Election-night headlines in Britain pointed Friday to looming political turbulence and an uncertain future for Prime Minister Theresa May.
An exit poll after Thursday’s general election forecast that May would lose her overall majority after calling an election that she intended to strength her grip on parliament.
“Britain on a knife edge,” headlined the pro-May Daily Mail, while the conservative Sun tabloid described the situation as “Mayhem,” saying there was fear of a “coalition of chaos” led by the opposition Labour party.
“May’s big gamble fails,” said The Times, an angle also favoured by the business daily The Financial Times, while the pro-Labour Daily Mirror said May’s job was “hanging by a thread” after her election bet seemed to have failed.
In the outgoing parliament, May had a slim working majority of 17 seats in the 650-seat assembly.
In Thursday’s vote, the Conservatives were set to win 314 seats, followed by Labour on 266, the Scottish National Party on 34 and the Liberal Democrats on 14, the exit poll for the BBC, Sky and ITV showed.
If no party wins a majority there is a “hung parliament” and the party with the most seats begins negotiations to see if it can command a majority.
At the start of the election campaign, opinion polls predicted May would romp home with possibly a triple-digit majority. She repeatedly pitched the message that she offered “strong and stable leadership” in guiding Britain out of the European Union, in contrast to Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist stalwart she derided as weak and hesitant.
But the campaign shifted to welfare issues, favouring Corbyn, and to May’s record on security after terror attacks struck London and Manchester.