Among the declared seats so far, Labour has won the majority, with Corbyn recently winning his seat back in Islington, North London. The Conservatives have around 164 seats, while the Scottish National Party in Scotland have 25, performing poorer than predicted and losing to the Conservatives.
“People have said they have quite enough of austerity politics,” Corbyn said during his speech in Islington. “The PM called this election because she wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence.”
Betting exchange Betfair had even said Corbyn was the favorite to become U.K. Prime Minister, Reuters reported.
A BBC exit poll released after polls closed on Thursday night had indicated May’s Conservative Party may be on course to lose its majority in Parliament. It projected the Conservatives would gain 314 seats, Labour 266, Liberal Democrats 14, SNP 34 and others 22. The BBC has since updated its forecast to predict 318 seats for the Conservatives.
326 seats are required for a majority.
In a speech on Friday, May said votes are still coming in for the wider country, adding that it will be incumbent on her party to offer stability if Conservatives win the most seats.
The exit poll had surfaced fears of a hung parliament, which would be a challenge to upcoming Brexit negotiations. A hung parliaments means multiple parties will hammer out a coalition government and passing legislation can be a difficult process with two parties with their own political priorities.
Polling stations opened at 7:00 a.m. London time Thursday and closed at 10:00 p.m. The main flurry of results are expected from 2.00 a.m. London time on Friday and there are 650 constituencies due to announce.
On April 18, May surprised onlookers by calling a snap election, stating that “division risks the ability to make a success of Brexit.” At that point, the Conservative ruling government was polling as much as 22 points ahead of Labour but as the campaign progressed, the polls narrowed sharply.
“We have seen two dramatic political miscalculations by two conservative (U.K.) PMs in a short time span, it’s incredible,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Conservative campaign has attempted to focus on the withdrawal from the EU, repeating a mantra that only it can offer a “strong and stable” government as negotiations with Brussels heat up. This strategy has worked to an extent with polls on leadership consistently backing May over Corbyn as a more trusted leader.
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has said he will honor Brexit but at the same time attempt to retain the benefits of the single market – a tariff free trading bloc for members of the European Union.
The United Kingdom has suffered three separate incidents of “terror attacks” in just three months. After apparent lone wolf incidents in Westminster and Manchester, a group of men carried out a further attack in London on Saturday evening.
A combined death toll of 36 people on the streets of Britain has pushed the issue of security to the fore of the election with both main parties accusing the other of weakness. Corbyn was criticized in the media for appearing weak on a “shoot to kill” policy and has apologized for statements made in the past describing Middle East factions Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, have also felt a backlash over security. In her previous role as Home Secretary, Theresa May was responsible for the cutting of the U.K.’s police force numbers and she has had to answer tricky accusations that this has put the nation at a greater risk of terror.