George Osborne predicts Theresa May won’t ‘survive’ if ‘catastrophic’ exit poll comes true
George Osborne tonight became the first senior Tory to cast doubt on Theresa May’s future as party leader after a shock exit poll suggested the Conservatives will lose their Commons majority.
The former Chancellor said that if the prediction comes to fruition, Mrs May would not “survive in the long term” at the helm of her party.
And he said on current arithmetic he could not foresee how the Conservatives would be able to form a Coalition government with other parties to get across the finishing line.
In a stunning turn of events a joint exit poll for the BBC, Sky and ITV suggests that the Tories will win 314 seats this evening, down 16 from 2015 with Labour on 266.
The Lib Dems, meanwhile, are forecast to increase their MPs from nine to 14, and the SNP set to drop from 56 two years ago to 34 seats.
With Lib Dem leader Tim Farron already ruling out teaming up with the Tories, Mr Osborne said he could not make the sums “add up” for the Conservatives to be able to form a Coalition government.
Appearing on ITV News, he branded the poll “catastrophic” for the Conservatives and for Mrs May.
"I worked very well with Theresa May and I think she has intelligence and integrity,” he said.
"Clearly if she’s got a worse result than two years ago and is almost unable to form a government then she I doubt will survive in the long term as Conservative party leader."
He added: "But you know we are all talking about a poll. So I’m nervous of making certain statements but look, the problem she will have if it’s anything like that number, she’s got Irish unionists… that does not get you necessarily to 326 and the Liberal Democrats on 14 here… are so unlikely to go into coalition with the Conservatives this time round, not least because they’ve made commitments to things like a second European referendum.
“So I look at those numbers, I helped put together the Coalition in 2010 and you could make the numbers quite easily add up if you could get the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives to come together. I look at these numbers, you can’t make them add up.”
Tory Minister James Brokenshire said: "I think we’ve seen polls at this time of the night and we just need to wait to see those results before drawing any conclusions and it is those individual battles in individual constituencies that are making the difference.
"It’s too early in the night to be drawing conclusion…there has been some really solid Con support in our key marginal, seats we believe we can win."