May faces calls to resign as election hangs in balance

Owen Stevens
June 9, 2017

As the June 8 poll ended in a hung parliament, with no party holding an absolute majority in the House of Commons, Mrs May pledged the Tories would offer "stability" as the largest party with the most votes.

However, Labour have also committed to creating a 250 billion pound fund for investment in infrastructure which will be spent over a 10-year period, indicating it will be funded by borrowing.

"Certainly that's what's expected", a source said. The Scottish National Party remains frustrated by May's earlier announcement not to grant Scotland another independence referendum anytime soon.

Among Friday's election surprises were the spike in support for the opposition Labour party in London, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union, and a strong showing for the pro-European Liberal Democrats.

May had hoped the election would focus on Brexit, but that never happened, as both the Conservatives and Labour said they would respect voters' wishes and go through with the divorce. In others the party saw its share of the vote slide, such as in the London constituency of Putney, where it hung on by a majority of just over 1,500 seats.

The pound plummeted more than 1.5% against the USA dollar and 1% against the euro as the shock figures set the scene for political turmoil at Westminster, disruption to upcoming Brexit negotiations and the possibility of a second election later in the year.

The race has focused not on Britain's looming departure from the European Union, but on the differing roles of the state presented by the two main parties.

The Tories lost seven frontbenchers, with ministers Jane Ellison, Simon Kirby, Gavin Barwell, James Wharton, Nicola Blackwood and Rob Wilson going down to defeat, along with Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer, the author of the widely criticised Tory manifesto.

The eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) faces electoral oblivion.

"May didn't have to call this election", said Pedley. Their former leader, Nick Clegg, who was deputy prime minister from 2010 to 2015, lost his seat.

The former business secretary lost his Twickenham seat in 2015 to Conservative Tania Mathias, but regained it this time around with a majority of 2,017 votes.

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"What really matters is whether people put investment on hold", said Tim Besley, professor of economics and political science at the London School of Economics.

"She fought the election on the basis that it was her campaign, it was her decision to call the election, it was her name out there, and she was saying she was doing it to bring about strong and stable government".

With more than 631 of the 650 results declared, the Conservatives got 306 seats against 258 seats for main rival Labour. "That would prevent another election, because I think people have had enough of elections".

"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", she said. "Other currencies, like dollar/yen, are not reacting much as it is a more domestic affair this time, unlike last year's Brexit vote", said Koji Fukaya, president at FPG Securities in Tokyo. Instead, now she's being forced to consider teaming up with a minor party.

Mrs May drove direct from the Maidenhead count to Conservative HQ in London, where she was hunkered down in talks with aides as dawn broke before moving on to 10 Downing Street.

"Generally, on average, the polls tend to point toward a fairly small Tory majority, whereas the betting is more optimistic of the prime minister landing a majority of around 70 seats", said a betting expert at Ladbrokes, one of the UK's leading bookmakers. "She's a zombie prime minister".

However, her plans to clamp down on executive pay, give workers a say on strategy and make it harder for foreign firms to take over British ones could win support in principle, although others would probably demand changes to the policies before agreeing to back them.

Liberal Democrats were celebrating the return of former ministers Sir Vince Cable, Sir Ed Davey and Jo Swinson two years after they lost their parliamentary seats.

Labour took Canterbury, a seat which had been held by Conservatives since 1918, and claimed Tory scalps in a string of seats including Bristol North West, Stroud, Warwick & Leamington, Stockton South and Vale of Clwyd. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke, who rebelled against May over Brexit, already told the BBC that a "deeper debate" is needed in Parliament.

"We are ready to do everything we can to put our programme into operation".

Other reports by VgToday

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