Polls Open in Unpredictable UK Election

Campaign has not gone to plan for May
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2017 3:32 AM CDT
Voting Opens in Knife-Edge UK Election
Britain's Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at an event in Runcorn, England, Wednesday June 7, 2017.   (Peter Byrne)

After weeks of fierce campaigning and unpredictable twists, polling stations have opened across Britain in an election to choose a new government. Polls opened at 7am 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 AP reports. But the campaign did not go to plan. May was criticized for lackluster campaigning, while two deadly attacks turned the election into a debate about national security. In one of her final campaign appearances, she was heckled by butchers in a London market.

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, though numbers vary: Out of six polls released Wednesday, two showed the Conservatives with an increased lead, pointing to an increased majority in Parliament, two were unchanged, and two showed Labour gains big enough that May's party could lose power, Reuters reports. Analysts say much will depend on the turnout among younger voters, who tend to support Labour. (More British elections stories.)

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