May strikes deal with DUP following shock result

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May's Conservatives will now likely seek to form a majority with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which succeeded in winning 10 seats in the election and now holds the balance of power in the UK's 650-seat parliament.

1pm: The Prime Minister announced she will form a government saying only the Tories and DUP have the ability to deliver for the people of Britain.

The DUP manifesto says the party wants a "comprehensive free trade and customs agreement with the European Union".

"The Government I lead will put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do, so that we fulfill the promise of Brexit together and - over the next five years - build a country in which no one and no community is left behind".

"What I'm hearing mostly from colleagues is there's no appetite for plunging the country and government into a period of turmoil", said Graham Brady, who speaks for rank-and-file Tory lawmakers.

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Theresa May could need the support of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland in order to form a new government.

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The BBC predicted Ms May's Conservative Party would end up with 319 seats, with Labour forecast to get 261 (326 is needed for a majority).

An exit poll had previously suggested the Conservatives would remain the largest party but fall short of an absolute majority.

The results of the vote come 10 days before the United Kingdom is due to start formal talks to leave the European Union.

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European Union leaders fear the minority administration and a possible leadership challenge to Mrs May after her electoral gamble backfired might mean further delay to the start of Brexit talks scheduled for 19 June.

While Mrs May said she would be getting on with the job of appointing a new ministerial team, she refused to be drawn on calls to sack her two close aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, blamed by many Tory MPs for the party's disastrous campaign.

May said this was vital as the Brexit talks were due to begin in just ten days time.

May stays on as Prime Minister in defiance of critics within and outside her own party, following a campaign that focused closely on her and her track record, but during whose course her personal ratings fell sharply. "With a weak negotiating partner, there's a danger that the (Brexit) negotiations will turn out badly for both sides".

When May called the snap election, the Conservatives had a 20 point polling average lead over Labour.

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"To secure over a third of all of the votes cast in Northern Ireland is truly humbling we do not take the people's support for granted and we make them all a simple promise to do everything we can to repay the trust that they have placed in the party". UKIP leader Paul Nuttall resigned after just six months in the job, following his party's dismal performance.

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