Election results 2017: Exit poll predicts Tories to be largest party

Exit poll

The Tories will be the largest party but may not have a majority, according to the general election exit poll.

The survey taken at polling stations across the UK suggests the Tories could get 314 MPs when all the results have been counted in Thursday’s election.

Labour would get 266, the Lib Dems 14, UKIP none and the SNP 34, the NOP/Ipsos MORI poll for BBC/ITV/Sky suggests.

The first election results are due before midnight with the final result expected by Friday lunchtime.

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To get an overall majority, one party needs to get 326 seats.

The exit poll suggests the Conservatives would be 12 short of an overall majority.

It suggests Labour would gain 34 seats, the Conservatives would lose 17 seats, the Lib Dems would gain six and the SNP lose 22 seats.

The Green Party would be unchanged with one seat and Plaid Cymru would still have three MPs, according to the poll.

In total, 30,450 people were interviewed as they exited 144 polling stations across the UK.

Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Fallon cautioned against reading too much into projections “before we have had a single actual result”.

Labour’s John McDonnell agreed that it was too early to call the result, but added that if the poll was correct it would “change the nature of politics” in the UK.

Media captionLaura Kuenssberg: Theresa May has played a high risk political game

SNP Deputy Leader Stewart Hosie said it would be an “extraordinary thing” for Theresa May “to call this election for narrow party advantage and then, if these numbers are correct, to blow it incredibly”.

He said the SNP would still win the election in Scotland, despite the exit poll forecasting substantial losses.

BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg said that if the exit poll was proved to be correct Theresa May’s “high risk” gamble in calling an election to increase her majority will have failed.

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A Labour Party spokesman said: “If this poll turns out to be anywhere near accurate, it would be an extraordinary result. Labour would have come from a long way back to dash the hopes of a Tory landslide.

“There’s never been such a turnaround in a course of a campaign. It looks like the Tories have been punished for taking the British people for granted.”

He added that Labour had run a “positive and honest campaign” and had not “engaged in smears or personal attacks”.

Media captionThis is the moment the general election exit poll is announced

The Conservatives could still secure an overall majority if, as the exit poll suggests, they perform relatively well in constituencies that Labour are defending where a majority of all voters voted Leave in last year’s EU referendum.

They would also need to do better in marginal seats they are defending.

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EPA

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In Glasgow, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon voted at a local community hall

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AFP

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Lib Dem leader Tim Farron looked cheerful despite the rain after voting in Kendal, Cumbria

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EPA/PA

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Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May cast their votes on Thursday after a seven-week campaign

If neither of these patterns materialises, but the exit poll’s estimate of the overall levels of support for the parties is correct, then the Conservatives could lose their overall majority.

In addition, there is some evidence from the exit poll that the Conservatives will perform relatively well in Wales.

If the exit poll is correct the SNP could suffer heavier losses than was widely anticipated in advance of polling day.

Indeed this, together with clear evidence of a Conservative revival north of the border, may yet provide the Tories with the extra seats that they might need to secure an overall majority.

A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected, with about 45.8 million people entitled to vote.

Some votes had been cast before Thursday through postal voting, which accounted for 16% of the total electorate at the 2015 general election, when the overall turnout was 66%.

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