Jeremy Corbyn: "We are ready to serve the country"

The leader of the Labour party has given his reaction to the General Election results

Jeremy Corbyn: "We are ready to serve the country"

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn receives a hug from his Office Director Karie Murphy as he arrives at Labour Party HQ in Westminster, London. Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn says he is "ready to serve the country" but refused to be drawn on whether he would try to form a minority government.

Following a disastrous night for the Conservatives, Mr Corbyn reiterated his call for the Prime Minister to resign as he claimed it was "pretty clear who won this election".

Mr Corbyn said his party had made no deals or pacts, but added: "We are ready to do everything we can to put our programme into operation."

He said: "Parliament must meet and Parliament will have to take a decision on what happens, when a government puts forward the Queen's Speech, we will put forward our point of view, we are of course ready to serve."

Asked about Brexit talks due to begin on 19 June, Mr Corbyn said they "will have to go ahead" and called for a "jobs-first" agreement with the EU.

The Tories remain the biggest party with 318 seats and Labour currently have 261 - with 326 required for a majority and one seat left to be called.

Though Labour fell well short of a majority, the party pulled off a shock and defied pollsters by increasing its vote share by 9.5% and making gains across the country.

In one of the biggest surprises of the night, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat to Labour's 25-year-old candidate Jared O'Mara.

Elsewhere, rising Conservative star Ben Gummer - one of the architects of Theresa May's manifesto - lost to Labour in Ipswich by 831 votes.

In Canterbury, Labour edged out the Tories by 187 votes to win the constituency for the first time since it was formed in 1918.

Kensington, a seat which the Conservatives have held since 1974, is also in play for Mr Corbyn's party as it has gone to a third recount.

In Scotland, Labour bounced back from its near collapse in 2015 - gaining East Lothian, Midlothian, Rutherglen & Hamilton West, Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill, Glasgow North East and Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath.

Earlier, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour was "ready to form a government" and described any possible Conservative-Democratic Unionist Party arrangement as a "coalition of chaos".

Additional reporting from IRN