Counting for British general elections have begun with Labour taking early lead even as exit poll forecast a hung parliament with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservative party to emerge as the single largest party.
However, the party is shy of the magic 326 figure for an overall majority in the House of Commons with the poll predicting 314 seats for the Tories. This is down from the 331 won by the party in the 2015 general election.
The Jeremy Corbyn led Opposition Labour Party is expected to bag 266 seats, up from its last tally of 232.
Early results have gone to party that held the seats in the 2015 elections but Labour’s poll percentage has gone up.
The biggest setback has come for right-wing and anti-Europe UK Independence Party, which is predicted to win zero seats.
The official exit poll traditionally released by UK broadcasters at 10pm when the polls close has a history of being fairly accurate in terms of the final picture that emerges once the results are declared.
Based on the exit poll forecast, Theresa May’s gamble to call a snap general election in the hope of winning a stronger mandate and a larger majority seems to have not paid off as it shows she may end up 12 short of the magic number.
The far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) is set for a washout with no MPs while the Scottish National Party (SNP) are forecast to get 34, the Liberal Democrats 14 and the Green Party one MP, according to the NOP/Ipsos MORI poll for BBC/ITV/Sky channels.
In total, 30,450 people were interviewed as they exited from 144 polling stations across the UK.
The electorate was voting to elect 650 MPs for the House of Commons, with about 45.8 million people entitled to vote.
The first election results are due before midnight local time, with the final result expected by Friday afternoon.
The constituency of Houghton and Sunderland South in north-east England has a history of being the first to declare the results and is in competition with Newcastle to retain its lead since 1990s.
(With PTI inputs)