Prime Minister Theresa May could lose control of parliament in Britain's June 8 election, according to a projection by polling company YouGov, raising the prospect of political deadlock just as formal Brexit talks begin.
In stark contrast to opinion polls that have until the past week shown May on course for a big win in the snap election she called, the YouGov model suggested May would lose 20 seats and her 17-seat working majority in the 650-seat British parliament.
The YouGov constituency projection, based on 50,000 interviews over the course of a week, showed May would win 310 seats, down from the 331 seats won by her predecessor David Cameron in 2015.
The model was based on a voting intention of 41 per cent for the Conservatives and 38 per cent for Labour, a difference of three points, the pollster said.
The opposition Labour Party could win 257 seats, up from 232 seats in 2015, YouGov said. Smaller parties, including the Scottish National Party and Northern Irish parties, could win 83 seats, the Times newspaper quoted YouGov as predicting.
If the YouGov model turns out to be accurate, May would be well short of the 326 seats needed to form a government in June, when formal Brexit negotiations are due to begin.
May would be well short of the 326 seats needed to form a government in June, when formal Brexit negotiations are due to begin.
May called the snap election in a bid to strengthen her hand in negotiations on Britain's exit from the European Union, to win more time to deal with the impact of the divorce and to strengthen her grip on the Conservative Party.
But if she does not handsomely beat the 12-seat majority Cameron won in 2015, her electoral gamble will have failed and her authority could be undermined just as she tries to deliver what she has told voters will be a successful Brexit.
If May fails to win an overall majority, Britain would be thrust into political turmoil: May would be forced to strike a deal with another party to continue governing either as a coalition or a minority government.
That would raise questions about the future of Brexit, the $2.5 trillion economy and British policy on a range of issues including corporate taxation and government spending and borrowing.
Sterling fell by almost a cent against the U.S. dollar after the YouGov data. The pound was trading at $1.2838 at noon GMT.
If May fails to win an overall majority, Britain would be thrust into political turmoil
A total of seven polls carried out since the May 22 Manchester suicide attack have shown May's lead over the Labour Party narrowing, with some suggesting she might not win the landslide predicted just a month ago.
When asked about the possibility of losing her majority, May said: "The only poll that matters is the one that is going to take place the 8th of June."
YouGov acknowledged that its predictions were controversial and allowed for a wide margin of error, adding that the samples in each constituency are small.
YouGov allowed for big variations in the outcome of the election, ranging from as high as 345 seats for the Conservatives, 15 more than their current number, to as low as 274, the pollster's chief executive, Stephan Shakespeare, said.
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