UK election results: Exit polls indicate Conservative win, but hung parliament
Early exit polls show that the opposition Conservative Party got the most seats in parliament. The initial UK election results show it's not an outright majority, but a hung parliament. Next: Days of negotiations over forming a coalition government.
Britain faces the prospect of days of political turmoil at a time of major economic challenges after UK election results, based on exit polls, suggested that no party will emerge with overall control of parliament.Skip to next paragraph
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A poll sponsored by the BBC and other broadcasters suggested that the opposition Conservative Party would win 307 seats - falling short by 19 seats in its bid to win an outright majority. While exit polls have been fairly accurate in the last three UK elections, the 1992 exit poll predicted a hung parliament but the final results delivered a clear 21 seat majority for the Labour Party.
The exit poll indicated that the governing Labour Party will finish second, winning 255 seats, but had avoided the electoral oblivion many had predicted.
While the poll claimed that the centrist Liberal Democrats would lose seats rather than make their much anticipated breakthrough – a finding that left many experts casting doubt on the poll’s reliability – the party could find itself in an unprecedented and hugely influential position. The Tory leader David Cameron will probably need to woo the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) to join a coalition government and make him the next prime minister.
Without a major swing in the actual results, days of political horse-trading of the sort not seen in Britain since the 1970s appear to be on the cards. Small parties such as Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists – which won nine seats – could also emerge as powerbrokers.
"We will not be running to David Cameron, he will be coming to us," said one senior DUP MP, Arlene Foster, hinting Thursday that the Conservative Party leader will be seeking to win the support of the Northern Irish party.
Officially, in the event of a hung parliament Gordon Brown will be able to remain as prime minister until at least May 25, when his government could lose a vote of confidence in parliament as it meets to consider a new legislative program.
He would be able to use the coming days to try to strike a deal with the Liberal Democrats and form a stable government.
Brown to stand down?
However, in reality Mr. Brown would come under tremendous pressure from the Conservatives, who would loudly proclaim they had won the backing of the British people and should be permitted to form a minority administration.
The reaction of the financial markets during this time would be crucial in terms of forcing Brown’s hand.
In the 2005 election, the same exit poll correctly predicted the relatively comfortable 66-seat parliamentary majority won by Labour.