Seven weeks after Theresa May called a surprise snap election, the UK has taken to the polls in the 2017 General Election.

Fresh Business Thinking editor, Michael Baxter, and former editor, Jonathan Davies, are live throughout the night bringing you the latest news from the election results and analysis of what the vote means for businesses.

You can get involved in the conversation on Twitter @freshbusiness, or email us on editor@freshbusinessthinking.com.

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06:40 - That's all from us here...

We're ending our live coverage here. We'll have analysis and reaction on the website throughout the day.

06:01 - What does this mean for business?

We'll be looking at this in a lot more detail later today, but in the long-term, we simply don't know what this election result means for businesses and the UK economy. At this stage, we don't know who will be leading our government for the next five years.

In the short-term, it's not good. Financial markets and currencies don't like uncertainty. And that is exactly what this result has created. The value of the pound has teetered between 1.5% and 2% down against the US dollar ever since the Exit Poll was published.

It'll be interesting to see what the FTSE 100 does when it opens in a few hours.

05:57 - What happens now?

Theresa May will remain Prime Minister, for the time being. As the incumbent, she and her party will have the opportunity to try to form a government, possibly with support from the DUP. If the Conservatives are then able to get the Queen's Speech through Parliament, they will continue to govern the country.

If Theresa May is unable to agree on support from the DUP and get a Queen's Speech through the Commons, she will have no choice but to resign.

Of course, that is based on the assumption that Ms May will be allowed by her party to continue as leader. They may force her out before she gets to that point. She may choose to step down herself.

What is clear, is that the story of this election is far from over.

05:53 - It's official - The 2017 General Election ends in a hung Parliament

It is now mathematically impossible for the Conservatives to achieve a majority.

05:34 - Hung Parliament

At 5:34 in the morning, after a long, long night, the BBC has called the result as a hung Parliament. It's now just a case of how many seats the Conservatives end up with, and whether or not the DUP can get them over the 326 line.

05:26 - Radio silence from senior Tories

Interesting that the BBC are reporting senior Conservative Party members, including Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond and David Davis, have all rejected interview requests this morning.

Don't forget, there have been rumblings throughout the night from quite early on, that Boris Johnson has been speaking to Conservative MPs about their support for a possible leadership bid.

05:24 - It's the economy stupid

The UK economy grew at 0.2% in the first quarter, which was the slowest growth rate in the G7. Maybe the lesson of this election is that the economy matters. As Bill Clinton's strategist James Carville said: "It's the economy stupid." People who were so sure of a Tory landslide may have been stupid to forget this.

05:17 - The polls were alright

After all the scepticism surrounding opinion polls and the Exit Poll following the 2015 General Election and EU Referendum, it seems this year's Exit Poll is going to be pretty much on the money. There or thereabouts, at least.

And it's almost certain now that we will be left with a hung Parliament.

05:10 - The Conservatives lose another minister!

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood has lost the Oxford West and Abingdon seat to the Liberal Democrats. That's six ministers lost by Theresa May and the Tories in this election.

05:05 - The final 50

We're edging towards the end of this election, with just 50 constituencies still to declare their result. But that doesn't mean we're any closer to finding out what the government will look like, or who our Prime Minister will be.

04:58 - Rejection of hard Brexit

Understandably, there's a lot of talk about where this election leaves Brexit negotiations, which are due to start in nine days. Former Lib Dem leader, Paddy Ashdown, has question plans for 'hard Brexit'.

04:54 - Amber Rudd holds on

After recounts, we finally have a result from Hastings & Rye and Home Secretary Amber Rudd has held her seat with a majority of just a few hundred votes.

04:41 - The latest forecasts... As we approach 5am, with less than 80 seats to declare, the BBC has updated its forecast for the final result.

  • Conservatives - 316 (down 15, down 2 from previous forecast)
  • Labour - 265 (up 33, down 2 from previous forecast)
  • SNP - 34 (down 22)
  • Liberal Democrats - 13 (up 5)
  • Plaid Cymru - 3 (no change)
  • Green - 1 (no change)
  • UKIP - 0 (down 1)
  • Other (18)

04:35 - 'A dreadful campaign'

Anna Soubry, who we thought could've lost her seat in Broxtowe, has been pretty scathing in her analysis of the Conservative campaign. She says she is being 'pretty generous' describing the Party's campaign as "dreadful" and "appalling". When asked if Theresa May can continue as Prime Minister, she says, stone-faced, 'That's for her to decide'.

04:23 - Labour beats Conservatives to young and old vote

All the talk before this election was about the importance of the young vote for the Labour Party. But astonishingly, Labour made stronger gains than the Conservatives among young voters AND the over 65s.

04:17 - Alex Salmond loses his seat

Former SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, has lost his seat in Gordon to the Conservatives.

04:12 - How long until the next election?

When she called this election, Theresa May said she did it to ensure a mandate for the Brexit negotiations, and that was to be with an increased majority. It's looking increasingly unlikely that she will not have an increased majority, nor a majority at all. Members of her party are now saying her position is untenable. If she resigns, surely her replacement will require a majority and a mandate?

03:58 - Let's look at Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland could have a crucial role to play in this election. Sinn Fein's 6 MPs won't appear in Parliament, which effectively means the Conservatives don't quite need 326 members for a majority. And the DUP has won 10 seats, two more than forecast. The DUP has previously expressed openness to helping the Conservatives.

03:53 - SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon piles the pressure on Theresa May, adding to criticisms of her decision to call this election to increase the Tory majority.

03:48 - Peter Kellner says it looks like the Conservatives will gain around 44% of the total vote across the country, the same as Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher's landslide election wins. But the 'return to two party politics in England is crucifying them'.

03:41 - IndyRef2 still on the cards

Despite losing seats, and forecast to lose more, the SNP's Alex Salmond still believes a second Scottish Independence Referendum will happen. It's just a question of timing, he says. Like Jeremy Corbyn, the former Scottish First Minister also suggests that Theresa May cannot continue as Prime Minister if she fails to secure a majority.

03:28 - A new forecast...

The BBC has revised its forecast again. The Conservatives less likely to achieve a majority again. It had raised it to 322, but it's now back down to 318 with Labour on 267. Meanwhile, Labour has gained Canterbury for the first time ever. Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, has held onto his seat with a majority of just 777. And UKIP leader Paul Nuttall finishes a distant third behind the Tories and Labour.

03:24 - Stuttering and shaking Theresa May

It's quite clear that the Prime Minister does not expect to win an outright majority. She said it would be "incumbent of us" to form a government. She says the country 'needs a period of stability'. The Prime Minister stuttered throughout her speech, clearly shaken, quivering almost. Complete contrast to the upbeat, confident, positive nature of Corbyn's.

03:18 - Theresa May's seat is being declared...

It'll be interesting to see what she says in her acceptance speech. She's won her seat, but Theresa May looks absolutely dismayed as the counts are read out.

03:07 - Corbyn calls for Theresa May to step down!

In a speech after his re-election was confirmed, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the results of this election are 'enough [for Theresa May] to go'. He said she called this election to increase her majority, and for a mandate, but now has lost Conservative seats and lost confidence.

03:03 - A shock gain for Labour

Labour has gained Ipswich from the Conservative heartland. Ben Gummer put together the Conservative manifesto and some say could've been the new Brexit Secretary in a cabinet reshuffle. But he's lost his seat in a result that no one expected.

02:54 - Vince Cable is back

As we thought, former Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable has regained the Twickenham seat from the Conservatives. Just before Cable's seat was declared, Nick Clegg was giving a rather rousing speech, calling for parties to 'reach out to each other' to 'avoid unprecedented years of hardship'.

02:45 - Nick Clegg loses

It was rumoured earlier in the night, but it has now been confirmed that Nick Clegg - the man who was Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Lib Dems two years ago - has lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam to Labour. The Lib Dems are also concerned that their current leader, Tim Farron, will also lose his seat.

02:42 - Third count for Amber Rudd?

Amber Rudd has been the big, rolling story of the night. We're now hearing that her team is demanding a THIRD count.

02:27 - Woe for Sturgeon

Some quite extraordinary results coming out of Scotland. The SNP losing seats and losing big majorities where it's holding onto seats. The Conservatives haven't had more than one MP in Scotland for decades, but they're making ground and gaining seats. Don't forget, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU referendum, but the Conservatives are looking to lead a 'hard Brexit'.

02:16 - Some interesting developments

The BBC has now altered its forecast. It now believes the Conservatives will win 322 seats, still short of a majority. However, Laura Kuenssberg is saying that Conservative HQ is quietly admitting that it will not beat the initial Exit Poll of 314.

02:10 - It's time to get busy

Now we're firmly into the hour of 2am, the declarations are going to start coming thick and fast. We've still got a long and fascinating night ahead.

02:02 - We're having some fascinating results tonight...

The middle class is turning to Labour. The working class is turning to the Conservatives. The younger voters are clobbering the Conservatives. Final result depends on whether Labour can hold onto their traditional heartlands but which voted Leave, and whether Tories can hold onto previous safe seats that voted Remain. And we're consistently seeing UKIP voters moving to Labour.

01:53 - Betfair backs Corbyn

Whatever the outcome, it looks like a great night for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn. But Betfair is going one step further and has actually made him FAVOURITE to become the next Prime Minister.

01:36 - A damning assessment of May Some reports are suggesting that Tory sources are saying they've lost every single marginal constituency visited by the Prime Minister during the campaign.

01:33 - Here's a lesson for entrepreneurs... At the moment, it looks like it's all going wrong for Theresa May, even though she'll still have the largest party. But she took a huge risk in playing it safe. Not taking a risk is a risky thing to do. She avoided risk in this election by being very careful not to say anything contentious and she is being punished.

01:27 - A few names for the business community There's talk that Anna Soubry could lose her seat in Broxtowe. She served as Small Business Minister after the 2015 election until Theresa May's reshuffle. And Vince Cable, who I'm sure you'll remember was the Business Secretary in the coalition government, is likely to return to Parliament. He lost his seat in 2015.

01:21 - Rudd looking worried Amber Rudd has now arrived at the vote count in her constituency of Hastings & Rye. She tells the BBC she 'won't engage' in conversations with media until she's 'clearer about where the vote is'. All the talk suggests she is in real trouble, and there could be a recount. Boy did she look worried miserable, almost shaking!

01:17 - UKIP and turnout hold the key to this election We're still in the very early stages of this election, but it's becoming very clear that a big turnout and where former UKIP voters go are going to be the biggest drivers in this election result. Another huge factor could be a so-called 'revenge' vote for Labour from Remainers.

01:13 - The first change of hands! Now just over 20 seats declared and we have the first seat to be gained (or lost, depending on your outlook). Labour has won Rutherglen & Hamilton West from the SNP after the Conservatives took away some of the nationalist vote.

01:09 - Labour hold another Conservative target The Conservatives were quite confident of taking Wrexham in North Wales, but Labour have held on with a majority of just over 1,800. Theresa May visited this area of the country a few times during the campaign.

00:55 - Mayor of London to MP to Foreign Secretary to Conservative Leader and Prime Minister? We have a long, long, long way to go in this election. BUT, we are hearing that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is already sounding out Conservative MPs for their support in a possible leadership bid, should Theresa May's position become untenable. Various bookmakers are cutting odds on Johnson becoming the next Prime Minister. Sky Bet had him at 66/1 at 5:30pm today; he's now at 5/1.

00:52 - Labour hold a big Conservative target Labour have held onto Darlington, which was a big target for the Conservatives in the North East. Many saying that taking Darlington would have been a big signal of an increased majority for the Tories. As we've already said this evening, much of this election could hinge on what former UKIP voters decide to do.

00:48 - How is sterling doing? For businesses, one of the biggest things business owners and entrepreneurs will look to when the dust settles after this election is the value of sterling. Shaken by the possibility of a hung parliament, the pound dropped two cents against the US dollar when the exit poll was published. It did recover somewhat, but as of 00:45, it's down two cents again compared with 24 hours ago.

00:39 - North vs south Based on results so far, and results expected to come in, in the next few hours, analysts suggest there is evidence of a north-south divide between the Conservatives and Labour. But not in the way you'd think. Labour are showing signs of strong performance in the south, while the Tories are doing better than expected up north. He might not be in government anymore, but maybe George Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse' struck a chord with voters. Based on results so far, and results expected in come in the next few hours, analysts suggest there is evidence of a north-south divide between the Conservatives and Labour. But not in the way you'd think. Labour are showing signs of strong performance in the south, while the Tories are doing better than expected up north. He might not be in government anymore, but maybe George Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse' struck a chord with voters.

00:34 - Dr Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, has told the BBC that results so far suggest we are returning to 'two party politics' in the UK.

00:30 - Youngest MP in trouble? Rumours also suggest the SNP's Mhairi Black, who was the youngest MP, could be at risk of losing her seat to Labour. A few months ago, she said she may not even run for re-election, dismayed at the speed (or lack thereof) with which Parliament can get things done.

00:25 - Tories losing ministers? So we know Amber Rudd is in trouble, there's talk of a recount possibly taking place in Hastings and Rye. But two more Conservative ministers are concerned about their seats - Jane Ellison and Ben Gummer. Mr Gummer is actually the minister in charge of putting together the Conservative manifesto.

00:00 - The story so far As we leave polling day and enter Friday 9 June, let's look at some of the main talking points from the 2017 General Election so far:

      • Exit Poll suggests Conservatives will be the largest party in a hung parliament

      • Labour forecast to win 266 seats

      • The pound fell against the US dollar and euro after Exit Pol

      • Just five seats have declared so far

      • Rumours suggest Home Secretary Amber Rudd could lose her seat

      • Former deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg also understood to be in trouble

      • As many as 1,000 university students in Newcastle-under-Lyme are reported to have been told they were not on the polling list and were turned away from polling stations

23:59 - Conservatives on the board There's the first Tory declaration of a very long night. A hold in Swindon North, but a better than expected swing to Labour.

23:54 - Clegg no more? Another potential big story tonight - Lib Dems are concerned that former leader, and deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government don't forget, Nick Clegg, could lose his seat in Sheffield Hallam.

23:50 - "Brexit in jeopardy"

23:45 - 100+ majority for the Tories? Peter Kellner, former president of YouGov, who is appearing on BBC tonight, has said that if the Exit Poll is as wrong as it has been in the three seats to declare so far, the Conservatives could end up with a majority of 100 or more.

23:35 - Greens rule out Tory support With the Exit Poll predicting a hung parliament, there are a lot of calculations on which parties Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn could turn to, to form a majority. But the Conservatives won't be able to rely on the Green Party. Co-leader Caroline Lucas had this to say:

23:29 - Amber warning? It looks like one of the big stories of the night could be in Hastings and Rye, the seat of Home Secretary Amber Rudd. All the talk is that she may be in real danger. This reminds us of when whispers that Ed Balls was in trouble started in 2015. Remember, just last week, Theresa May saw fit to send Amber Rudd to the TV debate in her place.

23:17 - Does May have a future? We joked about whether Theresa May would resign before Donald Trump is impeached a short time ago, but the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg is reporting that a senior Conservative figure has told her 'Theresa May will not be allowed to contest the next general election as leader, regardless of today's outcome, because of her failures in this campaign'.

23:11 - One thing that's very clear, in the North East at least, is a crash in the UKIP vote. Where UKIP voters go could be crucial in plenty of seats.

23:07 - If you're wondering why Sunderland South wasn't the first to declare, it is understood that the turnout was up 5%. Obviously, more turnout means more votes to count! Oh here they are - unsurprisingly, Labour hold a safe seat. But again, it seems at odds with the Exit Poll, which predicted a 3.5% swing to Labour, but the same number went in favour of the Conservatives.

23:00 - The first result is in! Labour hold Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central has beaten Sunderland South to the first declaration. Labour gets its first MP, Chi Onwurah. In her acceptance speech, she remembers Jo Cox and those who lost their lives in Manchester and London recently. Analysts suggesting the result is, in fact, better than the Exit Poll suggests for the Conservatives. Exit Poll suggested a 7% swing to Labour, but it was just 2%.

22:55 - Trump or Theresa? With things looking dire for President Trump, and Theresa May facing the possibility of a lost majority, are we watching a race between the two? Will May resign before Trump is impeached?

22:54 - Blair's spin doctor has had his say...

22:47 - An important point about the Exit Poll...

The BBC is reporting that as many as 76 seats are 'too close to call'. That's a lot of seats, ones that could dramatically change the outcome of this election.

22:37 - The pound has already fallen against the US dollar and euro after the Exit Poll. It's important to understand that that isn't the markets saying 'we don't want a Labour government', it's them not wanting uncertainty. And the Exit Poll is showing just that... the uncertainty of a hung parliament.

22:30 - Let's take a look at the economic outcome from this result, particularly the impact on sterling.

A Tory landslide will see conditions return to what they were like a few weeks ago: before sterling began falling as opinions polls showed the Tory lead diminishing. So, a Tory landslide will probably lead to sterling rising. A small Conservative win will hand more influence to the hard Brexit camp. This will, theoretically, lead to a fall in sterling, but may be good for equities especially multinationals listed in the UK. The effect of a hung parliament will depend on which party moves into third place. If UKIP does well, this will support hard Brexit, putting sterling under pressure. If the Lib Dems or SNP do well, the odds of a soft Brexit rise, which on paper will be good for sterling. Then again, a hung parliament means uncertainty, which never goes down well with the markets. A Labour win will come as a shock. Markets may initially sell, but then on paper, this will lead to a softer Brexit. All else being equal, this would be good for sterling, but the markets can be quite fickle.

22:23 - Some more reaction from someone who lost their seat two years ago. Ed Balls has said "If this [Exit Poll] is right there'll be another election soon." Not sure we can take another one!

22:18 - While the Prime Minister repeatedly said this election was about Brexit, Lib Dems' Scottish Mike Rumbles has said, if the Exit Poll is correct, the idea of a second Scottish Independence referendum is 'dead in the water'. The SNP look set to lose 22 seats according to the Exit Poll.

22:08 - Theresa May hoped this election would see the Conservatives increase their majority in the House of Commons. If the Exit Poll is correct, this election has been a disaster for her. It's worth noting that the 'Progressive Alliance', an idea rejected by opposition party leaders, would have 318 seats, more than the Tories' 314.

22:01 - The Exit Poll suggests the Conservative Party WILL NOT have a majority:

  • Conservatives - 314 seats (12 short of a majority)
  • Labour - 266 seats (up 30)
  • Liberal Democrats - 14 seat
  • SNP - 34 seats
  • Plaid Cymru - 3 seats
  • Green Party - 1 seat
  • UKIP - 0 seats

22:00 - That's it! The polls have closed. However, anyone who joined the queue before 10pm will be allowed to cast their vote.

21:58 - The Electoral Commission has responded to the controversy in Newcastle-under-Lyme:

21:45 - With 15 minutes left until the polls close, let's have a look at how the night will run...

  • 10pm - Polls close, although anyone who joined the polling station queue before the cut off will be allowed to vote.
  • 10:05-10:10(ish) - The Exit Poll will be published. Although you've been reading about polls for weeks, this is the big one. It surveys roughly 10x the number of people than regular polls, and it is taken as people leave the polling stations - meaning they have cast their vote, rather than surveying voting intention.
  • 10:40-10:50(ish) - We'll get the first declaration from Sunderland South. It's always the first constituency to declare, and it'll be hoping to break its own record.
  • 11pm-2am - Don't expect a great deal in these few hours. A few results will start to come in, but not a great deal. Most TV coverage will feature various party candidates reacting to the Exit Poll and early results.
  • 2am-4am - This is when the declarations come thick and fast. So fast that you'll struggle to keep up.
  • 4am - By this point, we'll have a clear idea of which way this election is going. Whether it's a landslide for one party, or whether we're heading for a tight, tight race.

21:37 - The biggest drama of the day so far appears to be in the constituency Newcastle-under-Lyme, where reports suggest as many as 1,000 students have been turned away from the polling stations. As if that wasn't enough drama, it's one of the country's key marginal seats.

Keele University students, who claim they registered before the deadline, were told their name was not on polling lists.

But reports now say the council has sent new lists to polling stations, meaning they can return and cast their vote.

Labour candidate Paul Farrelly has already said he will be reporting the issue to the Electoral Commission.

21:30 - Good evening and welcome to Fresh Business Thinking's live coverage of the 2017 General Election!

We're sitting comfortably, we've got plenty of coffee and sugary snacks to keep us going over the next, oooh, 18 hours or so!