UK general election ends in hung parliament

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The retail industry faces uncertainty after the UK snap general election ended with a hung parliament.

The inconclusive outcome occurred after neither the Labour nor Conservative party reached the 326 MPs required to gain an overall majority in the House of Commons.

Conservative leader Theresa May, who called the snap election in April, is now under pressure to resign from some quarters.

However, May this morning showed no sign that she was ready to step down and insisted her party would ensure that stability was maintained.

The UK could face another election this summer under the rules of the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

Whatever the eventual outcome, the hung parliament result is sure to come as a blow to retailers, who had hoped the election would bring about some stability.

The sector has been through a period of macroeconomic and political turbulence following the 2015 general election and last year’s shock EU referendum result.

Before the nation went to the polls, Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire told Retail Week that stability and confidence is the main thing.  “Retailing is very much dependent on GDP and consumer confidence and if that’s threatened it’s very hard for certainly the bigger retailers to escape.”

Notonthehighstreet boss Simon Belsham said that the practicalities of Brexit and those negotiations with the EU were also of paramount importance for retailers. But the UK’s hand has been weakened with the Tories losing their majority.