FLASH: Theresa May could resign after election losses

Theresa May to quit as British Prime Minister
Theresa May to quit as British Prime Minister
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Theresa May speaking after the election in the UK

UK Prime Minister Theresa May could resign after her party lost big to the Conservatives at the polls.

The UK looks set to have a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party, with most general election results now in.

It means Theresa May faces the humiliation of ending with fewer seats than when she called the election.

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

Deal of the day

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Mrs May to resign – but she said the country needed stability and her party would “ensure” it was maintained.

Labour looks 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”.

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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”.

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

But 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”.

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”.

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.