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Britons vote in election

Final survey shows PM May's Conservative Party widening its lead over Labour

LONDON Britons voted yesterday in a snap election predicted to give Prime Minister Theresa May a larger parliamentary majority, which she hopes will strengthen her hand in the looming divorce talks with the European Union.

A final survey gave Mrs May's Conservative Party a lead of eight points over Labour.

The Conservatives had as much as a 24 point lead when the snap election was called by Mrs May on April 18.

But Ipsos MORI's final 2017 election survey for the London Evening Standard, which was undertaken on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, put the Conservatives on 44 per cent and Labour on 36. Ipsos MORI polled 1,291 people.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll that was published on Wednesday evening put the Tories on 42 per cent and Mr Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party on 35, a lead of seven points, reported The Telegraph.

If those results are replicated at the polls, the Conservatives would end up with an increased majority of about 50 seats, up on the 17 the party enjoyed previously.

The YouGov survey for The Times, which was undertaken between June 5-7 put the Liberal Democrats on 10 per cent and Ukip on 5 per cent, reported The Telegraph.

The YouGov poll falls somewhere in the middle of a range of other surveys which all predict a Conservative win but by different margins.

The final Survation poll had the Tories and Labour almost neck and neck on 41 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

An ICM poll for The Guardian had Mrs May's party on 46 per cent with Labour on 34 per cent.

But as many as one in five voters were still undecided, after the seven-week campaign was overshadowed in the later stages by two Islamist attacks that killed 30 people in Manchester and London.

Yesterday, Mrs May smiled but did not speak to the media as she and her husband voted in the village of Sonning on the River Thames in her Maidenhead constituency.

Mr Corbyn grinned broadly and gave the thumbs-up to reporters and party workers as he voted in Islington in north London. "I am very proud of our campaign," he said.

DEFENSIVE

Both main parties were on the defensive after last Saturday's van and knife attack in London.

Mrs May faced questions over cuts in the number of police officers during her six years as interior minister, and Mr Corbyn drew criticism for, among other things, voting against some counter-terrorism legislations.

In the final hours of campaigning, both leaders returned to their core campaign messages.

"If we get Brexit right, we can build a Britain that is more prosperous and more secure, a Britain in which prosperity and opportunity is shared by all," Mrs May said.

She wants a personal mandate and a parliamentary majority bigger than the one she inherited from predecessor David Cameron.

Provided she wins, she will have averted at least one risk - by pushing back the date of the following election to 2022 rather than 2020 as originally planned, ensuring she will not face crunch time in the Brexit talks at the same time as an election.

Some in the European Union are hoping Mrs May increases her majority, on the basis that the main risk for the bloc is a collapse in talks, and that is more easily avoided with a British government that is not vulnerable at home.

"We need a government strong enough to negotiate," a senior European Union lawmaker told Reuters.

But others sought to downplay the impact of the election regardless of the outcome, suggesting that it was little more than a domestic political sideshow.

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