Politics, bloody hell. The pollsters finally got it right at 10pm last night. After weeks of uncertainty, a hung parliament was predicted and materialised overnight.
The implications for the construction industry aren’t good. The Conservative Party and under-fire leader Theresa May are now expected to form a government with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
The Conservative majority is gone. Housing minister Gavin Barwell is gone. And Brexit negotiations get under way within a fortnight.
Overnight the pound fell by 2 per cent and trading in shares were volatile this morning (look to the housebuilders).
The bottom line is we will have a third different government in just two years. If the Conservative-led government does come to power, there will be a Cabinet reshuffle and new faces in key positions. Mrs May will stay on, but will have to govern more by consensus than she has to date.
Mrs May has moved quickly, she will take her new-look government to the Queen for approval this afternoon. But there will be a period of inertia within the public sector as the new-look government beds in.
The signs will now point to ‘softer’ Brexit negotiations, particularly with the DUP forming part of the next government.
DUP leader Arlene Foster has spoken out against a hard Brexit and the ‘hard’ Irish border with the Republic that could result. The DUP is reported to have insisted on no special status being afforded to Northern Ireland on Brexit, to avoid Northern Ireland separating from the rest of the UK.
All of which means that even if a minority government is formed, Mrs May’s views on the best deal for Britain are no longer the most important in British politics this morning.
The Conservative leader needs to make concessions in order to form a government and her hand is weakened by the Conservative losing its majority.
Today we have woken up (or not gone to bed yet) to greater uncertainty. The industry will be praying for a swift resolution.
General election coverage
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Read our round-up on the election that has caused a shake-up of British politics overnight.
What are the construction priorities for the next government?
Dreaded uncertainty returns as May looks west