Theresa May's gamble backfires as UK general election results in surprise hung parliament
UK prime minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election, when an election still wasn’t needed until 2020, looks to have backfired spectacularly as the ruling Conservative Party saw their majority wiped out. Some votes are still to be counted, but the Conservatives are expected to end up with 318 seats with the main Labour opposition on 266. For a party to be able to govern alone, 326 seats are needed which means the Conservatives, who are still the largest party by some way despite losing their majority, will attempt to form a coalition with other parties. Ironically, results in Scotland. where the Conservatives have generally not been popular, may have saved them from an even worse result as the Scottish Nationalist Party suffered various losses to Conservative MPs.
Theresa May is already under growing pressure to resign as prime minister with current foreign secretary Boris Johnson the favourite to replace her. Mrs May attempted to capitalise on recent opinion polls which gave her party a huge lead over Labour. During the election campaign the lead narrowed, but a hung parliament was still unexpected.
As results began to filter through last night, the GBP suffered a dramatic slump against the EUR and USD. However, shares were higher with the FTSE100 index up 0.9%. A fall in the value of the GBP tends to boost the FTSE 100 as the majority of companies in the index have significant operations overseas.
The uncertain result will make the upcoming Brexit negotiations even more complex and it remains to be seen whether they will begin next week.