Theresa May has said she will seek to push on in power, despite her party’s humiliating failure to secure a majority in the general election.
As the announcement of a hung parliament threw the UK’s political future into doubt, the Tory leader said that she had no intention of resigning.
This is despite the fact she emerged from the wreckage of the general election with fewer seats than when she called the country to the polls.
The latest reports are that the Prime Minister is in discussions with the DUP over the possibility of forming a coalition government.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has led calls for May’s resignation, including from within her own party.
Conservative former minister Anna Soubry said she should “consider her position” and called her election campaign ‘dreadful’.
The Prime Minister, accepting victory in her constituency of Maidenhead, said: “At this time more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability.
“And if, as the indications have shown and if 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 we have that period of stability – and that is exactly what we will do.”
Mrs May went on: “I would like to thank all those across the country who have voted for the Conservative Party today.
“As we ran this campaign, we set out to consider the issues which are the key priorities for the British people – getting the Brexit deal right, ensuring that we both identify and show how we can address the big challenges facing our country, doing what is in the national interest.
“That is always what I’ve tried to do in my time as a Member of Parliament, and my resolve to do that is the same this morning as it always has been.
“As we look ahead and wait to see what the final results will be, I know – as I say – 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.”
Mrs May did not respond to questions from reporters about her future as she arrived for the result.
She retained the Maidenhead seat with a majority of 26,457, down from the 2015 general election in which she secured a 29,059 majority.
Mrs May was first elected to represent the Berkshire constituency in 1997.