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UK poll: Hung Parliament forecast hits pound

The pound took a hit after an opinion poll suggested a hung Parliament after Britain’s June 8 election, which was widely assumed would be easily won by the ruling Conservative Party.

world Updated: May 31, 2017 19:10 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a question and answer session during an election campaign rally in Bath, southwest Britain, on May 31, 2017, as campaigning continues in the build up to the general election on June 8.
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a question and answer session during an election campaign rally in Bath, southwest Britain, on May 31, 2017, as campaigning continues in the build up to the general election on June 8.(AFP)

The cut-and-thrust of campaign politics turned personal while the pound took a hit on Wednesday after an opinion poll suggested a hung Parliament after the June 8 election, which was widely assumed would be easily won by the ruling Conservative Party.

According to Prime Minister Theresa May, if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister, he would be “alone and naked in Brexit negotiations” in Brussels. Corbyn responded by calling it “inappropriate to describe anyone as naked".

Opinion polls have not been accurate or even near-accurate in recent elections, but unlike some that saw the Conservatives increasing their majority, a new poll by YouGov published by The Times suggested a hung Parliament.

The pound fell by more than 0.5% on Wednesday morning before recovering some losses. The currency has had several fluctuations after the June 2016 referendum in which Britain voted to leave the European Union.

The gap between Conservative and Labour has been narrowing in recent polls, but the ruling party remains the favourite to win the election called by May to sort out Brexit-related politics. The first round of talks on Brexit in Brussels is scheduled for June 19.

May and Corbyn have been travelling across television and radio stations as well as  the country, but the Prime Minister refused to appear in a head-to-head television debate with the Labour leader. Corbyn challenged her to appear at another BBC debate in Cambridge on Wednesday evening. 

The YouGov data suggested the Conservative Party could lose up to 20 of the 330 seats it holds in the current Parliament, with Labour gaining nearly 30 seats. The Conservatives were still tipped to be the single largest party, but without an overall majority. 

In the 2015 election, the Conservative Party won 331 seats in the 650-member House of Commons, Labour won 232 and the Scottish National Party 56. The ruling party had a slender working majority of 17, which led to some unease during key moments in the House.