UK voters have snubbed Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservative party by giving the opposition Labour party an unexpected bump up in the share of parliamentary seats.
Labour got 262 seats – a significant gain of 30, while the Conservative are now holding 318 seats – a loss of 13 seats from the previous parliament.
Political commentators said the results were a humiliation for Mrs May who had expected to romp home with an increased majority in parliament.
She called the election seeking a mandate that would help her build a “strong and stable leadership” to enhance her Brexit negotiations in the European Union.
However, as the shock results started to roll in overnight it became apparent that the Conservatives wouldn’t even be able to clinch the 326 seats needed to ensure overall control in parliament.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand defied all expectations scripted by political pundits.
The party has taken seats from the Conservatives including Battersea and Canterbury and have unseated former Liberal Democratic leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam. Labour also made gains in Scotland included regaining ex-PM Gordon Brown’s former seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.
The biggest Labour scalp was Canterbury which the Conservatives had held for the past 200 years.
Political commentators said Labour’s positive showing demonstrated that the electorate was fed up with austerity measures by the Conservative government which has imposed severe cuts in public spending.
Corbyn himself won his seat in Islington with more than 40,000 votes. Speaking at the election count he said: “The prime minister called this election because she wanted a mandate. Well the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence.”
Corby expressed disappointment that Labour had not won enough seats to form a government but said the party was ready to serve the country if called upon to do so.
Lucia Dube, a member of Africans for Labour in the UK said the results reflected a shift in the direction of British politics and that African communities had played a significant part in shoring up support for Labour.
“All indications are that the majority of Africans in the UK voted for Labour,” Lucia said. “That is because they see Jeremy Corbyn as the only party leader listening to problems faced by ethnic minorities, especially in terms of jobs and social housing.”
Meanwhile, Mrs May has rejected calls for her to resign but political experts say her days as Conservative leader are numbered.
“It was a bad night for Mrs May,” a political commentator said. “The disastrous images of Mrs May running away from political debates during the election campaign has come back to haunt her. The Conservatives should do the decent thing and stand aside.”
“Mrs May calling a general election when she didn’t need to is one of the biggest political miscalculation in recent times,” said another political commentator. “Her plan to enhance the Conservative party’s power base had suffered a catastrophic bashing from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.”
“Labour has done some serious damage to the Conservative party up and down the country,” crooned a BBC correspondent.