a bit by surprise” by Mr Nuttall’s decision to quit, saying: “I thought he performed pretty well in difficult circumstances.”
5.35pm update: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says he is “delighted to be reappointed”, adding that there is “lots of great work to do” for the “greatest country on earth”.
5.05pm update: Theresa May’s top five Cabinet ministers remain in their posts.
Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Brexit Secretary David Davis all stay.
Downing Street confirms no further Cabinet appointments will be made today.
4.50pm update: Thursday’s General Election has seen 10 more female MPs elected – taking female representation in the Commons to a new high.
There are now 207 women in the Commons – up from 197.
Overall, 32 percent of MPs are women.
4.35pm update: Prime Minister Theresa May admits she wanted a different result, adding: “I am sorry for all those colleagues who lost their seats.”
She confirmed that she intends to “form a government in the national interest” adding that she will now “reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward.”
4.20pm update: Sources say the Cabinet reshuffle has been moved to tomorrow.
4.10pm update: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said: “This was another momentous election. There is a need for reflection. History shows that British governments betray unionists.”
He’s been speaking at new Foyle MP Elisha McCallion’s victory rally at Free Derry Corner.
Michelle O’Neill, leader of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland has described this as a “watershed election” for her party, which won seven seats – three more than in 2015.
She pointed out that the unionist representation polled less than 50% of the vote for the first time.
4pm update: Sinn Fein are about to hold an unplanned press conference.
3.45pm update: Reports have emerged that Conservative MPs who lost their seats last night have been contacted by former party leader David Cameron – but not by Mrs May yet.
3.35pm update: UKIP has appointed Steve Crowther as its interim leader, following Paul Nuttall’s departure.
Party Chairman Paul Oakden has expressed his sadness at Mr Nuttall’s decision to resign, but added that Mr Crowther “will know how best to navigate through these tumultuous weeks.”
Following his appointment, Mr Crowther said: “This was always going to be a difficult election. We just didn’t know that Mrs May was going to make such an almighty hash of it.
“We expected that the government would cement its mandate to take forward the Brexit negotiations with more confidence and power. Instead, she has done the precise opposite.”
3pm update: Amid reports of a reshuffle it is believed Amber Rudd will stay on as Home Secretary.
Mrs Rudd took on a prominent role in the campaign standing in for the Prime Minister during the TV debate.
She won her Hastings constituency by 346 votes after two recounts.
Reacting to the DUP’s new kingmaker role in Westminster she said: “I make no apology that the DUP will always strive for the best deal for Northern Ireland and its people but equally we want the best for all of the UK.”
Expanding on Brexit and the terror threat mentioned in Theresa May’s speech this afternoon, Ms Foster said the DUP will enter into discussions with the Tories “at this time of great challenge to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation”.
2.42pm update: Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth has joined the calls for Theresa May to resign.
He said: “Theresa May has been proven to be weak, she has been exposed as cack-handed, and she cannot continue as our PM.”
2.30pm update: DUP leader and former Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster has been pictured arriving at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast.
Closely-guarded talks between the DUP and the Tories are underway with DUP members quick to set the ground rules.
Gregory Campbell, DUP MP in East Londonderry, said: “Where we can get a good deal and they agree with us, we will vote with them. If they attempt to put something in place that is a bad deal for everybody in Northern Ireland we will oppose it. That remains the case.
”Should it be down to one vote, that remains the case. We are not Northern Ireland Conservatives.”
The DUP are fervent supporters of Brexit and hold a hard-line on some social issues, including refusing to budge on liberalising abortion or allowing gay marriage.
The party wants no extension to Northern Ireland’s limitations on terminations, which restrict the procedure to when a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.
As it stands, fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest are not grounds for an abortion.
Westminster’s Defence Committee has already urged a statute of limitations for soldiers on tours since the late 1960s after a number were charged with offences related to the 30-year conflict.
The DUP wants a new public holiday in Northern Ireland to mark its centenary in 2021 and a cut in or abolition of the TV licence fee, as well as reform of the BBC.
It wants to maintain the common travel area between Ireland and the UK and a new start on the issue of contentious parades.
The party said it wants to see continued rises in the national living wage and personal tax allowances and protection of pensions.
The party also floated the idea of abolishing air passenger duty, it wants to make tourism a £1 billion industry in Northern Ireland, increase health and education spending and create an Ulster-Scots Academy.
2.20pm update: Former Italian PM Matteo Renzi said there “are no conditions for a conservative majority.”
Mr Renzi, who is hoping to return to power in Italy, said Labour’s performance will open a debate on the European left wing.
Weighing in on the collapse of Ukip- the party lost its only Westminster seat last night with leader Paul Nuttall resigning as Nigel Farage fuelling speculation that he may return to the fray.
Mr Renzi said: “As far as “Farage’s Ukip, it basically collapsed to 3% and there are predictions that place it even further down. Populism sometimes lasts a couple of elections: it has happened in some countries, in others we will see.”
2.15pm update: First candidate for UKIP leader emerges as Paul Nuttall resigns.
MEP Bill Etheridge is the first to throw his hat in the ring.
But he warned he would only consider the leadership if Nigel Farae indicated he was not willing to run.
2.10pm update: Ukip confirm former chairman Steve Crowther has been elected “overwhelmingly” by the national executive committee to lead the party on an interim basis while the election of a permanent leader takes place.
The SNP which nearly swept the board in Scotland two years ago, lost heavyweights to a Conservative Party reinvigorated by Ms Davidson.
Those losses included former leader Alex Salmond, who led Scotland in the unsuccessful bid for independence in 2014, and the SNP’s top lawmaker in the British Parliament, Angus Robertson.
While the loss of seats pushes the issue of a second referendum onto a back burner for now, opinion polls show about 45 percent of Scottish voters support independence.
Ms Davidson added politicians need to listen to the message from the voters who want parties to work together.
In a powerful speech Ms Davidson said the party seeks to deliver an “open Brexit” as she said she supports Theresa May as PM.
1.45pm update: Theresa May’s statement ruffled feathers with former Labour cabinet member Ed Balls saying: “Theresa May’s tone deaf, stubborn and bunkered statement in Downing Street will prove the final nail in the coffin of her leadership.”
1.30pm update: Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, congratulated Theresa May on her reappointment.
But Mr Tusk seized the opportunity to remind her there is “no time to lose” on BRexit negotiations.
In a letter to Mrs May, he said: |Our shared responsibility and urgent task now is to conduct the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union in the best possible spirit, securing the least disruptive outcome for our citizens, businesses and countries after March 2019. The timeframe set by Article 50 of the Treaty leaves us with no time to lose.
“I am fully committed to maintaining regular and close contact at our level to facilitate the work of our negotiators.
“I also look forward to welcoming you to the European Council later this month where we will discuss counter-terrorism, security and defence, trade and the Paris Agreement amongst other issues.”
He tweeted: “Congratulations @theresa_may. Our responsibility now is to secure least disruptive #Brexit. No time to lose.”
1.23pm update: The arrangement between the Democratic Unionists and Conservatives will not extend beyond a confidence and supply deal, a senior DUP member has said.
Prior to the 2015 election, the DUP ruled out a potential formal coalition with the Conservatives, instead indicating its support would be offered in a confidence and supply arrangement from the opposition benches.
Mr Robinson said: “We have essentially got the result we were campaigning for two years ago.
“It didn’t materialise then but we campaigned on the basis of a hung parliament two years ago.
“I think that puts us in a fantastic position to deliver for Northern Ireland.”
1.18pm update: Speaking on the steps of Downing Street, Mrs May said that despite having lost their majority in the Commons, only the Conservatives had the “legitimacy” to form a Government.
“What the country needs more than ever is certainty and 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.
“As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist party in particular.
“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.
“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.”
1.06pm update: Strong statement from Mrs May on the steps of Downing Street.
She said: “I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen and I will now form a Government.
“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.
“Cracking down on the ideology of Islamist extremism and all those who support it and giving the police and the authorities the powers they need to keep our country safe.
“The government I lead will put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do so that we will fulfil the promise of Brexit together and over the next five years build a country in which no one and no community is left behind, a country in which prosperity and opportunity are shared across this United Kingdom.”
12.53pm update: The Prime Minister announces she will form a government “having secured largest number of votes and largest number of seats” she said only the Tories and DUP have the ability to deliver a government.
She says the DUP and Tories “will work together for the good of the country”.
The defiant Prime Minister finished her statement saying: “Let’s get to work.”
12.36pm update: Kensington confirms the count will take place at 6pm after a night of recounts.
Results for the London seat, which was won by the Conservatives in 2015, remained “very close” after the second count.
Returning officer Tony Redpath said: “The provisional result of the election was known at approximately 2am. That result was very close and a recount was therefore requested.
“The result on that recount also remained very close.
“A request for a third count was therefore made. At this stage staff had been up all night and were becoming visibly tired.
“In order to have confidence in its accuracy, the recount has been suspended to allow staff to rest and recuperate.”
12.23pm update: Theresa May and her husband Philip have left Number 10 to go to Buckingham Palace.
The Prime Minister will seek permission from the Queen to form a minority government.
Mrs May, who has changed into a blue suit, did not speak to reporters as she left Downing Street in a Government car.
The First Minister called for order in the Brexit negotiations and once again called for the UK to remain in the single market.
When asked if she will abandon plans for a second Scottish independence referendum, the First Minister said she will take time to reflect on the election result fuelling speculation she could step down.
Ms Sturgeon said SNP plans for a second independence referendum were “undoubtedly” a factor in the election result which saw the party lose 21 seats.
12pm update: Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said the Lib Dems “have made progress” after gaining four seats, taking them up to 12 MPs at Westminster.
The party’s biggest shock of the night came from former leader Nick Clegg losing his Sheffield Hallam seat.
Mr Farron paid tribute to Mr Clegg saying “he is a giant among men”.
He added Mr Clegg showed “steel and determination to do the right thing” and praised his record in Parliament.
Taking a swipe at Theresa May Mr Farron said she had made the country week at a crucial time. He said: “If she has an ounce of self-respect she will resign.”
Continuing his offensive, Mr Farron said if the Prime Minister asks the Lib Dems for support “no deal is better than a bad deal. No deals, no coalitions, no pacts.”
11.57am update: Pedro Sanchez, the Secretary-General elect of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, congratulated Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn on the party’s surprising performance.
He said: “Great campaign and excellent result, the British people deserve a government that worries about the majority.”
11.55am update: European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici insisted Brexit negotiations will take place.
He said: “Brexit will be done. The election result will probably change a number of things. There will undoubtedly be an impact on the spirit of the negotiations, on the political point of view, but the negotiations will take place.”
He added talks will be held “on a firm, but friendly context”.
11.50am update: Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey held onto her Vauxhall seat. She has been MP for the area since 1989.
Ms Hoey fought a brutal campaign against the Lib Dems. She said: “I am very pleased that the very nasty personal attack by the Lib Dems on me was utterly rejected by the people of Vauxhall. The Lib Dems threw everything at the seat,outspending us by at least 5 to 1 and bringing in every leading Remain campaigner.
“But my result shows that whilst many people in Vauxhall still regret the result of the referendum they do not want another referendum and they want to unite to get the best possible deal for the Uk in negotiations.
“It is so encouraging to see so many young people becoming engaged and many people voting for the first time. Democracy has been strengthened and politics has had a major boost.”
11.45am update: A telling reminder that it may be easier to delay the start of Brexit negotiations than the deadline.
Asked if Article 50 negotiations should be extended, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said: Before negotiations can be extended, they first need to start.”
11.07am update: More on that statement from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman.
Ulrike Demmer told a government news conference on Friday: “The German government of course followed the election very carefully, as always with such close and important partners, but out of politeness and respect I won’t comment on the result while the process of forming a government is going on.
She added the EU is prepared for Brexit negotiations and there were guidelines and a timeframe for them, adding: “Nothing has changed about that … In any case we hope the negotiations can begin quickly because the two-year period is already running and could only be extended unanimously.”
11am update: Diane Abbott, who was shadow home secretary until Tuesday after stepping down ue to ill health”, held Hackney with an increased majority of more than 35,000.
As the election result unfolded overnight Ms Abbott did not hesitate to mock the Prime Minister.
She tweeted: “Remember this tweet from Theresa May?”
In a tweet that has come back to haunt her, the Prime Minister tweeted 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”.
10.56am update: Nigel Farage responds to Ukip leader Paul Nuttall’s resignation.
He tweeted: “An excellent speech by @paulnuttallukip. Very sorry he is standing down.”
He said the EU is losing time on Brexit negotiations.
But a German government spokeswoman said it will not comment on the outcome of the General Election out of respect and politeness.
10.43am update: Reshuffle alert. Theresa May is set to appoint ministers to Cabinet later today after visiting Buckingham Palace.
10.40am update: European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker warned Brexit has not “become easier” in the wake of the election.
He said: “We are ready to start negotiations. I hope that the British will be able to form as soon as possible, a stable government. I don’t think that things now have become easier but we are ready.”
10.37am update: Ukip leader Paul Nuttall resigns.
Mr Nuttall failed in his bid to win a Commons seat, finishing a distant third in Brexit heartland Boston and Skegness behind the Tories.
The shock resignation opens the way for Nigel Farage to return to the fold.
Mr Farage said he would have “no choice but to return to frontline politics” if the Brexit he desires is put at risk by a hung parliament.
Announcing his resignation Mr Nuttall said he had left the foundations for the new leader to build on and ensured that the party was “still on the pitch”.
He insisted Ukip was “more relevant than ever” and would play the role in the coming months of the “guard dogs of Brexit”.
Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson were among the high-profile casualties after the SNP lost a crushing 21 seats.
Ms Sturgeon: “Congratulations to all newly elected MPs. Proud that @theSNP won the election in Scotland with more MPs than all other parties combined.
“However, we had bitterly disappointing losses and my heartfelt thanks go to all of our brilliant candidates who were not re-elected.
“We will now reflect carefully on the results and move forward in the best interests of all of Scotland.
“UK wide, we will seek to work with others to halt hard Brexit and bring an end to austerity, where business as usual cannot be an option.
“In the meantime, my thanks to all @theSNP activists for their efforts in securing our second best Westminster result ever.”
The possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum was noticeably absent from her statement as critics said her bid for independence is over.
10.25am update: The DUP says there is no need for a formal coalition deal in order to back Mrs May.
Instead there is talk of “confidence and supply” arrangement to ensure the PM has support to stay in Government.
10.21am update: DUP says Theresa May has their backing. Speculation has been rife that the DUP and Tories will form a coalition.
10.11am update: A defiant Theresa May will go to Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm, a Downing Street spokesman confirmed. She is to go to Buckingham Palace later today on the understanding she is in a positon to form a government depending on the 10 votes of the DUP.
10.08am update: Former education secretary Nicky Morgan, who was sacked by Mrs May when she came to power, said the PM should “carry on” and lead the UK into Brexit talks.
“She is entitled as Prime Minister to see if she is able to form a government,” Ms Morgan told the BBC.
Asked if she had confidence in Mrs May as Tory leader, she added: “I think Theresa May is absolutely a competent, more than capable Prime Minister and leader of the party.
“But clearly there has been a misjudgment in the way we started off thinking there was going to be a significant win for the Conservative Party, and that hasn’t happened and we need to understand why.”
9.58am update: Theresa May is expected to make a statement shortly.
9.54am update: Conservatives hold Cornwall North. Just Kensington to declare.