Thursday 29 October, 2020

May visits the Queen at Buckingham Palace

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to travel to Buckingham Palace for an audience with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Friday, June 9, 2017.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to travel to Buckingham Palace for an audience with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Friday, June 9, 2017.

LONDON  — The Latest on Britain's parliamentary election (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May has arrived at Buckingham Palace to meet with Queen Elizabeth II and seek permission to form a new government.

May's political position has been seriously weakened after Thursday's election, which she had called to strengthen her hand for Britain's exit talks from the European Union. Instead, the election saw her Conservatives losing their overall majority in Parliament.

May, who has resisted calls for her to resign as leader, could now seek to form a government with support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

The queen does not get involved in party politics but as head of state she must give the nod to the formation of any government.

12:35 p.m.

The Liberal Democrats' leader says Prime Minister Theresa May "should be ashamed" for calling a snap election and joined calls for her to resign.

Tim Farron said May had called Thursday's election and gambled with Britain's future "out of sheer arrogance and vanity," adding: "If she has an ounce of self-respect she will resign."

He said that May's version of a 'hard Brexit' was rejected by the British people, and that Brexit negotiations should now be put on hold.

12:30 p.m.

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon says the Conservative Party's "reckless" approach to Brexit should be abandoned.

Speaking Friday after Theresa May lost her majority in Parliament, Sturgeon said the prime minister had "lost all authority and credibility," and should resign.

12:25 p.m.

Germany's main business lobby group is urging the British government to tone down its Brexit rhetoric after an election it says delivered a blow to plans for a "hard Brexit."

Dieter Kempf, the head of the Federation of German Industries, said German industry is concerned by the election result, which saw Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party lose its majority in the House of Commons.

He said a weakened British government has an "obligation to limit the damage on both side of the Channel for citizens and companies, and to negotiate sensible solutions."

He said that "the hard Brexit course has been voted out" and that it's "time for the British government to rhetorically disarm."

Kempf says in a statement that negotiators cannot waste any more time, and that they effectively have only a year to agree on exit terms and transitional arrangements.

12 p.m.

Britain's general election saw more female lawmakers elected than any before.

With one seat still to be declared, 207 female lawmakers have been elected to the House of Commons — compared to 196 in the previous election in 2015.

Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to the British Parliament in 1918, following the passing of a law that allowed women to stand.

She did not take her seat, however, as she was a member of Irish party Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein has historically not sat in the British Parliament. In Thursday's election, Sinn Fein won seven seats in Northern Ireland.

11:40 a.m.

Underscoring the frustration on the British foot-dragging over the start of Brexit talks, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has a perfect time in mind: tomorrow morning.

Though the British election result, which saw Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party lose its majority in the House of Commons, has thrown another complication into the start of the talks over Britain's exit from the EU, Juncker said the Commission is ready to start.

"As far as the Commission is concerned, we can open negotiations tomorrow morning at half past nine," he said in Prague. "So we are waiting for visitors coming from London. I hope that we will not experience further delay in the conclusion of these negotiations."

11:35 a.m.

The German government says it hopes that Brexit talks will start soon and is noting that European Union members would have to agree unanimously to extend the two-year deadline for negotiations.

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said in Berlin Friday that the EU is prepared for the talks and has guidelines and a timetable, and "nothing about that has changed."

Demmer added: "We hope that the negotiations can begin quickly, because the two-year deadline is already running and it could only be extended unanimously." She didn't say what Germany's position would be on an extension.
British Prime Minister Theresa May formally notified the EU of Britain's intention to leave at the end of March, setting off the countdown to Brexit.

11:30 a.m.

The Czech prime minister says Britain should not be granted any extension on the two-year timetable for the Brexit talks, despite likely difficulties in getting the negotiations started following Thursday's general election which saw the Conservative Party lose its majority.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in Prague that too much time had already been wasted since the June 23, 2016 British referendum to leave the European Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May formally launched the two-year Brexit timetable in March, before calling the early election in hopes of increasing her majority ahead of the formal start of Brexit talks. The deadline can in theory be extended if all sides agree.

Sobotka said: "I don't think we should talk about some prolongation of the deadline. We should clearly come to terms with the British to start as quickly as possible."

11:15 a.m.

A unionist party in Northern Ireland that appears to be Prime Minister Theresa May's best bet to form a new government has said it's too soon to talk about what will happen.

May's Conservative Party lost its overall majority in Parliament in Thursday's election. Her best prospect for forming a new government appears to be an arrangement with the DUP, which won 10 seats.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster told British media that contacts will be made over the weekend, but "I think it is too soon to talk about what we're going to do."

However, she believed it would be "difficult for (May) to survive."

May had called the early election in hopes of getting a bigger majority to strengthen her hand in discussions with the European Union over the country's exit from the bloc.

11:10 a.m.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has voiced her frustration about the lack of clarity regarding Britain's exit from the European Union, a year after the country voted for Brexit.

A year on from the referendum, Mogherini said in Prague "we still don't know the British position in the negotiations on Brexit."

In contrast, she said the 27 remaining EU nations have long worked out a detailed negotiating stance for talks they would have hoped to start on June 19.

With Thursday's election result, the picture has become more muddled.

Regarding the British position, she said it's "still difficult to predict when we will."

11 a.m.

Jeremy Corbyn did better than expected in the British parliamentary election, but his skill at giving celebratory "high fives" needs a bit of work.

The Labour Party leader tried to high five adviser Emily Thornberry to mark her election victory, but he completely missed her hand — and his hand landed directly on her chest.

Video of the slightly awkward moment was popular on social media Friday.

Thornberry serves as a senior adviser on foreign affairs. She easily won election in a London constituency.

10:50 a.m.

The leader of the U.K. Independence Party has stepped down after the right-wing party failed to gain a single seat in Britain's general election.

Paul Nuttall said it was clear that UKIP needed "a new focus and new ideas."

UKIP, which is strongly anti-European Union and anti-immigration, had enjoyed a surge in support in the 2015 general election. But on Thursday the party lost its only seat in Parliament, and Nuttall came third behind the Conservatives and Labour in his constituency.

10:30 a.m.

Germany's foreign minister says he hopes the outcome of the British election will be seen as a message that the British people aren't looking for a so-called "hard exit" from the European Union.

Sigmar Gabriel told reporters on Friday that Theresa May had said she wanted a strong majority to help her in Brexit negotiations "and she didn't get it."

He says the message is a new government should conduct "fair talks with the European Union and reconsider whether it's really good for Great Britain to withdraw from the European Union in this way."

He says he hopes a new government is formed quickly "with which we can conduct serious negotiations and if possible keep Great Britain as close as possible to the European Union."

May had called the election in hopes of getting a mandate to pursue her strategy for Brexit. She had made clear that she was prioritizing controls on immigration for those negotiations, stoking worries that Britain would end up with a "hard Brexit" that would have seen tariffs slapped on British exports to the EU.

10:20 a.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May plans to seek the permission of Queen Elizabeth II to form a government even though her Conservative Party lost its majority in the House of Commons.

Downing Street says she plans to meet the queen at 12:30 p.m. local time (1130 GMT).

May will need the support of another party or group of parties to command a majority.

Her plan of calling an early election in the hopes of getting a bigger majority than she enjoyed during the previous parliament backfired in Thursday's general election.

10:15 a.m.

EU Council President Donald Tusk says that Britain should look to start discussions to leave the European Union as soon as possible or it risks crashing out of the bloc with no deal.

In a tweet, Tusk said: "Do your best to avoid a 'no deal' as result of 'no negotiations'."

"We don't know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end," referring to the March 2019 deadline.
Britain triggered the two-year negotiations on March 29.

9:50 a.m.

The European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier appears to be giving Britain time to regroup in the wake of the Prime Minister Theresa May's election setback and said "Brexit negotiations should start when U.K. is ready."

The European Union has long said it's ready to start discussions over Britain's exit from the EU. May formally triggered the two-year Brexit departure timetable in March. The first face-to-face discussions between the British government and EU officials were due later this month.

In a tweet, Barnier said: "Timetable and EU positions are clear. Let's put our minds together on striking a deal."

9:25 a.m.

The European Parliament's top Brexit official called the British election result "yet another own goal" for the Conservative Party and said it will make "already complex negotiations even more complicated."

In a statement to The Associated Press, the legislature's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt quipped: "I thought surrealism was a Belgian invention."

Last year, then Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, called the Brexit referendum last year with the aim of staying in. This year, Theresa May called the early election in hopes of increasing her majority ahead of discussions over the country's exit from the EU.

He said it was yet "another own goal, after Cameron now May."

Verhofstadt said he hoped Britain would soon have a "stable government to start negotiations," which are important for the future of Europe too.

9:20 a.m.

The pound has fallen further after British election results showed the Conservative party lost its majority.

The British currency lost as much as 3 cents against the dollar late Thursday and early Friday, to fall as low as $1.2636 in Asian trading hours after the final results started trickling in.

It recovered somewhat to trade at $1.2677 but remained well short of the $1.2955 level before the exit poll was published late Thursday.

With most seats counted, it's become clear the Conservatives are unable to win the 326 seats needed for an outright majority. Investors worry a minority Conservative government would be weaker in Brexit talks, scheduled to begin June 19.

8:50 a.m.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says he is "ready to serve" the country while ruling out potential deals or pacts with other parties in Parliament.

Speaking after a successful election for Labour which saw Prime Minister Theresa May lose her majority in the House of Commons, Corbyn said people have had enough of austerity politics and cuts in public expenditures.

He repeated calls for May to resign. May had called the early election in hopes of increasing her majority. Instead, her Conservative Party lost its majority and Labour claimed a haul of seats.

He says "politics has changed. Politics is not going back into the box where it was before."

Corbyn also says that upcoming discussions over Britain's exit from the EU have to continue regardless of which party forms the next government.

8:45 a.m.

The European Union's budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger says the outcome of the British election calls into question whether Brexit negotiations will be able to start as planned and will certainly complicate the process.

Speaking Friday morning by phone on Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio, Oettinger said the EU is prepared to stick to the negotiation timetable but that it would take a few hours at least to see how the results of the election play out in the formation of a government.

He says "without a government, there's no negotiation."

He says the election was not a referendum on Brexit and that he fully expected the process to continue, but that results could make negotiations more difficult.

He says "with a weak negotiating partner, there's the danger that the negotiations will go badly for both sides."

8:10 a.m.

France's prime minister says he doesn't believe the surprise British election result means the country has changed its mind over its decision to leave the European Union.

Speaking Friday on Europe 1 radio, Edouard Philippe conceded that "the tone" of Brexit negotiations may be affected by British Prime Minister Theresa May's failure to secure a parliamentary majority.

However, he said he was skeptical to conclude that "Britons' sovereign decision on Brexit has been cast into doubt in any way."

Discussions, he added, will be "long" and "complex."

"So let's not kid ourselves."

Discussions between the British government and the EU are formally set to begin later this month.

7:55 a.m.

Britain's news media says Theresa May has no intention of giving up the post of prime minister even though her Conservative Party lost its majority in the House of Commons in Thursday's general election.

Mays' future as leader and head of the Conservative Party is being openly questioned after her call to hold a snap election backfired.

May called the election in hopes of increasing her majority in order to give her a stronger hand in negotiations with the European Union over Britain's exit. However, with nearly all votes counted, the Conservatives are on 315 seats, short of the 326 mark that ensures a majority. The Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, did much better than most forecasters predicted, and has 261 seats at last count.

6 a.m.

British media are reporting that Conservatives can no longer win an outright majority in Parliament.

Sky News reported early Friday that Labour held the seat of Southampton Test, guaranteeing that no party will reach the 326 seats necessary for an overall majority in the 650-seat Parliament.

The result will heap pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to resign, after she called a snap election in the hope of increasing the Conservative majority in Parliament to strengthen her position in Brexit negotiations.

5:20 a.m.

Britain's home secretary has narrowly avoided defeat in the general election, holding on to her seat in Parliament by 346 votes after a recount.

In the 2015 election, Amber Rudd won the Hastings and Rye seat in southern England by almost 5,000 votes. But the governing Conservative Party has suffered big losses in the election and is on the verge of losing its parliamentary majority.

Several government ministers have lost their seats.

The result will heap pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to resign, and many consider Rudd a potential Conservative leader.

She is regarded as having performed well during the campaign, which was marred by deadly attacks in Manchester and London. As home secretary, Rudd is in charge of the police and security services and helped lead the response to the attacks.

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