Amrit Walia, a 19-year-old history student from Pinner in Harrow, was furious when she woke up to the election result on Friday morning.
The news that the Democratic Unionist Party could prop up a Conservative government was a worse outcome than she had feared. She told BuzzFeed News: “They’re a xenophobic, homophobic, sexist party with 1% of the vote.”
Walia added: “They’re representing the entire country with 1% of the vote. It’s ridiculous. The whole purpose of this election was to get a mandate and Theresa May didn’t get a majority.”
The Tories emerged as the largest party with 318 seats and 42.4% of the vote, but had overall majority. They lost 13 seats compared with 2015.
BuzzFeed News spoke to voters across England about their feelings on the most extraordinary election result in a generation.
Many voters were distraught and bemused to learn that even with Labour increasing their share of the vote, the Conservative government was likely to be dragged further to the right in order to maintain power.
While Theresa May has said she hopes to form a government with the DUP, no deal has yet been finalised.
Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, confirmed the PM had spoken to her on Friday morning and said: “We will enter discussions with the Conservatives to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge.”
Leah Watts, 27, a forklift truck driver from Southwark, southeast London, was visibly upset by the result. “I’m not happy about it,” she said. “I voted Labour and this government will be a lot of rubbish. The DUP will just go along with what the Conservatives say and I’m worried they’ll make them worse.
“I’d not heard of the DUP until I switched the TV on this morning when I woke up at 6.30. I’m so over it.”
Most of the people BuzzFeed News spoke to had no idea who the DUP were when they got up on Friday morning - and were horrified when they found out.
Benjamin Ryan, 33, an electrician from Stoke who voted Labour was on a lunch break in his van talking about the result with his colleague Dan.
Neither of them had heard of the DUP before. Ryan joked: “I think the Conservatives have invented a party so they can carry on.”
He added: “I had to look them up on Google and I’m very worried now I know what they are. They aren’t good on female rights and gay rights. I don’t want them running the country with the other idiots that are already there.”
Caleb Brown, 18, from Newcastle-under-Lyme voted for the first time on Thursday - and chose Labour. The Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who was widely expected to lose his seat, held on to it by just 30 votes.
Brown said: “I’m glad that we’ve got a Labour MP for us but the fact that it’s not for the whole country is upsetting.”
He also had not heard of the DUP before, and said: “I’m not an expert on politics but I can see how something like that will bring the country down. I thought when the Tories ad Lib Dems had a coalition that was bad enough."
Some were regretting the instability a Labour vote had caused.
Tracey Wood, 36, also from Newcastle, said: “I voted Labour but I wish I’d changed my mind now. Then we’d have a stronger government. I’m worried things won’t be stable now.”
Romilly Brown, 49, was debating the result with her mum Yvonne Heath, 73. They live in Longton in Stoke South, where the Conservatives took the seat from Labour.
Brown, who works in a call centre, said: “I voted Labour. I think there’s a lot to worry about with the Conservatives working with the DUP. British people now are getting so racist against Muslims. The amount of racist stuff I see on Facebook is horrendous. I’ve actually deleted it because I’m sick of it.
“I just think it’s bad enough now with this send them back stuff. With the DUP propping up the Conservatives these people have got a voice now.”
Her mother, Heath, is a retired teacher who normally votes Labour but voted Conservative this time. “I voted against Labour," she said. "I think we’ve got a messy time ahead but my biggest worry was Jeremy Corbyn in, I can’t stand the man.”
She said she was unbothered by the DUP working with government. “If you think about the amount of power the Lib Dems had with the Conservatives, I don’t think there’s much to worry about.”
Emily Dugan is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Emily Dugan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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