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U.K. snap election could be disaster for Theresa May: Exit polls suggest Conservatives may lose majority in Parliament

A snap parliamentary election called by British Prime Minister Theresa May may prove to be a costly blow to the conservative Tory Party.

Nearly one year after voting yes to Brexit in a shock election that swept May into power, Brits have apparently already grown tired of Conservatives.

The Associated Press projected a loss of seats for May’s conservatives. According to a BBC exit poll released as polls closed at 10pm, while the Tories would remain the largest party in parliament, May will fall 12 seats short of an overall majority. The main opposition Labour party are projected to win 266 seats of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of the UK’s Parliament.

The final outcome will not likely be known until early Friday morning, as official tallies continue to stream in through the night.

“That is the future I want for Britain as we fulfill the promise of Brexit together,” May told voters in her final address to the nation before Thursday’s election. When she initially called for this election back in April, she said she had done so in hopes of gaining an even greater majority of seats to give her a stronger mandate for upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Shortly after the first exit polls were released, however, it became clear that her gamble had dramatically backfired. Voters have apparently rejected her call for a “stronger mandate” to deliver Brexit and thrown her future as prime minister in to doubt.

Former Tory chancellor George Osborne said on ITV Thursday: “Clearly if she has a worse result than two years ago and she struggles to form a coalition, there is a question over her long-term future as Conservative leader.”

It’s possible that Donald Trump’s surprise election in the U.S., and his since scandal-plagued administration, served as a chilling warning to voters in Europe.

After receiving Trump’s endorsement earlier this year, far-right populist Marie Le Pen went on to lose France’s presidential election by 32 points. On Thursday, May watched as her once-25 percentage point lead evaporated following Trump’s endorsement.

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon’s Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

Sophia Tesfaye.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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