Friday, June 9, 2017 8:59 am
British Prime Minister Theresa May does not plan to resign after losing her parliamentary majority in a snap election she had called in pursuit of a stronger mandate for Brexit talks, the BBC’s political editor said on Friday.
“Theresa May has no intention of announcing her resignation later today,” Laura Kuenssberg told BBC radio, adding, however: “It’s not clear to me whether they’re trying to kill the rumors off before she truly makes her mind up.”
British voters dealt May a devastating blow in a snap election she had called to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks, wiping out her parliamentary majority and throwing the country into political turmoil.
With no clear winner emerging from Thursday’s election, a wounded May signaled she would fight on. Her Labour rival Jeremy Corbyn, once written off by his opponents as a no-hoper, said she should step down.
In the aftermath of one of the most sensational nights in British electoral history, politicians and commentators called her decision to hold the election a colossal mistake and derided her performance on the campaign trail.
The BBC reported, however, that May did not plan to resign.
With 643 out of 650 seats declared, the Conservatives had won 315 seats.
Though the biggest single winner, they failed to reach the 326-mark they would need to command a parliamentary majority.
Labour had won 261 seats.
With talks of unprecedented complexity on Britain’s departure from the European Union due to start in just 10 days’ time, it was unclear who would form the next government and what the fundamental direction of Brexit would be.
“At this time, more than anything else this country needs a period of stability,” a grim-faced May said after winning her own parliamentary seat of Maidenhead, near London.
“If … the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes then it will be incumbent on us to ensure that we have that period of stability and that is exactly what we will do.”
After winning his own seat in north London, Corbyn said May’s attempt to win a bigger mandate had backfired.
“The mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence,” he said.
“I would have thought that’s enough to go, actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country.”
From the EU’s perspective, the upset in London meant a possible delay in the start of the talks and an increased risk that negotiations would fail.
“We need a government that can act,” EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “With a weak negotiating partner, there’s a danger that the negotiations will turn out badly for both sides.”