What does a hung parliament mean for Brexit and Ireland?

The Tories' gamble has backfired and made the Brexit process significantly more complicated...

The timeline for the UK's exit from the EU is now up in the air - as the Conservatives face a challenge to form a coalition government.

A British government may not be in place by June 19th, when detailed negotiations with Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier are due to begin.

That start date could be pushed back - but doing so will make the challenge of negotiating a deal within two years more difficult.

Under the terms of Article 50, the two-year deadline for the UK to leave the union can be extended only with the agreement of the other 27 member states.

Coalition negotiations may also require the Tories to soften their ultra-hard Brexit stance.

If Prime Minister Theresa May steps down in the coming days, a Conservative leadership battle could cause further complications.

When Ms May made her shock announcement on April 18th to call a General Election, she said it was "to make a success of Brexit."

Anglo Irish

Throughout the election campaign, the British PM has repeated that Brexit negotiations begin 11 days after the General Election.

At her final rally of the campaign, in Birmingham on Wednesday, she said it again and claimed once more that only she could offer the "strong and stable leadership to get the best deal in Europe".

Throughout the campaign, she repeated the mantra that, "no deal is better than a bad deal," as the UK leaves.

Last night's result could be in Ireland's interest if it lowers the odds of a hard Brexit - or the UK leaving without a trade deal.

That scenario could result in the introduction of trade tariffs between the UK and Ireland.

 

Additional reporting by IRN