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News Wrap: Exit polls show lead for U.K. Prime Minister May’s party

June 8, 2017 at 6:25 PM EDT
In our news wrap Thursday, British voters went to the polls amid tight security. Exit polling gives the ruling Conservatives a win, but not a majority. Also, authorities say five of the men who carried out attacks in Tehran were Islamic State members who had fought in Syria and Iraq.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to the rest of this day’s news.

The polls have closed in Britain, and voters appear to have delivered a blow to the ruling Conservatives. Exit surveys indicate they are likely to come in first, but lose their majority in Parliament.

Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from London.

MALCOLM BRABANT: After an election campaign punctuated by terrorism, voters went to the polls amid tight security.

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who repeatedly promised strong and stable leadership, cast her ballot in a village west of London.

Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigned on reversing public service cuts and increasing spending on health, schools and police.

JEREMY CORBYN, Leader, Labour Party: It’s a day of our democracy. I have just voted. And I am very proud of our campaign. Thank you very much.

MALCOLM BRABANT: May announced the snap election seven weeks ago.

THERESA MAY, Prime Minister, United Kingdom: The government should call a general election to be held on the 8th of June.

MALCOLM BRABANT: The Tory leader sought a popular mandate to boost her majority in Parliament and negotiating hand in Brexit talks about leaving the European Union.

She began with an overwhelming lead, but then came a series of campaign missteps, and a pair of deadly terror attacks, on a concert in Manchester last month and around London Bridge last weekend.

Some Conservative supporters in May’s constituency west of London were anxious.

LORRAINE PATTON, Conservative Voter: Previously to last weekend, I thought that she’d be doing quite well, but I’m not so sure that she shot herself in the foot now. I’m hoping not, but who knows which way the cookie crumbles.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Meanwhile, Borough Market, where terrorists fatally stabbed people on Saturday, remained closed as voters went to the local polling station.

Conservatives were not expected to do well here. Labor supporters clung to the hope that young voters, energized by Corbyn, might propel him to an unexpected victory nationwide.

SOPHIE STOWERS, Student: If you look at him in comparison with Theresa May, he’s such a principled person. He does what he believes. He follows the politics of unification, not division, and I just prefer so much that outlook.

MALCOLM BRABANT: According to the joint British television exit polls, it looks as though the Conservatives have lost their overall majority, down from 330 seats to 314. Labor is projected to have gained 37 seats, up to 266 in total.

Now these numbers could change as the official results come in. But as it stands right now, Theresa May’s gamble in calling the election seems to have failed. And political experts believe that she may be much diminished by the end of the night. It’s going to be a long and fascinating night — Judy.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Malcolm Brabant in London. And we are certainly going to continue to follow it.

In Iran, authorities says five of the men who carried out attacks in Tehran were Islamic State members who’d fought in Syria and Iraq. ISIS claimed responsibility yesterday after gunmen and suicide bombers struck Parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini. They killed 17 people and wounded 40. Six suspects are in custody, and Iran’s semi-official news agency reports that investigators are examining whether Saudi Arabia was involved.

There’s word of a new atrocity by Islamic State fighters holding out in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The U.N. Human Rights Office reports that ISIS killed more than 200 civilians trying to flee last week, including children running for safety. It also says at least 50 people died in an airstrike in Mosul in late May. It’s unclear who launched the airstrike.

North Korea has fired off another round of missiles, this time short-range anti-ship weapons. The South Korean military says that they flew some 125 miles today before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, had called for reaching out to the North, but, today, he demanded an end to the provocations.

PRESIDENT MOON JAE-IN, South Korea (through interpreter): Our government, as I have already clarified multiple times, will not back off at all or compromise regarding national security and people’s safety. Also, the government will unwaveringly make efforts for complete denuclearization of North Korea’s nuclear weapons through both sanctions and dialogue.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Just yesterday, Moon postponed the full deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system. It’s meant to be a deterrent to North Korea.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to dismantle much of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act. The bill would weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and undo many regulations imposed after the 2008 financial collapse. Republicans say it’s been a burden on small banks and has harmed economic growth. Democrats said it’s discouraged risky lending practices. The measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained about nine points to close at 21182. The Nasdaq rose 24, and the S&P 500 added a fraction.

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