Factbox: Unusual moments from a turbulent UK election

LONDON (Reuters) - A surprise hung parliament, misfiring high fives and candidates in costume - Britain’s general election night had it all.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waits with other candidates for the result of the vote in her constituency at the count centre for the general election in Maidenhead, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Here are a selection of the quirky moments that captured the attention of the British public.


Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party emerged as unlikely kingmakers from Thursday’s election after British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives entered talks with them about forming a government after failing to win a majority.

The announcement created a surge of interest in the DUP, the most searched topic on Google UK on Friday morning. The increased traffic led to the DUP website crashing.


After reading out the list of votes for each candidate, the returning officer in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, then announced Labour’s Alan Meale the winner. She promptly corrected herself, announcing that Conservative Ben Bradley had in fact triumphed amid barracking shouts from the crowd.

The moment recalled the mix-up that saw the wrong Best Picture award-winner announced at this year’s Oscars ceremony.

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British politics is no stranger to eccentric characters and Thursday’s election was no exception.

A man known only as Lord Buckethead, dressed in a homemade Darth Vader-style costume capped with a large bucket, ran against Prime Minister Theresa May in her Maidenhead constituency with fellow costume wearers Howling ‘Laud’ Hope and Bobby ‘Elmo’ Smith.

Buckethead appeared on stage with May as results were announced and he celebrated his 294-vote tally.

May was not the only leader to share the stage with unconventional rival. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron edged Conservative and Labour opponents as well as one Mr Fishfinger for the northwest English seat of Westmorland and Lonsdale.


With the competition for some seats fierce, some candidates made it to parliament by the thinnest of margins. The Scottish National Party’s Stephen Gethins won the Fife North East seat by a mere two votes, while his colleague Pete Wishart defeated Conservative Ian Duncan in the Perth & North Perthshire race by only 21 votes.

Further south, Conservative Zac Goldsmith ousted Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney with a 45-vote majority, in a race that saw more than 60,000 votes cast.


Despite a better-than-expected performance for his party at the polls, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did have one embarrassing moment on election night. A failed attempt at a high-five resulted in Corbyn slapping colleague Emily Thornberry in the chest, an image that was widely shared on social media.


As news the result spread, Twitter were quick to react to May’s Conservative Party losing its parliamentary majority, with a Tweets-per-minute spike of 12,633 greeting the exit poll just after 10 pm.

May’s most retweeted message of the campaign was a post from May 20 (@theresa_may) in which the prime minister warned: “If I lose just six seats I will lose this election and Jeremy Corbyn will be sitting down to negotiate with Europe”. It was retweeted 19,000 times.

Her gamble to call the snap election was mocked by many users, including former England soccer player Gary Lineker (@garyLineker) who posted: “I think Theresa May has won own goal of the season.” The post was retweeted more than 27,000 times.


The surge in the vote for Corbyn’s Labour party was attributed to a surge in turnout among voters aged 18-24, according to polling by Sky News.

Video clips of young people, including students at the London School of Economics, celebrating news of a hung parliament were shared widely on social media on Friday.

Compiled by Mark Hanrahan and Patrick Johnston; Editing by Tom Heneghan