Theresa May’s future as Prime Minister has been called into question after her decision to call a snap election backfired spectacularly.
Last night saw the Conservative Party fail to secure a majority, with Britain ending up with a hung parliament.
The Prime Minister will meet with the Queen at 12.30 today to seek permission to form a government, propped up by an unofficial coalition with the DUP.
Mrs May had pledged to offer “stability” if the Tories ended up as the largest party with the most votes, as expected.
But Conservative former minister Anna Soubry said she should “consider her position” and take personal responsibility for a “dreadful” campaign and a “deeply flawed” manifesto after choosing to go to the polls three years early in the hope of extending her majority.
GENERAL ELECTION RESULT 17: MORE POLITICAL ANALYSIS FROM YAHOO UK
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the Prime Minister to resign, saying she should “go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country”.
And former chancellor George Osborne, sacked from the Cabinet by Mrs May and now editor of the Evening Standard, told ITV: “Clearly if she’s got a worse result than two years ago and is almost unable to form a government then she I doubt will survive in the long term as Conservative party leader.”
However, Brexit Secretary David Davis said he would “fight tooth and nail” to keep Mrs May in post, and dismissed suggestions he might be a contender to replace her.
Earlier, the pound plummeted more than 1.5% against the US dollar and 1% against the euro as the shock exit poll figures set the scene for a night of political turmoil at Westminster, disruption to upcoming Brexit negotiations and the possibility of a second election later in the year.
LDem: 14 pic.twitter.com/BGoBwrh9yN
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) June 8, 2017
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The PM has said herself before that if she lost six seats, she would lose the election.
Accepting victory in Islington North, Mr Corbyn said voters had opted for hope and “turned their backs on the politics of austerity”.
In an attack on Mrs May he said: “The Prime Minister called the election because she wanted a mandate.
“Well the mandate she has got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence.
“I would have thought that’s enough to go, actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all the people of this country.”
Speaking as she was re-elected MP for Maidenhead, Mrs May said: “At this time, more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability.
“If, as the indications have shown and if this is correct, 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.”
Asked if Mrs May could remain as Tory leader, Ms Soubry told the BBC: “That is a matter for her. It is bad. She is in a very difficult place.
“She’s a remarkable and very talented woman and she doesn’t shy away from difficult decisions, but she now has to obviously consider her position.”
Bridget Phillipson, re-elected Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, said it was still too early to be drawn on exit polls but added: “Theresa May must have fancied her chances and wouldn’t have called a snap election if she didn’t think she was in with a chance of increasing her majority.
“Maybe history tells us that prime ministers should be a bit more careful in taking those kinds of decisions because there is precedent where you can end up with egg on your face.”
Good news – Jeremy Corbyn has gained ground on the Tories, according to shock exit pollsAnd former Labour MP and Strictly Come Dancing star Ed Balls warned a hung parliament could signal a second election.
He told ITV: “If this is correct we’ll have another general election soon.”
Others took the opportunity for a joke at Mrs May’s expense, with Former England striker and Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker calling the PM’s decision to call a snap election as “own goal of the season”.
And Spectator writer Christopher Snowdon, referring to an interview Mrs May gave earlier in the week, wrote on Twitter: “This is a new contender for the naughtiest thing Theresa May has ever done.”