PM Theresa May to seek permission to form government - could DUP be kingmakers?

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May

Theresa May will visit Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm to seek permission from the Queen to form a government, a Downing Street spokesman said.

The Prime Minister is to ask the Queen for permission to form a government in the wake of the disastrous snap election which has robbed Conservatives of their overall majority in the House of Commons.

A Downing Street spokesman said that the Prime Minister will visit Buckingham Palace to speak to the sovereign.

Her best prospects of forming a government seemed to rest on a possible arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 MPs would be enough to take the Tories - on 318 seats with one constituency left to declare - past the 326 mark to secure an absolute majority.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, who held Lagan Valley last this morning, told BBC Radio 4 he expects the DUP to be in contact with Tories over weekend: "We're tough negotiators...but we're not selfish."

MORE: DUP relishes prospect of role in hung Parliament – but will back Tories

The move came after it was made clear that Mrs May has no intention of standing down as Conservative leader, despite calls from among her own MPs for her to consider her position.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged her to resign and allow him to form a minority administration, declaring: "We are ready to serve this country."

As the June 8 poll ended in a hung parliament, with no party holding an absolute majority in the House of Commons, Mrs May pledged the Tories would offer "stability" as the largest party with the most votes.

But Jeremy Corbyn said it was clear Labour had won the election and indicated he was ready to put forward a programme for government in an alternative Queen's Speech.

"I think it's pretty clear who won this election," he said at Labour's headquarters in central London.

"We are ready to do everything we can to put our programme into operation, there isn't a parliamentary majority for anybody at the present time, the party that has lost in this election is the Conservative Party, the arguments the Conservative Party put forward in this election have lost.

"I think we need a change."

The Prime Minister's situation appeared precarious as Conservative former minister Anna Soubry said she should "consider her position" and take personal responsibility for a "dreadful" campaign and a "deeply flawed" manifesto after choosing to go to the country three years early in the hope of extending her majority.

But another prominent internal critic, former education secretary Nicky Morgan, said Mrs May should "carry on" and was "entitled" to see whether she can form an administration.

With 649 out of 650 constituencies declared, the Tories had 318 seats, Labour 261, the SNP 35 and the Liberal Democrats 12.