Well, what happened there then?
A dramatic exit poll, published at 10pm last night, pretty much came true. Turnout will, we suspect, prove to be one of the most interesting features of this election. According to many sources, 72% of 18-25 year olds came out to vote – wrecking polling models in the process. As things stand, the overall turnout was 68.7%, which has clearly played in Jeremy Corbyn’s favour. What galvanised these young people? A resistance to a hard Brexit? The appeal of Corbyn’s confidently idealistic manifesto? Time will tell.
So, a tumultuous end to what was often a lacklustre campaign creates a large measure of uncertainty up and down the country.
At the time of writing, with 645 constituencies declared, the Conservatives are on 318 (-12), Labour have 261 (+29), the SNP sit on 35 (-21) and the Lib Dems have 12 (+4). Gary Lineker caught the feeling perfectly when he tweeted “I think Theresa May has won own goal of the month”. It certainly looks like that, though the Prime Minister is making it known, for now, that she does not plan to resign.
Attention now turns to what the result means for the governance of the country, and for our leaders. The Conservatives could form a minority government, seeking support from other parties on a case by case basis, or potentially reach some sort of agreement with the DUP in Northern Ireland, which would give them the slimmest of working majorities.
Both of these scenarios seem more likely than a so-called 'progressive alliance' between Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems and Greens – the Lib Dems have already said that they will not enter a formal coalition and, in any case, the parliamentary arithmetic does not appear to add up.
There will be inevitable questions over the future of Theresa May. Speaking after she was returned as the MP for Maidenhead, May said that the country needs “a period of stability” and “as the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes, it is incumbent on us to ensure that we have that period of stability”.
The Prime Minister is reported to be in Downing Street with her advisers, attempting to form a government. However, some of her own MPs have said that she should consider her position. Anna Soubry blasted the “dreadful campaign” whilst Boris Johnson has been eerily quiet and is reported to be sounding out colleagues about a leadership bid.
May staked everything on this election, putting her personal leadership front and centre in the campaign, and asking voters to endorse her vision of Brexit. Those negotiations have been made even more difficult than before, and it will be impossible for any politician to ignore the strength of feeling of younger voters. Indeed, the European Union's budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger has said that he is unsure whether Britain's Brexit negotiations can begin on the 19th June as scheduled.
And the current Brexit Minister, David Davis, appeared to suggest in an interview on Sky News at 2am that a hung parliament could mean the Conservatives are forced to backtrack on leaving Europe's single market and customs union.
In Scotland, the SNP may have won a majority of seats, but losing 21 constituencies to the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems undermines any push by Nicola Sturgeon for a second independence referendum.
This election was supposed to settle important questions. It feels like there are more than ever.
Current as of 10:03AM