Exit poll suggests hung parliament after surge in Labour support
Britain is on course for a hung Parliament after a surge in Labour support deprived the Conservatives of an overall majority, according to the election exit poll.
In a stunning upset, it predicted that the Conservatives will end up with 314 seats - down from the 330 they had when the election was called in April. That leaves them 17 seats short of an overall majority.
Labour is on course to win 266 seats, up from the 229 they had, while the SNP are set to slump from 54 to 34 seats.
The Lib Dems are also set to defy predictions that they would lose seats by increasing their MPs from nine to 14.
The exit poll was published as polling stations across the country closed at 10pm.
If it turns out to be correct, the poll will lead to severe criticism of Theresa May, who has already been slammed for the poor Conservative campaign, during which the Tory lead has been steadily whittled away by Labour.
Former Chancellor George Osborne said he had doubts that Mrs May could "survive" in the long term if the exit polls translates into reality.
He told ITV: "They didn’t like the focus on Theresa May, they didn’t like the manifesto at all and that’s been really kept below the surface. I suspect tonight it’ll start bubbling up big time."
“I worked very well with Theresa May and I think she has intelligence and integrity. 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.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "This is a projection, it's not a result. These exit polls have been wrong in the past. We do need to see some actual results before we can interpret this one way or another."
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: "If the result is anything near right, it means positive campaigning has succeeded."
The findings are also a setback for Nicola Sturgeon's drive for a second independence referendum, and also suggest that the Scottish Conservatives have enjoyed gains north of the Border.
Early indications were that turnout was higher than the last election - raising Labour hopes that the party had been successful in increasing the number of young people making it to the ballot box.
The first result is expected at around 11pm in Houghton and Sunderland South, which Labour's Bridget Phillipson won in 2015 with a majority of nearly 13,000.
However, experts will be poring over the result for the first signs of whether the trends suggested in the exit poll are accurate.