LONDON — Britain’s voters have delivered a stunning blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, virtually wiping out her parliamentary majority in an election that was supposed to strengthen her grip on power.
May called the election three years earlier than required by law, convinced by opinion polls that placed her far ahead of opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
But after a faltering campaign marred by political U-turns and two terror attacks, May’s Conservative Party were on course to fall short of an overall majority, results and predictions suggested.
The Conservatives were likely to end up with the most seats in Parliament, but could suffer the indignity of being forced to court minority parties to keep May and her party in power.
Senior Conservative figures were openly speculating that May would have to resign, less than a year after taking over from David Cameron, who resigned after the Brexit referendum.
George Osborne, the former finance minister who stepped down at the election, told ITV that the results were “catastrophic” for his party. Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP, said May would have to consider her position.
The result appeared certain to plunge the U.K. into another period of political uncertainty, with formal Brexit talks due to start in 10 days’ time. The pound fell on currency markets in the wake of the results.