There’s no denying that the UK’s 2017 general election has been steeped in controversy – and the UK has today woken up to a hung parliament.
Here’s 10 important things you need to know about the results.
The Conservatives have won the most seats – but not enough to secure a majority
At time of writing, the BBC is predicting a final score of 318 seats for the Conservatives (down 13 on 2015), 261 for Labour (up 29 seats), 35 seats for the SNP (a loss of 21 seats), and 14 seats for the Liberal Democrats (up six).
Plaid Cymru remains on three, the Green Party on one and UKIP on none, while 18 seats have gone to other parties.
The votes have resulted in a hung parliament
There are 650 constituencies in the UK, and a party must secure at least 326 MPs to form a majority government. As previously stated, the Tories have won 318 seats – not enough for an outright win.
You can find out exactly what this means for the UK here.
A minority or coalition government is becoming increasingly likely
If a party does not achieve a clear majority, it has two choices: form a coalition with a sympathetic party or forge forward with a minority government.
This informative article should tell you all you need to know about these two options.
Will the Conservatives and Democratic Unionist Party form the next government?
Not necessarily: when there is no clear majority, it is possible for the party that came second to form a government with the help of other parties.
The Labour party has indicated that it is likely to attempt this. However Theresa May has already confirmed that she will visit Buckingham Palace today to “seek permission to form a UK government” on the understanding that the “Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) will support her minority administration”.
However it’s worth noting that the anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights DUP (from Northern Ireland) does not support May’s Brexit and so some compromises will have to be made if this union is to prove successful.
Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, has previously said: “No-one wants to see a ‘hard’ Brexit, what we want to see is a workable plan to leave the European Union, and that’s what the national vote was about – therefore we need to get on with that.
“However, we need to do it in a way that respects the specific circumstances of Northern Ireland, and, of course, our shared history and geography with the Republic of Ireland. No-one wants to see a hard border, Sinn Fein talk about it a lot, but nobody wants a hard border.
“Certainly that’s not what the Dublin government want to see, not what the London government wants to see and not what Stormont want to see.”
Who is the prime minister?
Theresa May remains the prime minister unless she decides to resign, and the Conservatives stay in office until it is decided who will attempt to form a new government.
What are the party leaders saying?
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, on being re-elected to his Islington North seat with 40,086 votes (the most ever cast for an MP in his constituency), has called upon Theresa May to resign as prime minister.
“People have had quite enough of austerity politics,” he said, before adding that May should “go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country”.
However May, re-elected as Maidenhead MP, has once again repeated her ‘strong and stable’ mantra – suggesting she does not plan to back down. “This country needs a period of stability” and if the Tories have won the most seats “it will be incumbent on us to ensure we have that period of stability”.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, meanwhile, seemed less than positive about the result: “Britain is, I think, a rather divided country and it massively saddens me.
“We have a situation now where hopefully, maybe, politicians may learn that calling referendums and general elections to suit your party rather than suiting the country is something to be avoided.
“This is a moment where we as a country need genuinely to come together and find collective solutions that work for all of us.
“These are times that can be seen as dark, but they can be much brighter if we choose to work together.”
Is there another option?
Some have suggested that the government redo the election entirely in the hope of a more decisive outcome.
How long will it take to come to a solution?
The first deadline is Tuesday 13 June, when the new Parliament meets for the first time. May has until this date to put together a deal to keep herself in power or resign, according to official guidance issued by the Cabinet Office.
If a decision cannot be reached by this point, the government has to try to assemble the votes it needs to push through its proposed new laws. This will need to be done before the Queen’s Speech, which is scheduled for Monday 19 June.
What does this mean for Brexit?
Theresa May justified her decision to hold a snap election by saying that the UK needed a “strong and stable” government to handle Brexit negotiations.
“It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election,” she said at the time. “But it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.
“So, tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for Government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands.”
With a hung parliament, however, Britain is arguably more divided than ever – and EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has now said that Brexit talks may not now start as planned in 11 days' time.
Speaking to German radio, he said: “We need a government that can act. With a weak negotiating partner, there's the danger than the negotiations will turn out badly for both sides... I expect more uncertainty now.”
The pound (£) is down
The British pound has fallen sharply as traders react to the results of the general election.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Fidelity International’s Dominic Rossi said: “This is the result markets feared. Markets were wrongly positioned, and international confidence in the UK will suffer. Sterling is the first casualty. With the election announcement, it rallied from the low 1.20s to the high 1.20s against the dollar. We can expect it to retrace these steps, with the overnight move lower to 1.27 an initial move.
“The uncertainty will put a lid on the UK equity market. The prospect of another election within next few months, coupled with the Brexit negotiations which are more unpredictable than before, raises the risks for all investors in UK equities.”
The pound is currently sitting at $1.2706.
BONUS POINT: How are people reacting on social media?
The hashtag #hungparliament has rocketed to the top of Twitter’s top trending topics – and the people of Britain have reacted to their election with shock, bemusement, and, above all else, memes.
Check out the best of them here.
Images: Rex Features / iStock