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Some colleagues may be lining up to replace her, although a party source said the post was seen as too much of a poisoned chalice for the time being. Will she stay on?

When a party doesn't have a majority it can strike a deal with another party to form a government.

When asked in the early hours of Friday whether Mrs May should remain as Prime Minister, he said: "It's early days". It may well be able to form a minority government with the help of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party in the coming days and weeks, but the prime minister's ability to cling to the keys of Number 10 Downing Street is very much in doubt, and her stated goal of unifying the country behind her ahead of the upcoming Brexit negotiations with European Union leaders is utterly out of reach.

May's Downing St. office said Conservative Chief Whip Gavin Williamson was in Belfast Saturday for talks with the DUP "on how best they can provide support to the government". In 2010, the Conservative and the Liberal Democrats entered into a formal coalition government.

European Union leaders expressed fears that May´s shock loss of her majority would raise the risk of negotiations failing.

Her real reason was likely that she wanted to strengthen her own position, and that of the Conservative Party, by picking up additional seats in Parliament. Well, May is going to attempt to form an agreement with the 10 MPs that were elected from the Democratic Unionist Party, or DUP.

The DUP, which May referred to as her "friends", was non-committal in its initial remarks.

Analysts say May's electoral debacle could reopen what had seemed largely a closed debate - both with pro-EU members of Parliament trying to take advantage of the prime minister's weakness and Euro-skeptic government ministers threatening her if she dares water down a Brexit deal.

While the party backed Britain's exit from the European Union, it has pushed back in the past against a "hard Brexit".

She's then got to present a programme to Parliament. And what if a new government with a fresh political mandate steps in and wants to renegotiate some parts of the divorce deal, nullifying whatever progress may have been made in the past months? They have ties to right-wing paramilitary groups and despise Jeremey Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, considering him to be an "IRA Cheerleader".

"We don't know when Brexit talks start", Tusk tweeted.

On Twitter, Siegfried Muresan, spokesman for the European Parliament's largest grouping, the European People's Party, said, "EU did not want #Brexit, but has been prepared to negotiate it since past year". The result ended his career and shocked Europe.

May, a 60-year-old vicar's daughter, is now facing questions over her judgement in calling the election three years early and throwing away her party's slim but stable working majority of 17. However, Mr Barnier stated that talks can only begin when the UK is ready whilst EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger (Budget and Human Resources) doubted that the UK can get its "act together" in time: "We need a UK government that can act".

"For me it's a sign that Brexit can be stymied and kicked into the long grass", said Bernstein.

The senior Conservative source blamed the party's over-dependency on the tight messaging demanded by election guru Lynton Crosby for failing to endear Ms May to voters tired of elections and rattled by two militant attacks in as many weeks. It was a humiliating outcome after an election that May had meant to strengthen her ahead of the Brexit push.

When May called the election in April, she did so with the Conservatives riding high in the polls, and the pound had surged on expectations that a big majority for the Conservatives would allow her to quell the so-called euroskeptics in her parliamentary ranks.

Young voters are fed up with squeezed incomes, and many didn't want to leave the EU, Page said.

In the late stages of the campaign, Britain was hit by two Islamist militant attacks that killed 30 people in Manchester and London, temporarily shifting the focus onto security issues.