The pound has plunged sharply on the exit poll, as markets start to come to terms with the idea that Theresa May might have blown it. It’s 1.7 per cent down against the dollar, 1.8 per cent against the Euro – expect those gains to deepen if tonight’s results confirm the results of the exit poll. For a simple reason: Theresa May asked for a general election to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations. If the public refuses to do so, she will be hugely weakened in the biggest negotiation that any Prime Minister has had to undertake. If, indeed, she survives long enough to undertake it – which is by no means certain if she does worse than David Cameron managed to do against Ed Miliband. She will have taken a position of strength and blown it, with a campaign centred around her rather than the Conservative Party where her own missteps mocked her “strong and stable” mantra. An election she promised not to hold, then did without consulting anyone in her party.
As James says, her party will be incandescent. There could be another general election soon – so much more instability. Her decision to call a general election will be seen as one of the biggest miscalculations in the history of the Conservative party. If this exit poll is correct, the pound’s fall tonight will be the start of the instability. But Lynton Crosby, whose data was better than that of the pollsters in 2015, is apparently confident that the exit poll is wrong. Stay tuned.