Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election has backfired badly on her.
Although the biggest single winner, her Conservative Party failed to reach the 326-mark needed to command an overall parliamentary majority. The ruling Conservatives secured 315 seats while Labour won 261 seats, raising the prospect of a hung parliament.
The election was meant to strengthen May’s hand and provide her with a clear mandate in Brexit negotiations.
However, quite the opposite has happened. With talks on Britain’s departure from the European Union due to start in just over a week, it is now unclear who will make up the next government and what exact course Brexit will follow.
“At this time, more than anything else this country needs a period of stability,” a grim-faced May said after winning her own parliamentary seat of Maidenhead, near London.
There have already been calls for Theresa May to resign. Conservative member of parliament Anna Soubry has been the first in the party to disavow May, calling on the prime minister to “consider her position”.
“I’m afraid we ran a pretty dreadful campaign,” Soubry said.
Farage also hinted that he may consider returning to politics if a Labour-led coalition threatened to derail Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The financial markets have also reacted badly to the election result.
The pound fellto a seven-month low against the euro as the financial markets responded to the prospect of a hung parliament.
Although the ruling Conservative Party suffered a bad election night in England it faired much better in Scotland, where the ruling Scottish Nationalist Party suffered a series of major setbacks.
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond and the party’s deputy leader Angus Robertson both lost their seats. In all a total of 21 Scottish Nationalist Party MPs were ousted from their seats, many as a result of a resurgent Scottish Conservative Party.
Ruth Davidson, whose Scottish Conservatives were responsible for ejecting both Mr Salmond from Gordon and Mr Robertson from Moray, said her party had enjoyed a “historic night”.
She told BBC Scotland: “Indyref2 is dead, that’s what we have seen tonight,” she said referring to the prospect of a second independence referendum.
Finally winning a total of ten seats puts Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party as potential kingmakers, as the prospect of a deal with the Conservatives to secure a parliamentary majority becomes possible. In return the Conservatives would then have to accommodate the DUP’s arguments for a soft Brexit.