, LONDON, United Kingdom, Jun 9 – At the Blue Boar pub in Westminster, Theresa May cocktails were in the lead on election night, even if early results suggested the British prime minister could lose her overall parliamentary majority.
Staring up at an array of television screens as if watching the football, well-heeled punters sipped election-themed cocktails in one of many political late-night parties in bars up and down the country.
As the night wore on, waiter Mickael said Theresa’s Kitten Heel Fizz — a Conservative blue mix of champagne and curacao — was well ahead of Corbyn’s Reign, comprising vodka and strawberry juice in Labour red.
“The Theresa cocktail wins by a landslide,” he said.
As the exit poll announcement loomed, punters clustered around the screens and conversations fell silent.
When forecasters suggested no party had won an overall majority, some lowered their heads in disappointment while others were jubilant.
The poll showed the Conservatives falling from 330 to 314 seats, short of an overall majority. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party was second but estimated to be on course to increase its number of seats from 229 to 266.
“I am super, super happy!” said Sarah Holmes, 26.
“It is such a payback for me. In 2015, these guys were cheering and I was crying and now I’m cheering and they are crying,” she said.
“We managed to hold the Tories off, and also we’re going to get rid of Theresa May,” she said, as speculation grew that May would have to resign if the exit poll was confirmed in final results.
But other bar-goers in this wealthy central London constituency were in a despondent mood.
Chris Douse, 28, said the result of the exit poll was “pretty shocking”.
“I was anticipating over 100” as a majority for the Conservatives, he said.
“I was quite bullish. I was fairly confident that the polls were wrong,” he added.
“If the Conservatives maintain a majority, I’ll be happy. But if there is a hung parliament, it is probably the worst situation for Britain.”
Helene Thomas also said it was a “shock”.
“We have a whole evening to go through and it could be uncertain, but it’s looking pretty bad right now.
“I feel my worst nightmare came true.
“I will drink all along the night. We are British, so, you know how it goes.”
– ‘A terrific night’ –
The mood was a lot more festive at the headquarters of the ‘Best for Britain’ initiative.
The crowd-funded campaign supported candidates across the board who pledged to fight against a hard Brexit — where Britain would remain inside the European single market and allow immigration.
“I’m celebrating, I’ve had a lot of drinks, very few, tiny things to eat, and a lot of alcohol,” Samantha Ostra told AFP.
A few hours earlier, the 45-year-old was in the disputed constituency of Richmond, in southeast London, encouraging young people to vote.
Two floors above, her fellow campaigners continued to studiously keep track of the results.
“Since it is quite surprising, I am cautiously happy,” said Eloise Todd, the CEO of Best for Britain.
“I am still wanting to see some key seats to understand exactly what’s going on, but if it stays like this, it is a terrific night,” she added.