London (CNN)British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will take time to "reflect" on how to move forward after a surprise snap election result left the Conservative Party without a majority, and apologized to members of Parliament who lost their seats.
Theresa May to 'reflect' after disastrous election result
But after a day of high drama across the country, May insisted Friday that her party was still in pole position to lead, despite falling short by eight seats and having to turn to Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for backing.
"As I reflect on the result, I will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward," May said. "I obviously wanted a different result."
"I'm sorry for all those candidates and hard-working party workers who weren't successful, but particularly sorry for those colleagues who were MPs and ministers who'd contributed so much to our country and who lost their seats and didn't deserve to lose their seats," May added.
Instead of opting for a post-election shuffle, the Prime Minister retained key figures in her cabinet.
Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Brexit Secretary David Davis have all been kept on in their roles.
The election outcome is an embarrassing turn for May who called the vote three years earlier than required, to give her a strong position in Brexit negotiations. Opinion polls had suggested she had a commanding lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, but Corbyn will be judged more of a winner than May.
With Brexit talks due to start in just 10 days, Brussels appeared to be braced for them to be pushed back.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said he hoped there would be no further delays, and that the result of the UK general election would not have a "major impact on the negotiations we are desperately waiting for."
One of the lead EU negotiators, Guy Verhofstadt, criticized May on Twitter, writing: "Yet another own goal, after Cameron now May, will make already complex negotiations even more complicated."
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, added: "We don't know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end."
The result also prompted criticism of May from within her own ranks as well as from the opposition.
George Osborne, the former finance minister who stepped down at the election, told ITV that the results were "catastrophic" for his party. Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP, said May would have to consider her position.
Conservative MP Nigel Evans told CNN his party shot itself "in the head" with an "irrelevant" manifesto, which was peppered with "arsenic."
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the early results showed May had lost her mandate and called for her to resign.
"People have said they have had quite enough of austerity politics," he said, repeating his campaign promises to push for better funding for health and education.
Labour performed above all expectations at the ballot box, winning 262 seats.
"I think it's pretty clear who won this election," Corbyn told reporters.
"We are ready to do everything we can to put our program into operation; there isn't a parliamentary majority for anybody at the present time, the party that has lost in this election is the Conservative Party, the arguments the Conservative Party put forward in this election have lost.
"I think we need a change."
To retain her role as Prime Minister, May moved quickly announcing her intention to pursue a partnership with the DUP, a small party from Northern Ireland known for pursuing a more socially conservative agenda than the Tories.
While the party backed Britain's exit from the European Union, it has pushed back in the past against a "hard Brexit."
Speaking Friday, leader Arlene Foster said the DUP would enter into discussions with the Prime Minister to "bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge."
Rather than an official coalition, the partnership is likely to be on an issue by issue basis. But May has already attracted criticism for the decision because of the DUP's position on same-sex marriage and abortion rights.