Jeremy Corbyn was just 2227 votes away from becoming Prime Minister

HeraldScotland

HeraldScotland

But leaders of the three largest opposition parties, including Labour's second-place finisher Jeremy Corbyn, all called for her to resign.

British newspapers summed it up in a word: Mayhem. Questions were soon raised about the longevity of the minority government, the possibility of another election in the near future, the approach to Brexit talks that will inevitably be influenced by the election results, and the role the resurgent Labour will play in future.

With most of the vote accounted for, analysts predict that with 318 seats, May's Conservatives will fall about eight seats short of the 326 needed for an outright majority in the U.K.'s 650-seat House of Commons.

Labour had 262, up from 229, and the Scottish National Party 35, a loss of about 20 seats that complicates the party's plans to push for independence.

The final result was announced nearly 24 hours after polls closed.

This figure is based on Labour winning Kensington, where counting has been suspended until Friday evening.

"Clearly if she's got a worse result than two years ago and is nearly unable to form a government, then she, I doubt, will survive in the long term as Conservative Party leader", former Conservative Treasury chief George Osborne said on ITV.

Seven Tory constituencies, including those held by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and former minister Stephen Crabb, were won with small majorities in the tens or hundreds, including Southampton Itchen, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Hastings and Rye and Chipping Barnet.

A source said Mr Corbyn has also been making a number of phone calls in what is a highly unpredictable and uncertain political climate, with Mrs May sacking two key aides and sending her Chief Whip Gavin Williamson to Belfast to open talks with the Democratic Unionist Party to reach a deal to prop up a Tory minority government.

Cutting a deal with the DUP, which won 10 seats, may not be straightforward. The DUP is a socially conservative pro-British Protestant group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and once appointed an environment minister who believes human-driven climate change is a myth.

'The mandate she's got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence, ' he said. When voters stunned him and Europe by voting to leave, he resigned, leaving May to deal with the mess.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urges swift Brexit talks after United Kingdom vote
The Protestant unionist party also had links with outlawed paramilitary groups during the years of Northern Ireland's "Troubles". The party's opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage places it at odds with modernizing Conservatives.

The latest election shock is "yet another own goal" that will make "already complex negotiations even more complicated", said the European Parliament's top official on the British exit, Guy Verhofstadt.

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said it's not even clear whether May will now lead those negotiations.

British politicians differ widely on what they want from the Brexit negotiating process, seeing it as a way to shift Britain either to the right or left.

In May's camp, recriminations were immediate and stinging.

"What the country needs more than ever is certainty", May said.

Corbyn had initially called for May to resign as prime minister, but he has little power to force the issue.

"Honestly, it feels nearly like she is nearly not aware of what has happened in the last 24 hours", Conservative lawmaker Heidi Allen told LBC radio.

The senior Conservative source blamed the party's over-dependency on the tight messaging demanded by election guru Lynton Crosby for failing to endear Ms May to voters tired of elections and rattled by two militant attacks in as many weeks.

The election's biggest victor was Corbyn, who piled on pressure for May to resign, saying people have had enough of austerity politics and cuts in public spending.

May said Barwell would help her "reflect on the election and why it did not deliver the result I hoped for".

Facing down calls to stand down by Labour, the Lib Dems and even some of her own MPs, a defiant Mrs May has chose to cling on to power by forming a minority Conservative government.

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