Tories On Course To Be Largest Party

The Conservatives are on course to be the largest party but may not have an overall majority, according to the latest BBC general election forecast.

Theresa May’s hopes of a landslide victory have been dashed with just over 100 seats declared.

The Tories are projected to get 322 seats, Labour 261 and the SNP 32.

Labour looks set to make 29 gains with the Tories losing nine seats – and the SNP could lose 24 seats in a bad night for Nicola Sturgeon.

The forecast is slightly better for the Tories than the exit poll published when polls closed but would still potentially leave Theresa May with fewer MPs than when she called the general election to “strengthen her hand” in upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Former Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg has lost his Sheffield Hallam seat to the Labour candidate Jared O’Mara.

In his defeat speech, he said Britain was now a “deeply divided and polarised” nation and he predicted the next Parliament faced the “excruciating task of trying to assemble a sensible government for this country”.

Former business secretary Sir Vince Cable retook his Twickenham seat for the Lib Dems moments later, while party leader Tim Farron is facing a recount in his Westmorland and Lonsdale seat.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, who held his West Bromwich East seat, said the “hours to come look very uncertain”, but added: “Theresa May’s authority has been undermined by this election. She is a damaged prime minister and her reputation may never recover.”

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson, has lost his seat to Conservative Douglas Ross and the Tories also took Angus, in North East Scotland, from the SNP.

Labour gained Rutherglen and Hamilton West from the SNP, with an 8.9% swing, suggesting, said polling expert John Curtice, that the SNP “are going to suffer quite substantial losses”.

Labour also held Wrexham, a top Conservative target in Wales and took the Vale of Clwyd from the Conservatives, its first gain of the night from Mrs May’s party.

Jeremy Corbyn’s party also took Battersea, in South London, from the Conservatives, with Treasury Minister Jane Ellison losing her seat.

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told BBC News: “It is possible that we will form the next government.”

She ruled out a coalition, saying Labour would form a minority government in the event of a hung parliament, asking the smaller parties such as the Lib Dems and the SNP to support its programme in a Queen’s Speech.

But veteran Conservative Ken Clarke said he believed his party would have a “small overall majority” when all the votes have been counted.

To get an overall majority, one party needs to get 326 seats, although in practice the Conservatives would be expected to be able to get a Queen’s Speech through with 322 MPs, if they had the backing of Democratic Unionist Party MPs.

The BBC forecast suggests the Green Party would be unchanged with one seat and Plaid Cymru would still have three MPs, while the Lib Dems would gain five.

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