European Union ready for Brexit negotiations, says Merkel

May called the snap election confident her Conservative Party would increase its majority and strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks. Betting markets now make Jeremy Corbyn the favourite to become the next prime minister - a situation few investors had really contemplated.

But May, facing scorn for running a lacklustre campaign, was determined to hang on. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May had called for an early general election in a bid to win majority seats and avoid any opposition to her Brexit plans.

May confirmed Friday afternoon she will form a Westminster government, helped by members of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

With all 650 seats declared, the Conservatives had won 318 seats, the Labour Party had 262 seats, followed by the pro-independence Scottish National Party on 34.

Markus Ferber, a German Conservative said: "At the most untimely point".

Oettinger said the European Union "stands ready" for Brexit talks, "but the next few hours or days will indicate if the other negotiating party can even begin talks because without a government, there can be no negotiations".

After winning his own seat in north London, Corbyn said May's attempt to win a bigger mandate had backfired. "Quite frankly I don't know what's going to happen".

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Speaking in Mexico, Merkel told a news conference: "We are ready for the negotiations". "I think [Theresa May] set out a very good case on what we now need to do immediately on Brexit and I think it makes a lot of sense because the country by a very overwhelming majority voted for the two main parties that both want to complete Brexit", he said.

While some European Union officials pushed on Friday to stick to the original plan to start Brexit talks this month, the bloc's chief negotiator Michel Barnier adopted a more conciliatory, pragmatic approach and urged patience.

Gunther Oettinger told German radio station Deutschlandfunk that in negotiations, "a weaker partner weakens the whole thing". "With a weak negotiating partner, there's a danger the negotiations will turn out badly".

That was also the broadly desired outcome in Brussels, where leaders believed that a stronger May would be better able to cut compromise deals with the European Union and resist pressure from hardline pro-Brexit factions in her party to walk out without a deal.

Steven Blockmans of the Center for European Policy Studies said that because of the current chaos, "it is questionable whether that period of time will be sufficient in order to strike a good deal".

Sterling tumbled as much as 2.5 percent on the result while the FTSE share index opened higher.

The pound hit an eight-week low against the dollar and its lowest levels in seven months versus the euro before recovering slightly after May said she would form a government backed by her "friends" in the DUP.

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On Brexit, he said the Government would try to get a free trade area "as close to the single market" as possible, but it could not remain within the single market due to the need to control the United Kingdom borders.

A hung parliament surely throws the Prime Minister's preferred Brexit timetable into doubt.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator, described the election result as "yet another own goal" for the UK.

The prime minister is now under pressure to stand down after squandering a 10 seat majority in Parliament.

"I'm afraid we ran a pretty terrible campaign", Soubry said.

"David Cameron got it wrong with calling for the referendum and Theresa May got it wrong with calling this snap election".

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