U.K. election latest: U.S. looks forward to working with PM May
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, June 8, 2017 5:18PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 9, 2017 5:11PM EDT
LONDON - The latest on Britain's parliamentary election (all times local):
The State Department says the U.S. respects the decision of British voters in their general election and looks forward to continuing to work with Prime Minister Theresa May.
The department is responding to Thursday's election which returned May's Conservatives to power but, in a setback to her authority, without a clear parliamentary majority. She was forced into an alliance with a small party in Northern Ireland.
The State Department made its comment in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.
It says that the "special relationship" between the U.S. and the United Kingdom "remains and it is a bedrock of U.S. security and foreign policy." It adds that May "has been a staunch ally."
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May's office says several key Cabinet members will keep their jobs following a disastrous election which left the party short of a majority in parliament.
May kept in place Treasury chief Philip Hammond; Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson; Home Secretary Amber Rudd; Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and David Davis, who is charge of negotiations to leave the European Union.
Hammond in particular had been rumoured for an exit in the event of victory, but the election result limited May's options for manoeuvre.
May plans to work with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to muster a voting majority.
The historic English town of Canterbury, a Conservative stronghold with a high proportion of young voters, has elected a Labour lawmaker for the first time in almost a century.
Some say the result in the university town suggests that a surging youth vote has helped swing the election in Labour's favour across Britain.
While unpopular with the mainstream press, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has appealed to young people with his promises to scrap university tuition fees and increase funding for schools and public health. The party surpassed expectations to secured 261 seats in Parliament -- still way short of a majority.
Government figures show that more than 2 million people aged 34 or under signed up online to vote in the month before the May 22 registration deadline -- compared to 1.46 million in the same period ahead of the 2015 election.
Ipsos Mori, the polling agency, says their studies showed that 55 per cent of those aged 24 and under intended to vote in 2015. But this time, it was 77 per cent.
The EuroCitizens association in Spain, which demands continuing rights after Brexit for British citizens there and for Spanish nationals in the U.K., says the election outcome gives it hope for "a less dogmatic Brexit and a less aggressive stance by the U.K." in the negotiations.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has congratulated Theresa May on collecting most votes and most seats in Parliament in Britain's general election.
Rajoy says in a message to May he wants to deepen ties with the U.K., especially their co-operation in the fight against terror attacks, and help ensure an "orderly" departure for the U.K. from the European Union.
Prime Minister Theresa May has acknowledged her sadness at the loss of her majority in the general election.
In a statement to broadcasters on Friday, a visibly exhausted May said that she obviously "wanted a different result" in Thursday's vote but and that she is "sorry for all those colleagues who lost their seats who didn't deserve to lose."
May says that "of course I'll reflect on what happened."
With 649 of 650 seats in the House of Commons declared, May's bruised Conservatives had 318 -- short of the 326 they needed for an outright majority and well down from the 330 seats they had before the vote.
The European Union's budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, wants Brexit talks with Britain to begin as soon as possible given that discussions over the country's exit from the bloc should be wrapped up by the fall of next year.
A day after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority in the general election, Oettinger came close to excluding an extension of the two year Brexit deadline, since it would bleed into the European Parliament elections of the spring of 2019. An extension would mean Britain would have to field candidates for an organization it wants to quit.
"This would be a crazy game to be a candidate for a next European parliament knowing that Brexit is coming soon," Oettinger told The Associated Press.
To meet the deadline, he said the EU nations "need a draft agreement before end of October next year, so we have 15, or 16 more months. So our expectation and hope is that there is a new government in London as soon as possible."
In March, May triggered the formal two-year process by which Britain leaves the EU.
The leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party says it will enter discussions with Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives after May lost her overall majority in the House of Commons during Thursday's general election.
In a brief statement, Arlene Foster said she has spoken with May, and the two parties will explore how to "bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge."
Earlier, May said she is looking to form a government with the support from the DUP. Foster's comments did not shed light on how exactly the two parties will potentially work together.
German EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has turned the timetable screws even more on Britain, saying negotiations on its exit from the European Union must actually be finished by October next year, instead of March 2019, to allow the 27 remaining nations to approve the deal.
Oettinger said that "time for Brexit negotiations is getting tight" and added that "they must be closed in October 2018" to allow for the complicated approval process in the member states to run its course ahead of the official two-year deadline.
The two years was already seen as a tight proposition; slashing another six months off would make it even tougher.
Despite what is generally considered a humiliation, European Union President Donald Tusk took time to write British Prime Minister Theresa May to congratulate her in the wake of the elections.
"I would like to congratulate you on your reappointment as Prime Minister," Tusk wrote, but added immediately that there was much urgency to start the Brexit negotiations.
"Our shared responsibility and urgent task now is to conduct the negotiations on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union in the best possible spirit, securing the least disruptive outcome," he wrote.
He said the March 2019 deadline "leaves us with no time to lose. I am fully committed to maintaining regular and close contact at our level to facilitate the work of our negotiators."
Map by Nick Kirmse (CTVNews.ca)
Theresa May has confirmed she plans to stay on as Britain's prime minister to provide certainty to the country, with support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.
After a brief meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, May said Friday the new government will guide Britain's exit talks from the European Union, which are set to begin in just 10 days.
Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, May said her Conservatives and the DUP will work together to "fulfil the promise of Brexit."
May had called Thursday's early election to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks but instead lost the Conservatives' overall majority in Parliament.
Prime Minister Theresa May has arrived at Buckingham Palace to meet with Queen Elizabeth II and seek permission to form a new government.
May's political position has been seriously weakened after Thursday's election, which she had called to strengthen her hand for Britain's exit talks from the European Union. Instead, the election saw her Conservatives losing their overall majority in Parliament.
May, who has resisted calls for her to resign as leader, could now seek to form a government with support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.
The queen does not get involved in party politics but as head of state she must give the nod to the formation of any government.
The Liberal Democrats' leader says Prime Minister Theresa May "should be ashamed" for calling a snap election and joined calls for her to resign.
Tim Farron said May had called Thursday's election and gambled with Britain's future "out of sheer arrogance and vanity," adding: "If she has an ounce of self-respect she will resign."
He said that May's version of a 'hard Brexit' was rejected by the British people, and that Brexit negotiations should now be put on hold.
Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon says the Conservative Party's "reckless" approach to Brexit should be abandoned.
Speaking Friday after Theresa May lost her majority in Parliament, Sturgeon said the prime minister had "lost all authority and credibility," and should resign.
Germany's main business lobby group is urging the British government to tone down its Brexit rhetoric after an election it says delivered a blow to plans for a "hard Brexit."
Dieter Kempf, the head of the Federation of German Industries, said German industry is concerned by the election result, which saw Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party lose its majority in the House of Commons.
He said a weakened British government has an "obligation to limit the damage on both side of the Channel for citizens and companies, and to negotiate sensible solutions."
He said that "the hard Brexit course has been voted out" and that it's "time for the British government to rhetorically disarm."
Kempf says in a statement that negotiators cannot waste any more time, and that they effectively have only a year to agree on exit terms and transitional arrangements.
Britain's general election saw more female lawmakers elected than any before.
With one seat still to be declared, 207 female lawmakers have been elected to the House of Commons -- compared to 196 in the previous election in 2015.
Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to the British Parliament in 1918, following the passing of a law that allowed women to stand.
She did not take her seat, however, as she was a member of Irish party Sinn Fein.
Sinn Fein has historically not sat in the British Parliament. In Thursday's election, Sinn Fein won seven seats in Northern Ireland.
Underscoring the frustration on the British foot-dragging over the start of Brexit talks, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has a perfect time in mind: tomorrow morning.
Though the British election result, which saw Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party lose its majority in the House of Commons, has thrown another complication into the start of the talks over Britain's exit from the EU, Juncker said the Commission is ready to start.
"As far as the Commission is concerned, we can open negotiations tomorrow morning at half past nine," he said in Prague. "So we are waiting for visitors coming from London. I hope that we will not experience further delay in the conclusion of these negotiations."
The Czech prime minister says Britain should not be granted any extension on the two-year timetable for the Brexit talks, despite likely difficulties in getting the negotiations started following Thursday's general election which saw the Conservative Party lose its majority.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in Prague that too much time had already been wasted since the June 23, 2016 British referendum to leave the European Union.
British Prime Minister Theresa May formally launched the two-year Brexit timetable in March, before calling the early election in hopes of increasing her majority ahead of the formal start of Brexit talks. The deadline can in theory be extended if all sides agree.
Sobotka said: "I don't think we should talk about some prolongation of the deadline. We should clearly come to terms with the British to start as quickly as possible."
A unionist party in Northern Ireland that appears to be Prime Minister Theresa May's best bet to form a new government has said it's too soon to talk about what will happen.
May's Conservative Party lost its overall majority in Parliament in Thursday's election. Her best prospect for forming a new government appears to be an arrangement with the DUP, which won 10 seats.
Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster told British media that contacts will be made over the weekend, but "I think it is too soon to talk about what we're going to do."
However, she believed it would be "difficult for (May) to survive."
May had called the early election in hopes of getting a bigger majority to strengthen her hand in discussions with the European Union over the country's exit from the bloc.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has voiced her frustration about the lack of clarity regarding Britain's exit from the European Union, a year after the country voted for Brexit.
A year on from the referendum, Mogherini said in Prague "we still don't know the British position in the negotiations on Brexit."
In contrast, she said the 27 remaining EU nations have long worked out a detailed negotiating stance for talks they would have hoped to start on June 19.
With Thursday's election result, the picture has become more muddled.
Regarding the British position, she said it's "still difficult to predict when we will."
Jeremy Corbyn did better than expected in the British parliamentary election, but his skill at giving celebratory "high fives" needs a bit of work.
The Labour Party leader tried to high five adviser Emily Thornberry to mark her election victory, but he completely missed her hand -- and his hand landed directly on her chest.
Video of the slightly awkward moment was popular on social media Friday.
Thornberry serves as a senior adviser on foreign affairs. She easily won election in a London constituency.
The leader of the U.K. Independence Party has stepped down after the right-wing party failed to gain a single seat in Britain's general election.
Paul Nuttall said it was clear that UKIP needed "a new focus and new ideas."
UKIP, which is strongly anti-European Union and anti-immigration, had enjoyed a surge in support in the 2015 general election. But on Thursday the party lost its only seat in Parliament, and Nuttall came third behind the Conservatives and Labour in his constituency.
Germany's foreign minister says he hopes the outcome of the British election will be seen as a message that the British people aren't looking for a so-called "hard exit" from the European Union.
Sigmar Gabriel told reporters on Friday that Theresa May had said she wanted a strong majority to help her in Brexit negotiations "and she didn't get it."
He says the message is a new government should conduct "fair talks with the European Union and reconsider whether it's really good for Great Britain to withdraw from the European Union in this way."
He says he hopes a new government is formed quickly "with which we can conduct serious negotiations and if possible keep Great Britain as close as possible to the European Union."
May had called the election in hopes of getting a mandate to pursue her strategy for Brexit. She had made clear that she was prioritizing controls on immigration for those negotiations, stoking worries that Britain would end up with a "hard Brexit" that would have seen tariffs slapped on British exports to the EU.
Prime Minister Theresa May plans to seek the permission of Queen Elizabeth II to form a government even though her Conservative Party lost its majority in the House of Commons.
Downing Street says she plans to meet the queen at 12:30 p.m. local time (1130 GMT).
May will need the support of another party or group of parties to command a majority.
Her plan of calling an early election in the hopes of getting a bigger majority than she enjoyed during the previous parliament backfired in Thursday's general election.
EU Council President Donald Tusk says that Britain should look to start discussions to leave the European Union as soon as possible or it risks crashing out of the bloc with no deal.
In a tweet, Tusk said: "Do your best to avoid a 'no deal' as result of 'no negotiations'."
"We don't know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end," referring to the March 2019 deadline.
Britain triggered the two-year negotiations on March 29.
The European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier appears to be giving Britain time to regroup in the wake of the Prime Minister Theresa May's election setback and said "Brexit negotiations should start when U.K. is ready."
The European Union has long said it's ready to start discussions over Britain's exit from the EU. May formally triggered the two-year Brexit departure timetable in March. The first face-to-face discussions between the British government and EU officials were due later this month.
In a tweet, Barnier said: "Timetable and EU positions are clear. Let's put our minds together on striking a deal."
The European Parliament's top Brexit official called the British election result "yet another own goal" for the Conservative Party and said it will make "already complex negotiations even more complicated."
In a statement to The Associated Press, the legislature's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt quipped: "I thought surrealism was a Belgian invention."
Last year, then Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, called the Brexit referendum last year with the aim of staying in. This year, Theresa May called the early election in hopes of increasing her majority ahead of discussions over the country's exit from the EU.
He said it was yet "another own goal, after Cameron now May."
Verhofstadt said he hoped Britain would soon have a "stable government to start negotiations," which are important for the future of Europe too.
The pound has fallen further after British election results showed the Conservative party lost its majority.
The British currency lost as much as 3 cents against the dollar late Thursday and early Friday, to fall as low as $1.2636 in Asian trading hours after the final results started trickling in.
It recovered somewhat to trade at $1.2677 but remained well short of the $1.2955 level before the exit poll was published late Thursday.
With most seats counted, it's become clear the Conservatives are unable to win the 326 seats needed for an outright majority. Investors worry a minority Conservative government would be weaker in Brexit talks, scheduled to begin June 19.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says he is "ready to serve" the country while ruling out potential deals or pacts with other parties in Parliament.
Speaking after a successful election for Labour which saw Prime Minister Theresa May lose her majority in the House of Commons, Corbyn said people have had enough of austerity politics and cuts in public expenditures.
He repeated calls for May to resign. May had called the early election in hopes of increasing her majority. Instead, her Conservative Party lost its majority and Labour claimed a haul of seats.
He says "politics has changed. Politics is not going back into the box where it was before."
Corbyn also says that upcoming discussions over Britain's exit from the EU have to continue regardless of which party forms the next government.
France’s prime minister says he doesn’t believe the surprise British election result means the country has changed its mind over its decision to leave the European Union.
Speaking Friday on Europe 1 radio, Edouard Philippe conceded that "the tone" of Brexit negotiations may be affected by British Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to secure a parliamentary majority.
However, he said he was skeptical to conclude that "Britons’ sovereign decision on Brexit has been cast into doubt in any way."
Discussions, he added, will be "long" and "complex."
"So let’s not kid ourselves."
Discussions between the British government and the EU are formally set to begin later this month.
Britain's news media says Theresa May has no intention of giving up the post of prime minister even though her Conservative Party lost its majority in the House of Commons in Thursday's general election.
Mays' future as leader and head of the Conservative Party is being openly questioned after her call to hold a snap election backfired.
May called the election in hopes of increasing her majority in order to give her a stronger hand in negotiations with the European Union over Britain's exit. However, with nearly all votes counted, the Conservatives are on 315 seats, short of the 326 mark that ensures a majority. The Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, did much better than most forecasters predicted, and has 261 seats at last count.
British media are reporting that Conservatives can no longer win an outright majority in Parliament.
Sky News reported early Friday that Labour held the seat of Southampton Test, guaranteeing that no party will reach the 326 seats necessary for an overall majority in the 650-seat Parliament.
The result will heap pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to resign, after she called a snap election in the hope of increasing the Conservative majority in Parliament to strengthen her position in Brexit negotiations.
Britain's home secretary has narrowly avoided defeat in the general election, holding on to her seat in Parliament by 346 votes after a recount.
In the 2015 election, Amber Rudd won the Hastings and Rye seat in southern England by almost 5,000 votes. But the governing Conservative Party has suffered big losses in the election and is on the verge of losing its parliamentary majority.
Several government ministers have lost their seats.
The result will heap pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to resign, and many consider Rudd a potential Conservative leader.
She is regarded as having performed well during the campaign, which was marred by deadly attacks in Manchester and London. As home secretary, Rudd is in charge of the police and security services and helped lead the response to the attacks.
Britain's election night has provided fleeting moments of fame for an array of pranksters, jokers and fringe candidates.
In each constituency, all the candidates get to line up on stage while the results are announced - often on live television.
Prime Minister Theresa May easily won her Maidenhead constituency, but could be about to lose her job if the Conservatives fail to win a majority.
She looked grim as her local victory was announced, even while sharing a stage with a man dressed as the Muppet character Elmo (he got three votes), Howling "Laud" Hope of the Monster Raving Loony Party (119 votes) and Lord Buckethead, a towering figure in black with a pail on his head (a resounding 249 votes).
British Prime Minister Theresa May says her Conservative Party will work to provide stability whatever the result of the election.
An exit poll and early results suggest the party will be the biggest in Parliament but may fall short of a majority. If that happens May -- who called the election in a bid to increase her majority -- will come under intense pressure to resign.
May looked tense as she was resoundingly re-elected to her Maidenhead seat in southern England.
She didn't say explicitly what she planned to do if the projection was borne out. May said "the country needs a period of stability and whatever the result the Conservative Party will ensure that we fulfil our duty in ensuring that stability."
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says Prime Minister Theresa May should resign and make way for a new government.
With results still coming in Corbyn says May's Conservatives have lost seats, votes and support.
An exit poll projects the Conservatives will be the largest party in Parliament but may fall short of a majority.
Corbyn says the result means "politics has changed" and people have rejected Conservative austerity.
Speaking after being re-elected in his London seat, Corbyn said May should "go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country."
British ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has lost his seat in Parliament, the biggest figure to fall so far in Britain's surprising election.
Clegg led the Liberal Democrat party through five years of coalition government with the Conservatives until 2015.
He lost his Sheffield Hallam seat in northern England to the Labour Party early Friday.
The centrist, pro-EU Liberal Democrats had hoped to make big gains in the election by scooping up voters who want to remain in the bloc. But many of those seem to have voted Labour instead.
Clegg urged all politicians to try and heal a "deeply divided and polarized nation."
An exit poll predicts the Liberal Democrats will pick up a handful of seats to add to the nine they held before the election. In better news for the Liberal Democrats, former Business Secretary Vince Cable regained the seat he lost in 2015.
The Conservatives are projected to be the biggest party but could lose their overall majority.
Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage says the anti-EU party has a big role to play in politics if the Conservatives fail to get a strong majority ahead of Brexit talks.
Farage was instrumental in getting Britain to hold a referendum on European Union membership. He stepped down as UKIP leader after last year's victory for the "leave" side.
UKIP's vote has collapsed in the election, with former supporters going to both Labour and the Conservatives. The party looks unlikely to win any seats in the House of Commons.
Farage told ITV he fears the Labour Party could form a coalition government and hold a second referendum on EU membership. He says in that case "the role of UKIP maybe just beginning."
More than three hours after polls closed in Britain's election, the first seat has changed hands, with Labour winning a constituency from the Scottish National Party.
Labour, the main opposition party, took Rutherglen and Hamilton West from the pro-independence SNP.
Of the other 20-plus seats that have declared, all stayed with the parties that held them before the election.
An exit poll suggests Labour is on course for a stronger-than-expected result, and Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives could lose their majority in Parliament.
That result would be a shock, overturning a big Conservative lead at the start of the campaign.
Corbyn said that "whatever the final result, we have already changed the face of British politics."
The northern English city of Newcastle has claimed victory in the race to be the first to declare a result in Britain's general election.
An electoral officer announced that Labour had won the seat of Newcastle Central just before 11 p.m. (2200GMT) Thursday, less than an hour after polls closed. That was six minutes ahead of the rival northern England seat of Houghton and Sunderland South, which declared first in 2015. That seat also went to Labour.
The two cities take the contest to declare first seriously, practicing rapid ballot-counting and rushing ballot boxes from polling stations to the count centre.
Sunderland uses schoolchildren to run with the boxes, while Newcastle relies on sports students.
Ballots are being counted in an early election called by Prime Minister Theresa May, with an exit poll projecting she may lose her majority in Parliament.
One of Britain's leading political figures says the exit poll projections following Britain's election, if accurate, would make it very difficult for a new government to be formed.
Former Treasury chief George Osborne, who now edits the Evening Standard newspaper, told ITV the exit poll would be "completely catastrophic" for the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Theresa May if it turns out to be accurate.
May called a snap election in hope of increasing the Conservatives' majority in Parliament and strengthening Britain's hand in EU exit talks.
Osborne said Thursday it would be hard for any party to put together a governing coalition if the poll is accurate.
"It's difficult to see if these numbers were right how they would put together the coalition to remain in office, but equally it's quite difficult to see how Labour would put together a coalition," he said.
Osborne, a prominent Conservative stalwart, did not seek re-election to Parliament, choosing instead to focus on journalism.
Britain's election exit poll says the Scottish National Party could lose almost half its seats in Parliament.
It forecasts the SNP will get 34 of Scotland's 59 seats, down from the 56 the pro-independence party won in the 2015 election. The pollsters caution that there is a lot of uncertainty around the forecast.
The result comes as the Conservatives, once all-but-extinct in Scotland, make a comeback there.
A big loss could complicate the SNP's plans to push for a new referendum on Scottish independence as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
The former communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron says the exit poll result will rock the Conservative Party.
Craig Oliver told Sky News Thursday night that if the poll is accurate "there will be deep and lasting shock" in party headquarters as Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to call an early election seems to have backfired.
"It was the biggest gamble a politician has taken for a long time and if that exit poll is right, it's failed," he said.
Senior Labour Party adviser Emily Thornberry says that if the election exit poll is correct then Prime Minister Theresa May should consider resigning.
"If it's true, these are great results," she said. "If this is right, I think she should consider her position. I think she should go. She has manifestly failed."
Thornberry said May was guilty of showing "great hubris" when she called the snap election.
"She was 20 points ahead and thought she could do whatever she wanted with the country and we said, 'no' and we meant it."
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire says it is "too early to tell" if the exit poll showing the Conservative Party may not get a majority in Parliament will be accurate.
"We have to wait for some hard data," he said Thursday night, suggesting there seemed to be strong Conservative support in key marginal areas.
He defended Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to call an early election and predicted "a long night" before results are clear.
The pound has fallen sharply after exit polls for Britain's election forecast that the Conservatives would not get a majority of the seats in the House of Commons.
The pound lost more than 2 cents against the dollar within seconds of the exit poll result, falling from $1.2955 to $1.2752 late Thursday.
Some investors worry that the lack of a majority for the Conservatives, which are widely expected to top the poll, would weaken the next government's hand in the upcoming negotiations to leave the European Union.
A big majority would provide political certainty for the next five years, giving Prime Minister Theresa May a freer hand in the Brexit negotiations to make the compromises necessary for a deal. She would, the reasoning goes, be able resist calls from some in her party who are prepared to see Britain leave without any sort of trade deal that would provide business easy and cheap access to the EU single market.
An exit poll projects that Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party will win the biggest share of seats in Britain's election but could fall short of a majority in Parliament.
The survey predicts the Conservatives will get 314 seats and the Labour Party 266.
It projects 34 for the Scottish National Party and 14 for the Liberal Democrats.
Based on interviews with voters leaving polling stations across the country, the poll is conducted for a consortium of U.K. broadcasters and regarded as a reliable, though not exact, indicator of the likely result.
If confirmed the result will be a disaster for May, who called a snap election in the hope of increasing her majority.
Polling stations across Britain closed at 10 p.m. (2100GMT) and ballots are being counted, with results due early Friday.
Amid intermittent rain across the country, Britons have been voting in an election in which security has dominated the final days of the campaign.
Experts say Thursday's blustery weather will likely not keep participation down. A high voter turnout was seen as the best hope of the Labour Party to erode the Conservative majority.
The London Bridge attack and the Manchester concert bombing brought security to the forefront. One woman who voted near the site of Saturday's attack in London said the Brexit vote is not what's in "the hearts and minds of Londoners."
But the terror threat was far from the only issue. One voter, 68-year-old Mike Peacroft, said that at his age, he's interested in pensions and health care.
Voters are choosing all 650 members of the House of Commons after Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election, three years ahead of schedule, at a time when her party was well ahead in the polls.
Police have briefly closed off an area of London near Charing Cross station after a suspicious package was found.
The Metropolitan Police said Thursday the incident was not related to terrorism. The package turned out not to be a threat.
There have been increased security patrols throughout London since the attack on London Bridge Saturday night, and security has been stepped up in the runup to the election.
So what is Elmo doing at Prime Minister Theresa May's polling station?
The country's leader was photobombed by a person dressed as the Sesame Street character as she cast her ballot with her husband Philip on the outskirts of Maidenhead, her constituency.
The Elmo costume was worn by the mother of Bobby Smith, a fathers' rights protester, who has used the character to highlight his custody dispute.
Smith, 34, a truck driver, adopted the character as the figurehead of his campaign because by combining the first two letters of his two daughters' first names he could spell Elmo.
His case was featured on the website of the campaigning group, Fathers4Justice.
Many voters are thinking about security as they cast ballots in Britain's general election just days after three extremists killed eight people at London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.
Polls opened nationwide at 7 a.m. to select lawmakers for the House of Commons. The vote was supposed to be dominated by Britain's pending departure from the European Union, but voters are anxiously aware of the threat the country faces from international terrorism following attacks in London and Manchester.
Voter Rachel Sheard, who cast her ballot at a polling station in Borough High Street, says that while the EU was supposed to be at centre stage, "I don't think that's in the hearts and minds of Londoners at the minute, (not) nearly as much as the security is."
Polling stations have opened across Britain in an election to choose a new government.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (0600GMT to 2100GMT) Thursday as voters choose 650 lawmakers for the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap election in hopes of increasing the Conservative Party's slim majority in Parliament, and strengthening her hand in European Union exit talks.
The campaign did not go to plan. May was criticized for lacklustre campaigning and two deadly attacks turned the election into a debate about national security.
May says the Conservatives will build a "stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain," while opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he would govern "for the many, not the few."
Polls suggest Labour has narrowed the Conservatives' lead.