The Latest: Costumed candidates in UK get moment of fame

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The Latest: Costumed candidates in UK get moment of fame
The Latest: Costumed candidates in UK get moment of fame

LONDON (AP) – The Latest on Britain’s parliamentary election (all times local):

4:25 a.m.

Britain’s election night has provided fleeting moments of fame for an array of pranksters, jokers and fringe candidates.

In each constituency, all the candidates get to line up on stage while the results are announced – often on live television.

Prime Minister Theresa May easily won her Maidenhead constituency, but could be about to lose her job if the Conservatives fail to win a majority.

She looked grim as her local victory was announced, even while sharing a stage with a man dressed as the Muppet character Elmo (he got three votes), Howling “Laud” Hope of the Monster Raving Loony Party (119 votes) and Lord Buckethead, a towering figure in black with a pail on his head (a resounding 249 votes).

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3:30 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says her Conservative Party will work to provide stability whatever the result of the election.

An exit poll and early results suggest the party will be the biggest in Parliament but may fall short of a majority. If that happens May – who called the election in a bid to increase her majority – will come under intense pressure to resign.

May looked tense as she was resoundingly re-elected to her Maidenhead seat in southern England.

She didn’t say explicitly what she planned to do if the projection was borne out. May said “the country needs a period of stability and whatever the result the Conservative Party will ensure that we fulfill our duty in ensuring that stability.”

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3:15 a.m.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says Prime Minister Theresa May should resign and make way for a new government.

With results still coming in Corbyn says May’s Conservatives have lost seats, votes and support.

An exit poll projects the Conservatives will be the largest party in Parliament but may fall short of a majority.

Corbyn says the result means “politics has changed” and people have rejected Conservative austerity.

Speaking after being re-elected to his London seat, Corbyn said May should “go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country.”

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3 a.m.

British ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has lost his seat in Parliament, the biggest figure to fall so far in Britain’s surprising election.

Clegg led the Liberal Democrat party through five years of coalition government with the Conservatives until 2015.

He lost his Sheffield Hallam seat in northern England to the Labour Party early Friday.

The centrist, pro-EU Liberal Democrats had hoped to make big gains in the election by scooping up voters who want to remain in the bloc. But many of those seem to have voted Labour instead.

Clegg urged all politicians to try and heal a “deeply divided and polarized nation.”

An exit poll predicts the Liberal Democrats will pick up a handful of seats to add to the nine they held before the election. In better news for the Liberal Democrats, former Business Secretary Vince Cable regained the seat he lost in 2015.

The Conservatives are projected to be the biggest party but could lose their overall majority.

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2:35 a.m.

Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage says the anti-EU party has a big role to play in politics if the Conservatives fail to get a strong majority ahead of Brexit talks.

Farage was instrumental in getting Britain to hold a referendum on European Union membership. He stepped down as UKIP leader after last year’s victory for the “leave” side.

UKIP’s vote has collapsed in the election, with former supporters going to both Labour and the Conservatives. The party looks unlikely to win any seats in the House of Commons.

Farage told ITV he fears the Labour Party could form a coalition government and hold a second referendum on EU membership. He says in that case “the role of UKIP maybe just beginning.”

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1:25 a.m.

More than three hours after polls closed in Britain’s election, the first seat has changed hands, with Labour winning a constituency from the Scottish National Party.

Labour, the main opposition party, took Rutherglen and Hamilton West from the pro-independence SNP.

Of the other 20-plus seats that have declared, all stayed with the parties that held them before the election.

An exit poll suggests Labour is on course for a stronger-than-expected result, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives could lose their majority in Parliament.

That result would be a shock, overturning a big Conservative lead at the start of the campaign.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that “whatever the final result, we have already changed the face of British politics.”

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11:40 p.m.

The northern English city of Newcastle has claimed victory in the race to be the first to declare a result in Britain’s general election.

An electoral officer announced that Labour had won the seat of Newcastle Central just before 11 p.m. (2200GMT) Thursday, less than an hour after polls closed. That was six minutes ahead of the rival northern England seat of Houghton and Sunderland South, which declared first in 2015. That seat also went to Labour.

The two cities take the contest to declare first seriously, practicing rapid ballot-counting and rushing ballot boxes from polling stations to the count center.

Sunderland uses schoolchildren to run with the boxes, while Newcastle relies on sports students.

Ballots are being counted in an early election called by Prime Minister Theresa May, with an exit poll projecting she may lose her majority in Parliament.

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11:10 p.m.

One of Britain’s leading political figures says the exit poll projections following Britain’s election, if accurate, would make it very difficult for a new government to be formed.

Former Treasury chief George Osborne, who now edits the Evening Standard newspaper, told ITV the exit poll would be “completely catastrophic” for the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Theresa May if it turns out to be accurate.

May called a snap election in hope of increasing the Conservatives’ majority in Parliament and strengthening Britain’s hand in EU exit talks.

Osborne said Thursday it would be hard for any party to put together a governing coalition if the poll is accurate.

“It’s difficult to see if these numbers were right how they would put together the coalition to remain in office, but equally it’s quite difficult to see how Labour would put together a coalition,” he said.

Osborne, a prominent Conservative stalwart, did not seek re-election to Parliament, choosing instead to focus on journalism.

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10:40 p.m.

Britain’s election exit poll says the Scottish National Party could lose almost half its seats in Parliament.

It forecasts the SNP will get 34 of Scotland’s 59 seats, down from the 56 the pro-independence party won in the 2015 election. The pollsters caution that there is a lot of uncertainty around the forecast.

The result comes as the Conservatives, once all-but-extinct in Scotland, make a comeback there.

A big loss could complicate the SNP’s plans to push for a new referendum on Scottish independence as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

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10:35 p.m.

The former communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron says the exit poll result will rock the Conservative Party.

Craig Oliver told Sky News Thursday night that if the poll is accurate “there will be deep and lasting shock” in party headquarters as Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call an early election seems to have backfired.

“It was the biggest gamble a politician has taken for a long time and if that exit poll is right, it’s failed,” he said.

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10:30 p.m.

Senior Labour Party adviser Emily Thornberry says that if the election exit poll is correct then Prime Minister Theresa May should consider resigning.

“If it’s true, these are great results,” she said. “If this is right, I think she should consider her position. I think she should go. She has manifestly failed.”

Thornberry said May was guilty of showing “great hubris” when she called the snap election.

“She was 20 points ahead and thought she could do whatever she wanted with the country and we said, ‘no’ and we meant it.”

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10:20 p.m.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire says it is “too early to tell” if the exit poll showing the Conservative Party may not get a majority in Parliament will be accurate.

“We have to wait for some hard data,” he said Thursday night, suggesting there seemed to be strong Conservative support in key marginal areas.

He defended Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call an early election and predicted “a long night” before results are clear.

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10:15 p.m.

The pound has fallen sharply after exit polls for Britain’s election forecast that the Conservatives would not get a majority of the seats in the House of Commons.

The pound lost more than 2 cents against the dollar within seconds of the exit poll result, falling from $1.2955 to $1.2752 late Thursday.

Some investors worry that the lack of a majority for the Conservatives, which are widely expected to top the poll, would weaken the next government’s hand in the upcoming negotiations to leave the European Union.

A big majority would provide political certainty for the next five years, giving Prime Minister Theresa May a freer hand in the Brexit negotiations to make the compromises necessary for a deal. She would, the reasoning goes, be able resist calls from some in her party who are prepared to see Britain leave without any sort of trade deal that would provide business easy and cheap access to the EU single market.

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10 p.m.

An exit poll projects that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party will win the biggest share of seats in Britain’s election but could fall short of a majority in Parliament.

The survey predicts the Conservatives will get 314 seats and the Labour Party 266.

It projects 34 for the Scottish National Party and 14 for the Liberal Democrats.

Based on interviews with voters leaving polling stations across the country, the poll is conducted for a consortium of U.K. broadcasters and regarded as a reliable, though not exact, indicator of the likely result.

If confirmed the result will be a disaster for May, who called a snap election in the hope of increasing her majority.

Polling stations across Britain closed at 10 p.m. (2100GMT) and ballots are being counted, with results due early Friday.

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8:40 p.m.

Amid intermittent rain across the country, Britons have been voting in an election in which security has dominated the final days of the campaign.

Experts say Thursday’s blustery weather will likely not keep participation down. A high voter turnout was seen as the best hope of the Labour Party to erode the Conservative majority.

The London Bridge attack and the Manchester concert bombing brought security to the forefront. One woman who voted near the site of Saturday’s attack in London said the Brexit vote is not what’s in “the hearts and minds of Londoners.”

But the terror threat was far from the only issue. One voter, 68-year-old Mike Peacroft, said that at his age, he’s interested in pensions and health care.

Voters are choosing all 650 members of the House of Commons after Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election, three years ahead of schedule, at a time when her party was well ahead in the polls.

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3:45 p.m.

Police have briefly closed off an area of London near Charing Cross station after a suspicious package was found.

The Metropolitan Police said Thursday the incident was not related to terrorism. The package turned out not to be a threat.

There have been increased security patrols throughout London since the attack on London Bridge Saturday night, and security has been stepped up in the run-up to the election.

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2 p.m.

So what is Elmo doing at Prime Minister Theresa May’s polling station?

The country’s leader was photobombed by a person dressed as the Sesame Street character as she cast her ballot with her husband Philip on the outskirts of Maidenhead, her constituency.

The Elmo costume was worn by the mother of Bobby Smith, a fathers’ rights protester, who has used the character to highlight his custody dispute.

Smith, 34, a truck driver, adopted the character as the figurehead of his campaign because by combining the first two letters of his two daughters’ first names he could spell Elmo.

His case was featured on the website of the campaigning group, Fathers4Justice.

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10:15 a.m.

Many voters are thinking about security as they cast ballots in Britain’s general election just days after three extremists killed eight people at London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.

Polls opened nationwide at 7 a.m. to select lawmakers for the House of Commons. The vote was supposed to be dominated by Britain’s pending departure from the European Union, but voters are anxiously aware of the threat the country faces from international terrorism following attacks in London and Manchester.

Voter Rachel Sheard, who cast her ballot at a polling station in Borough High Street, says that while the EU was supposed to be at center stage, “I don’t think that’s in the hearts and minds of Londoners at the minute, (not) nearly as much as the security is.”

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7 a.m.

Polling stations have opened across Britain in an election to choose a new government.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (0600GMT to 2100GMT) Thursday as voters choose 650 lawmakers for the House of Commons.

Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap election in hopes of increasing the Conservative Party’s slim majority in Parliament, and strengthening her hand in European Union exit talks.

The campaign did not go to plan. May was criticized for lackluster campaigning and two deadly attacks turned the election into a debate about national security.

May says the Conservatives will build a “stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain,” while opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he would govern “for the many, not the few.”

Polls suggest Labour has narrowed the Conservatives’ lead.

British political and fathers’ rights activist, Bobby Smith stands alongside a person wearing a costume of childrens’ TV character Elmo, outside a polling station in Maidenhead, England, where Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is due to arrive to vote in the general election Thursday, June 8, 2017. Smith is the founder and leader of the Give Me Back Elmo party. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, center, stands next to candidate ‘Lord Buckethead’ waits for the declaration at her constituency to be made for the general election in Maidenhead, England, Friday, June 9, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s gamble in calling an early election appeared Friday to have backfired spectacularly, after an exit poll suggested her Conservative Party could lose its majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May listens as the declaration at her constituency is made for in the general election in Maidenhead, England, Friday, June 9, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s gamble in calling an early election appeared Friday to have backfired spectacularly, after an exit poll suggested her Conservative Party could lose its majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Britain’s Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn gestures as he arrives for the declaration at his constituency in London, Friday, June 9, 2017. Britain voted Thursday in an election that started out as an attempt by Prime Minister Theresa May to increase her party’s majority in Parliament ahead of Brexit negotiations but was upended by terror attacks in Manchester and London during the campaign’s closing days. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)
A member of the Monster Raving Loony Party gestures as he speaks to an election official in Islington, London, Friday, June 9, 2017. Britain voted Thursday in an election that started out as an attempt by Prime Minister Theresa May to increase her party’s majority in Parliament ahead of Brexit negotiations but was upended by terror attacks in Manchester and London during the campaign’s closing days. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Election staff count ballot papers for the general election inside Kendal Leisure Centre in the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency in north England, Thursday June 8, 2017. Britain voted Thursday in an election that started out as an attempt by Prime Minister Theresa May to increase her party’s majority in Parliament ahead of Brexit negotiations but was upended by terror attacks in Manchester and London during the campaign’s closing days. (Danny Lawson /PA via AP)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after voting in the general election as a person wearing a costume of childrens’ TV character Elmo waves at polling station in Maidenhead, England, Thursday, June 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Britain’s Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, right, chats with a party activist as he arrives to vote in the general election at a polling station in London, Thursday, June 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Voters arrive to cast their votes for the British General Election at the Loganlea Restaurant in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, Thursday, June 8, 2017. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)
Police Service of Northern Ireland officers walk into the South Belfast Polling Station at St. Nicolas Parish Hall, Belfast, as voting gets underway in the 2017 general election, Thursday June 8, 2017. (Liam McBurney/PA via AP)
People cast their vote in the General Election at a polling station in the Rotunda Boxing Gym in Liverpool, England, Thursday, June 8, 2017. Polling stations opened across Britain on Thursday amid heightened security worries following a series of terror attacks in what one senior police official described as “unprecedented times.’’ (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Two anti-Brexit activists pose with their hand-puppets depicting British Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party Theresa May, left, and Britain’s Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, during a protest, in front of the the Houses of Parliament on election day in London, Thursday, June 8, 2017. Britain voted Thursday in an election that started out as an attempt by Prime Minister Theresa May to increase her party’s majority in Parliament ahead of Brexit negotiations but was upended by terror attacks in Manchester and London during the campaign’s closing days. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves with her husband Philip after voting in the general election at polling station in Maidenhead, England, Thursday, June 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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