After British Election Shock, Will PM Theresa May Stay Or Go?

LONDON — (CNN) It was far from the triumphant victory Theresa May had been expecting.

When the UK Prime Minister announced a snap election on April 19, she was soaring in the polls and expected a huge majority in the new parliament, bolstering her hand in negotiations to leave the European Union.

But a month and a half later, having lost her parliamentary majority, some are now questioning whether May will be able to remain as leader.

“I think it would be very, very difficult indeed for her to stay on,” political analyst Carole Walker told CNN. “She has lost seats, rather than gained them, she has not got the big overall majority she wanted and a lot of the blame has fallen on her shoulders.”

UK’s main broadcasters were reporting sources had told them May would not be quitting in the wake of the shock result.

But speculation was rife as the results rolled in around whether the UK leader might resign or possibly face a leadership challenge.

Conservative MP for Broxtowe, Anna Soubry, told the BBC May would have to “consider her position” in the wake of the election.

“It was a dreadful campaign … the way that the campaign was being run, which was about her and what she wanted to do. She put her mark absolutely on this campaign,” she said.

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Before the election, May said on her official Twitter account that if she lost “just six seats” she would lose the election to Jeremy Corbyn.

With several seats still being counted, it appears the UK leader has lost at least double that number.

BBC political reporter Laura Kuenssberg reported on Twitter that a source within the Conservative Party told her there was a “50/50” chance that May would resign.

But some senior figures in Conservative Party were adamant May should stay on as prime minister, at least for the time being.

Speaking on Sky News, former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said any move to replace May would be “catastrophic.”

“What we don’t need at this particular time is for any attempt to have a leadership election. The most important thing is Brexit — because the clock is already ticking,” he said.

Talks concerning Britain’s exit from the European Union are expected to begin on June 19.

Duncan Smith said the Conservatives would now concentrate on minority government negotiations.

Another senior figure in May’s party, Stephen Crabb, told the BBC there shouldn’t be any “hasty decisions” around May’s leadership.

“Absolutely she can (hang on). If she is the leader of the largest party, there is a duty on her to seek to form government. What we need to avoid is any hasty decisions,” he said.

As Prime Minister May’s future remains uncertain, one man who is almost certain to put his hand up in the event of a leadership contest is Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.

One of the main Leave campaigners during the UK’s 2016 Brexit campaign, Johnson was widely expected to stand for the leadership of the Conservative Party, and the prime ministership, after former UK leader David Cameron resigned.

But in the end, Johnson decided against running, surprising many and catapulting May into Britain’s top job.

Asked if her still supported May after the shock election result Friday morning, Johnson said, “Early days. Everybody should contain themselves.”

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved. (PHOTO: Alastair Grant/AP)

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