The Conservative Party has fallen short of an overall parliamentary majority after an extraordinary election night that saw Labour make unexpected gains all over England and Wales. Theresa May has visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace, and said in a statement outside No 10 Downing Street that she will be forming a government with the help of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
She said: “It is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist party can form a government.” She went on to say that she was now in a position to form a government that would provide “certainty”.
May added that the Conservative Party and the DUP had “enjoyed a strong relationship over many years” and that Brexit negotiations would commence as planned on 19 June. “We will fulfil the promise of Brexit together over the next five years and build a country in which no family and no community is left behind.”
With all seats declared, Labour gained 30 seats at the expense of all of their rivals. The Conservatives are currently on 318 seats, eight short of the 326 needed to secure a Commons majority. The SNP are on 35, having lost out to both Ruth Davidson’s party and a resurgent Scottish Labour, which has gained six seats. The Lib Dems have gained four seats, taking them to 12.
The final seat to declare was the London constituency of Kensington, with Labour’s Emma Dent Coad defeating the sitting Conservative MP Victoria Borwick.
The unionist DUP in Northern Ireland gained two seats, meaning that they are now on 10 MPs. Sinn Fein also had a good night, gaining three MPs, although they confirmed that once again they will not take up their seats.
A number of high-profile MPs have lost their seats, including the former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam, former SNP leader Alex Salmond in Gordon and Tory ministers Ben Gummer in Ipswich and Gavin Barwell in Croydon Central.
The current Lib Dem leader Tim Farron just held onto his Westmorland and Lonsdale seat, with a majority of 777. Amber Rudd, the home secretary who looked in trouble after the exit poll, hung on to her Hastings and Rye seat with a slim majority of 346.
Tim Farron and Nick Clegg. Photo: Getty
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn exceeded all expectations to deny Theresa May a majority government. Speaking after his own re-election as the MP for Islington North, he said: “Politics has changed. Politics isn’t going back into the box where it was before. What’s happened is people have said they’ve had quite enough of austerity politics.”
Corbyn also called for Theresa May to resign, having failed to deliver the mandate for Brexit that was her primary reason for calling the snap election. He said: “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.”
Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Labour headquarters. Photo: Getty
Anna Soubry, the re-elected Conservative MP for Broxtowe and a vocal pro-remain campaigner, also called for May to stand down as prime minister and party leader. She blamed Theresa May’s “disastrous campaign” for the Conservatives’ poor result, saying: “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.”