Yikes: Conservatives look set to lose their majority after UK election, threatening May -- and Brexit; Update: Exit poll wrong?

I remind you that Theresa May called this election only because it looked like an easy lay-up. Polls showed the Tories would utterly swamp a pitiful Labour Party led by far-left radical Jeremy Corbyn. May would end up with a huge Conservative majority in Parliament, giving the Tories a free hand on steering the country through Brexit. Corbyn would be deposed, inevitably replaced by a more moderate British liberal, and the country would head towards the right — well, the center-right — okay, the center-left, which is where the Tories tend to be — for the next five years.

And now, chaos.


Conservative 314 (12 short of majority)

Labour 266

Lib Dem 14

SNP 34


The Tories started the day with 330 seats, a four-seat majority. They’re set to lose that majority now in an election that was supposed to give them a stranglehold on Parliament. Polls over the last few weeks showed Labour closing the gap but most of the smart set thought undecided voters would barf at the thought of empowering Corbyn in the end and break towards the right. The Decision Desk HQ live blog notes that some projections had Conservatives winning as many as 370+ seats. If the exit polls hold, they’ll underperform that so egregiously that May’s likely to be ousted as prime minister and the fate of Brexit will be imperiled.

But keep an eye on returns tonight, just in case:

There’s a chance, if not a great one, that we’ll end up with Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn, a guy whom nearly everyone assumed was a suicidal pick for leader when Labour chose him two years ago. Arguably that would be an even more shocking result than Trump winning the presidency, especially after the UK’s righward lurch in the Brexit referendum. If Corbyn lands at 10 Downing Street, is that the end of the Brexit process?

The BBC will be tracking live results all night. In the end, I wonder if the terror attacks cost May her majority. Usually you’d expect terror to nudge voters towards the right, where parties are more hawkish and trumpet more muscular security, but May was compromised by the fact that she was Home Secretary for years before becoming PM. Some Brits may have looked at her record and decided that she simply hasn’t done enough to make them feel safe with bombs going off in Manchester and pub-crawlers being stabbed in London and now it’s time to try someone else. Wouldn’t be the first time a left-wing party benefited electorally from a terror shock — if in fact that was a major factor here.

Update: Was there a “Trump factor” too? Josh Barro wonders:


Update: What happens when you have a hung parliament? Either two or more parties form a majority coalition, which seems unlikely given the exit-poll breakdown above, or…

Update: A month and a half ago, polls showed the Tories leading Labour by … 21 points. That’s why May called a snap election — she was all set to bank a monster win and build on her majority. And now?

Update: The Tories say their numbers are different:

Update: Verrrry early, but stay tuned: