LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party will fail to win a parliamentary majority in Britain’s election, according to an exit poll on Thursday (June 8), a result that would plunge domestic politics into turmoil and could delay Brexit talks.
The exit poll has predicted that Mrs May will win 314 seats, below the 326 needed to secure a majority.
The following are comments from financial market analysts and political commentators.
FORMER BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER GEORGE OSBORNE
“If the poll is anything like accurate this is completely catastrophic for the Conservatives and for Theresa May,” Mr Osborne told ITV News.
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“It’s difficult to see if these numbers were right how they would put together the coalition to remain in office. But equally it’s quite difficult looking at those numbers to see how Labour could put together a coalition so it’s on a real knife edge."
DEFENCE MINISTER MICHAEL FALLON, ONE OF MAY’S MINISTERS
“Let’s see some actual results to see if this is borne out - this is a projection, I think you made that clear, it is not a result. These exit polls have been wrong in the past, in 2015 they underestimated our vote.
"I think in a couple of elections before that they overestimated our vote. So we do need to see some actual results before we interpret this one way or the other.”
ED BALLS, FORMER LABOUR SPOKESMAN ON ECONOMY
“The last two years have been so turbulent in politics. We thought tonight maybe there would be something predictable. This is the continuation of that turbulence and that unpredictability. This is an exit poll that nobody was expecting.”
JORDAN ROCHESTER, FX STRATEGIST, NOMURA
“This is the hung Parliament territory, it’s also what we had for the last election pretty much, but then the real numbers on the night came up with a majority, so it’s not over yet, folks, but we possibly have the Labour + Scottish National Party + Liberal Democrat coalition possibility in play here.
"But it’s still hard to form a coalition with Labour + others here, given their total only reaches the same number more or less than that of the Conservatives.”
CRAIG ERLAM, ANALYST WITH BROKERAGE OANDA IN LONDON
“A hung Parliament is the worst outcome from a markets perspective as it creates another layer of uncertainty ahead of the Brexit negotiations and chips away at what is already a short timeline to secure a deal for Britain.
“Now we move onto the results in the coming hours to see whether the exit polls do in fact accurately represent the voting. We should get the first result very soon and should it confirm what we’re seeing, it could be another very bad night for sterling.”