British politics and Brexit are in disarray as it became clear on Friday that Theresa May’s election gamble has gone catastrophically wrong.
At the final count the country was bogged down in a hung parliament, with Tories admitting the result blows the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy to pieces.
Ms May’s position was also in doubt with Labour calling for her to quit and senior Conservatives questioning her position and distancing themselves from the leader, amid reports of potential successors jockeying for position.
Perhaps the only lifeline available to Ms May was a potential coalition with Northern Ireland's DUP, which would provide a miniscule majority, substantially smaller than the one she claimed was not stable enough to carry off Brexit when she called the election.
Results showed the Conservatives failing to gain key target seats, while five Tory ministers were among those who lost their seats. Home Secretary Amber Rudd held on to her seat by the skin of her teeth.
With 14 constituencies left to declare, the Tories were on 310 seats, making it mathematically impossible for them to reach the magic 326 number of seats needed to govern with a majority.
Labour was set to increase its count by at least 28 seats, to 258 or more, the Liber Democrats gained four to win 12, and the SNP won 34, a major drop from the 56 they won in 2015.
In an early sign of repercussions the result would have, sterling fell more than 1.5 per cent to £1.27 and plummeted more than 1 per cent to €1.13.
Shocked sources in Brussels told The Independent the result would mean Brexit negotiations are now in “uncharted territory”, with it unclear how a strong coalition could be formed between parties bitterly opposed over their approach to EU withdrawal.
One former Tory minister said: “There is still a majority for Brexit, but how on earth does it work.
This article continues at [UK Independent] Brexit thrown into doubt as Theresa May's election gamble backfires