The 10pm exit poll result predicted that the Conservatives would win leaving them with over 300 seats, but not the 326 required to form a majority. The surprise result gave the Tories 314 seats and the Labour Party 266.
With this shock prediction these are now the three most likely scenarios.
Scenario one: Hung Parliament with a Conservative win but no overall majority
Whilst still broadly predicting May will win we may not get the landslide that many polls were predicting before the election. If the pre election and exit polls are wrong then we may be on course for a hung Parliament with considerable uncertainty over who will form the next government and what compromises the eventual prime minister will have to make to get the support of other parties. The conservatives could of course from a minority government.
Scenario Two: Hung Parliament with labour leading a coalition
The Conservatives’ position on Brexit and, to a lesser extent other domestic issues like cuts to the NHS and manifesto promises to cut free school meals, makes it unlikely that other parties, most of whom made the conservatives there main target in pre election rhetoric, will want to enter into a coalition. In this scenario a Labour-led government is the most likely outcome from a hung parliament.
Scenario Three: Conservatives win with a small majority
May has lead the polls since she called the snap General Election six weeks ago. Since then pollsters have consistently predicted a Tory landslide, a victory that some argue she needs to negotiate Brexit. With the exit poll now released a landslide looks unlikely but she could still win a workable majority.
However May’s lead has fallen sharply after she announced plans to make elderly voters pay more towards their old-age care, while Corbyn has gained ground thanks to popular policies such as renationalisation and higher taxes for the rich. Yet the conservatives may still win the night with an increased majority, providing of course that the exit polls are wrong.