The U.K.'s governing Conservative Party is likely to lose its parliamentary majority in elections June 8, but it is expected to remain the largest party, an exit poll showed, sending the pound plummeting against the dollar as Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble on asking voters for a mandate to tackle talks on withdrawal from the European Union backfired.
The Conservatives were set to hold 318 seats in the 650-seat parliament, down from a previous total of 330 and 8 short of an overall majority, an exit poll commissioned by the BBC showed. The opposition Labour Party, which has swung sharply to the left under its leader Jeremy Corbyn, should boost its seats to 262. Such a result would strip the Conservatives of their majority of 17 in the outgoing parliament, potentially forcing them to seek support from minority parties such as the Ulster unionists.
If the poll is correct, "there will be another election soon," former senior Labour politician Ed Balls told ITV News, while former Conservative finance minister George Osborne said that if the exit poll were confirmed, May would not last long as leader of her party.
The results so far showed a 48-point lead for Conservatives, having bagged 305 seats by 12:50 am Eastern time, compared to the Labours' 257. 31 results out of a total of 650 were left undeclared by that time. The pound fell to 1.57% against the dollar by 12:02 am Eastern time.
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said that he was "very proud" of the results so far, which he said were a "vote for hope for the future" adding that people were "turning their backs on austerity", according to BBC.
Corbyn called on Theresa May to resign, saying that she should "go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country".
ITV's revised forecast for Tories was 320 seats, while Sky's revised prediction suggested the ruling party will get between 315 and 321 seats.
May in April called a snap election. Analysts said she had hoped a larger majority would give her leeway to make concessions to the EU and negotiate a good trade deal by allowing her to ignore more pro-Brexit members of her own party.
An exit poll after the 2015 elections failed to predict what turned out to be a Conservative majority.