LONDON: Britain’s Conservatives have lost their majority in a snap general election that has resulted in a hung parliament.
With just a handful of seats left to declare, Thursday’s poll shows gains for the opposition Labour Party.
This is seen as a humiliation for PM Minister Theresa May, who chose to call the election to try to strengthen her hand in talks with the EU on Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged her to resign, but she said her party would “ensure” stability in the UK.
However Ms May does not plan to stand down, says BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
Earlier on Friday, the prime minister said: “At this time more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability.”
Mrs May – who had a small majority in the previous parliament – had called an early election to try to improve her negotiation positions on Brexit.
But EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger told German radio he was unsure Brexit talks could start later this month as scheduled. He said discussions with a weak UK negotiating partner could lead to a poor outcome.
Mr Corbyn earlier said: “If there is a message from tonight’s results, it’s this: the prime minister called this election because she wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence.”
“I would have thought that’s enough to go, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country,” he added.
Final election results are expected by Friday lunchtime.
The biggest shock of the night so far has been Liberal Democrat MP Nick Clegg losing his seat to a Labour candidate. He was deputy prime minister of the UK from 2010 to 2015 in a coalition government with the Conservatives.
Former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond was also defeated, losing his seat to a Conservative.
A total of 650 Westminster MPs are being elected, with about 45.8 million people entitled to vote. A party needs 326 seats to have an overall majority.