Election results: Theresa May ‘no intention of resigning’ after losses

9 Jun

Media captionTheresa May says the UK needs a period of stability

The UK faces the prospect of a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party after the general election produced no overall winner.

With nearly all results in, Theresa May faces having fewer seats than when she called the election.

The Tories are projected to get 318 seats, Labour 261 and the SNP 35.

Jeremy Corbyn has urged the PM to resign but the BBC understands she has no intention of doing so at this stage and will try to form a government.

The prime minister has said the country needs stability after the inconclusive election result and the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said Mrs May intended to try and govern on the basis that her party had won the largest number of votes and seats.

Labour is set to make 29 gains with the Tories losing 13 seats – and the SNP down by 22 seats in a bad night for Nicola Sturgeon, with her party losing seats to the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems.

The Conservatives are forecast to win 42% of the vote, Labour 40%, the Lib Dems 7%, UKIP 2% and the Greens 2%.

Turnout so far is 68.7% – up 2% up on 2015 – but it has been a return two party politics in many parts of the country, with Labour and the Conservatives both piling up votes in numbers not seen since the 1990s.

UKIP’s vote slumped dramatically but rather than moving en masse to the Tories, as they had expected, their voters also switched to Labour.

Mr Corbyn, speaking after being re-elected in Islington North, said it was time for Mrs May to “make way” for a government that would be “truly representative of the people of this country”.

He said he was “very proud” of the results so far, which he said were a “vote for hope for the future” and said people were “turning their backs on austerity”.

Media captionLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn: “I’m very, very proud of the campaign my party has run”

Media captionThe Tories haven’t won an overall majority

The Conservatives have said that in the event of a hung Parliament, Mrs May would get the opportunity to form a government first.

Lord O’Donnell, formerly the UK’s top civil servant, told the BBC that the prime minister had a duty to stay in post “for now” and he would be advising her to seek an audience with The Queen later on Friday to explain her intentions over the coming days.

However, there is a chance that the UK could be facing a fresh election later this summer under the rules in the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

Questions are also being asked about the potential impact on the upcoming Brexit negotiations and Mrs May’s own future, with one minister telling the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg it was “hard to see how she could stay after these results”.

To get an overall majority, one party needs to get 326 seats, although in practice the Conservatives would be expected to be able to get a Queen’s Speech through with 318 MPs, if they had the backing of the 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs.

Conservative MP Anna Soubry, who is against Brexit, said it had been a “dreadful campaign” and Mrs May should “now consider her position”.

But her Brexit-supporting colleague Steve Baker said it was essential the party supported Mrs May to “provide all the stability we can”.

Media captionAnna Soubry has given a frank assessment of her party’s campaign

Speaking at her count in Maidenhead, Theresa May said the full picture had yet to emerge, but added: “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.”

Speaking on ITV, George Osborne, who was sacked as chancellor last year by Mrs May, said: “Theresa May is probably going to be one of the shortest serving prime ministers in our history.”

He added: “Hard Brexit went in the rubbish bin tonight.”

DUP MP Simon Hamilton said his party’s votes were going to be “incredibly important” in the new Parliament and they would push to get “a good deal for Northern Ireland as we leave the European Union”.

Media captionSturgeon: ‘SNP have won the election in Scotland’

Media captionNick Clegg: ‘There’s a huge gulf between young and old’

Some big names have lost their seat in a night of upsets – Alex Salmond lost to the Conservative candidate in Gordon and former Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg has lost his Sheffield Hallam seat to the Labour candidate.

In his defeat speech, Mr Clegg said Britain was now a “deeply divided and polarised” nation and he predicted the next Parliament faced the “excruciating task of trying to assemble a sensible government for this country”.

Former business secretary Sir Vince Cable retook his Twickenham seat for the Lib Dems moments later – although the Lib Dems later lost Richmond Park to Conservative Zac Goldsmith.

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The Lib Dems have ruled out going into coalition with either the Conservatives or Labour.

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson, has lost his seat to Conservative Douglas Ross and the Tories also took Angus, in North East Scotland, from the SNP.


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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was “disappointed” to have lost a number of seats but claimed her party had still “won the election in Scotland”.

She said she would like the SNP to “play a part in a progressive alternative to a Tory government” but would wait to see the final results.


Analysis

By BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg

The conversations have started not just about whether the Tories will be able to form a government, but whether or not Theresa May can stay in her job.

There is no one prevailing mood inside the Tory party, as I write, Mrs May is holed up with her advisers inside Tory HQ.

But a former minister Anna Soubry has called for her to “consider her position” – political code for calling for her to resign.

Another senior MP tells me “I can’t see how she can stay”. A minister texts to say the Tory party is “absolute monarchy, ruled by regicide and that’s the territory we are in”. One Tory source says it is “50:50” that she will quit in the morning.

But others are urging caution, calling for reflection, a period of calm.

Read Laura’s full blog


The Green Party are unchanged with one seat and Plaid Cymru still have three MPs, while the Lib Dems are on course to gain five.

Green co-leader Caroline Lucas, who held Brighton Pavilion, said: “To be clear, Greens will never support a Tory government.”

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who lost his bid to become the MP for Boston and Skegness, said: “Theresa May has put Brexit in jeopardy. I said at the start this election was wrong. Hubris.”

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