London: Resisting calls for her resignation, Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday vowed to form a minority government with the support of a Northern Ireland party after a hung Parliament deprived her Conservative Party of its parliamentary majority.
After Thursday’s general election, the Conservatives failed to secure the 326 seats needed to form a majority government and will now seek to stay in power with the informal backing of the right-wing Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The 318 seats won by Tories, plus the DUP’s 10 seats, gives May the majority she needs in the House of Commons. But critics warned of political instability.
Speaking outside Downing Street after meeting the Queen, May said she intended to form a government which could “provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country”.
Referring to the “strong relationship” she had with the DUP, May said the new government would “guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks” that begin in 10 days.
“We will be able to work together in the interests of the whole UK… Now lets get to work.”
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party gave a stiff competition to the Tories by garnering 261 seats, a gain of 29, while the Conservatives lost 12 seats.
Corbyn urged the Prime Minister to quit, saying he was “ready to serve” himself. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said May “should be ashamed” and should resign “if she has an ounce of self respect”.
Speaking at the Labour headquarters, Corbyn said: “I think it’s pretty clear who won this election… There isn’t a parliamentary majority for anybody at the present time. The party that has lost is the Conservative Party, the arguments it put forward in this election have lost.”
Senior Tory figures also cast doubts about May’s leadership.
Former Chancellor George Osborne, who was sacked from the Cabinet by May, said he doubted whether she can “survive in the long term as Conservative leader”.
European Council President Donald Tusk, however, congratulated May.
He called on negotiations to be conducted in “the best possible spirit” that causes the “least disruptive outcome for our citizens” following Brexit.
London newspapers said May’s gamble in calling a snap election had backfired.
The London Times headline read: “May’s election nightmare”. The Daily Mail screamed: “Gamble That Backfired.”
The Conservative setback was only matched by the Scottish Nationalist Party’s (SNP) loss of 21 seats. It finished with 35 seats.
The Liberal Democrats made four gains, winning 12 seats in all. After his defeat, Paul Nuttall resigned as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader.
Scotland’s pro-independence First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked May to abandon her pursuit of a so-called “hard Brexit”. She accused the Conservatives of causing chaos in the UK on an industrial scale.
The Green Party warned that a Conservative government propped up by the DUP would be a “coalition of chaos”.