Jeremy Corbyn said the face of British politics had changed as he called on Theresa May to resign after her snap general election left Britain on track for a hung parliament 11 days before Brexit talks begin.
Speaking as he was returned as MP for Islington North, the Labour leader declared: “Politics has changed. Politics isn’t going back into the box where it was before. What’s happened is people have said they’ve had quite enough of austerity politics.”
Corbyn said May had called the election to assert her authority. “She wanted a mandate. Well the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go.”
The Conservative leader appeared crushed as she accepted her victory in the constituency of Maidenhead with a shaky speech in which she repeated her resolve to provide the stability the country needed ahead of Brexit talks.
“If the Conservative party has won the most seats and most votes then it will be incumbent that we will have that period of stability and that is what we will do,” she said, but her long-term future remained uncertain.
By the early hours of Friday morning, pressure was mounting on the prime minister as Tory MP Anna Soubry broke ranks to say May should “consider her position”.
“It is bad. She is in a very difficult place … It was a dreadful night. I’ve lost some excellent and remarkable friends,” she said. “This is a very bad moment for the Conservative party and we need to take stock and our leader needs to take stock.”
Former chancellor George Osborne described it as a “catastrophic” result while another Conservative MP told Guardian said: “She needs to go.”
A minister admitted there would be “fury” within the party among those who did not believe an election was necessary.
The tight result, first indicated in a shock exit poll on Thursday night that showed the Conservatives likely to be the largest party in a hung parliament, represented a disastrous night for May.
The failure of the prime minister’s election gamble, taken when the party was more than 20 points ahead in the polls, triggered uncertainty on the eve of Brexit talks, causing a drop in the value of sterling.
Speaking from his home in Islington, north London, shortly after midnight, the Labour leader said: “Whatever the final result, we have already changed the face of British politics.”
Labour secured an unexpected win in the previously safe Conservative seat of Canterbury, and also took control of Peterborough, which was one of the Brexit capitals of the country. There were also gains for Corbyn’s party in Battersea, Stockton South, Bury North and Vale of Clwyd.
A difficult night for the SNP delivered one of the biggest scalps, with the party’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, losing his seat in Moray.
The former Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, spoke out about the need for the government to be sensitive about huge societal divisions as he was defeated by Labour in Sheffield Hallam.
The party’s leader, Tim Farron, hung on to his seat in Cumbria, while Vince Cable was re-elected in Twickenham.
The Conservative minister, Ben Gummer, a close ally of the prime minister and a key author of the party’s manifesto, lost in Ipswich while the financial secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison, was defeated in Battersea.
The home secretary, Amber Rudd, faced a recount in a tight race in Hastings but just held on.
It was a bad night for Ukip, in which the party’s leader, Paul Nuttall, came third in Boston and Skegness, and it was crushed in its former seat of Clacton.
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