The Conservatives are set to be the biggest party in Parliament and could yet claim an outright majority after a dramatic night at the polls. More than 600 of the 650 seats have declared with latest predictions indicating the Conservatives could gain up to 329 seats.
The broadcasters’ exit poll, released the moment polling booths closed at 22:00, predicted that the Conservatives would be by far the largest party at Westminster with 316 seats.
That figure was far higher than any poll in the run-up to the election had forecast but still short of an overall majority. The party’s performance at the ballot box, however, looks likely to have exceeded even that number.
Liberal Democrats 8
With over 600 results declared, the exit poll of 22,000 voters looks likely to be proven accurate. Nuneaton and North Warwickshire, two key Midlands marginals that Labour would have desperately wanted to win were both held by the Conservatives.
Labour is predicted to lose 19 seats overall with the Conservatives gaining 9, the Liberal Democrats losing 47 and the SNP gaining 52.
All three major party leaders successfully defended their seats, David Cameron in Witney, Ed Miliband in Doncaster and Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam.
However, several high-profile politicians have lost their seats. For Labour, the Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander was defeated by a 20-year-old student in Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy was beaten in East Renfrewshire and the Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran, lost in Glasgow East.
While Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg just held on, former Chief Secretary to the Tresuary Danny Alexander lost in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, Energy Minister Ed Davey lost Kingston and Surbiton to the Tories; Simon Hughes, the party’s Deputy Leader lost to Labour in Bermondsey – a seat he’d held for 32 years; Lynne Featherstone, another former Liberal Democrat minister, lost her seat to Labour too; and the former party leader Charles Kennedy lost in Ross, Skye & Lochaber too.
“It is painfully clear that this has been a cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats” Nick Clegg
All of those losses were eclipsed just minutes later when Vince Cable’s majority of more than 10,000 disappeared in Twickenham.
UKIP have won seats at a General Election for the first time. Douglas Carswell, who defected to the party from the Conservatives in 2014, held on to the Essex coastal town of Clacton.
Exit Poll Predicted Seats
Lib Dems 10
Plaid Cymru 4