Theresa May wore a fixed smile as she arrived for the count in her Maidenhead constituency. Behind her brave face she will have been in near-despair as she surveyed the wreckage of her premiership less than a year after she entered Downing Street. A few days after she went to the country in April, a Tory press officer was dispatched to spread the message that she only needed to lose six seats to lose her majority. No political reporter took him seriously and, as public and private polls alike suggested she was heading towards a huge victory, it was unlikely that he believed his own spin. At 10pm the broadcasters’ exit poll confirmed that the Tories’ fantasy scenario had turned into grim reality for the party. Real results piled on pain for May The real results confirmed its findings and the list of Tory losses in England and Wales accumulated through the night. After a seven-week election campaign Mrs May’s political reputation has been shattered and she will forever remembered as the cautious politician who took an uncharacteristic gamble which rebounded disastrously on her. Such an outcome would have seemed impossible on that sunny day in April when Mrs May called her snap election. She was then enjoying stratospheric popularity ratings, leading Tory admirers to compare her to Margaret Thatcher in her pomp.