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British election: exit poll gives no comfort to Theresa May

British election: exit poll gives no comfort to Theresa May

Counting in the British election is underway and it will be some time before the result becomes clear.

The exit poll conducted for the BBC and various other news organisations points either to a narrow Conservative win or to a parliament in which the Conservatives are the biggest party but have no overall majority.

If correct this would be a significantly worse result than most people expected.  However an important word of caution is in order.  Exit polls in Britain are by no means always right and the complexities of the British electoral system make predicting a close result very difficult.  The exit results were completely wrong in predicting the result of the general election in 1992, which the Conservatives won, and they underestimated the size of the Conservative win in 2010.  I still think on balance that the Conservatives will win the election with an overall majority.

Having said this, it does seem that the Conservative landslide that was universally expected at the start of the election is now unlikely to materialise, and that there has not been the collapse in the Labour vote which many had predicted.

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If this is correct then even on the assumption that the Conservatives come out of the election the winners, Theresa May will be a diminished figure, putting in question her future both as Prime Minister and as Conservative leader.

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