European Union presses Britain to get its act together for Brexit talks

UK exit poll: Conservatives may fall short of majority

British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to cling to power although she could not take the Conservative Party to victory in a snap election that she had called, hoping to form "a strong and stable government" as Brexit negotiations begin later this month.

After a night of high drama across the country, May insisted her party was still in pole position to lead, despite falling short by eight seats and having to turn to Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for backing.

"I hope the United Kingdom will soon have a stable government to start negotiations", Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's top Brexit official said. The opposition Labor Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, gained 32 seats.

After confirming yesterday that her top five ministers would keep their jobs, including finance minister Philip Hammond, May is expected to continue to appoint the government that will take on one of the most demanding negotiations in British history.

Some senior Tories had made the removal of Hill and Timothy a condition for continuing to support May, who has vowed to remain prime minister despite the Conservatives losing their overall majority in Parliament.

While unpopular with the mainstream press, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has a large, enthusiastic following among young voters with his promises to boost spending for schools and public health, raise taxes on the wealthy and tackle growing inequality.

Instead of opting for a post-election shuffle, the Prime Minister retained key figures in her cabinet. Labour, written off as nearly unelectable just weeks ago, surpassed expectations by securing 261 seats in a last-minute surge of support.

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"Yet another own goal, after Cameron now May, will make already complex negotiations even more complicated", tweeted Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian premier who is the European Parliament's point man for the Brexit process. She had been executing a political strategy that prevented the Brexit debate from being reopened.

In the day's other major story: One headline in London said it all, "Mayhem", the morning after a ballot box drubbing for British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party.

Brancaccio: The term of art here has been hard Brexit, a cleaner break.

A major campaign issue centered on Britain's plan to leave the European Union, also called Brexit.

After the election, the right-wing UK Independence Party, which helped drive Brexit, was left with no seats in Parliament.

If she is to succeed in delivering the wishes of 52 percent of the public and take Britain out of the European Union, she must find a way to secure the full support of her party to pass legislation preparing for and enacting the departure.

Leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said the result had put the whole future of Brexit at risk.

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