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It was 5:15 a.m. when an exhausted Theresa May entered the campaign war room at Tory headquarters to face her demoralized party workers.

Surrounded by discarded food wrappers, inflated blue balloons and empty bottles of beer and wine, May addressed the wreckage of a gamble that went from sure thing to catastrophe in less than two months. The loss of her parliamentary majority 10 days before the start of Brexit talks ruined her own prospects and plunged Britain into renewed political chaos.

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