UK results

Tories win a majority as heads of rival party leaders roll

Hugh Linehan Fri, May 8
LIVE: UK results

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  • 05:57
    Good morning. I’m Hugh Linehan and I’ll be liveblogging the counts and fallout from the UK general election for the next few hours as results continue to roll in. Thanks to Dan Griffin for doing the hard yards through the night. It’s now very clear that the exit poll released at 10pm last night were, as usual, a pretty accurate indicator of the final result.

    David Cameron will be the next prime minister of the UK, and the BBC is now predicting his Conservative party may achieve a very slender majority.
    Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour party is looking very tenuous following the party’s disappointing performamnce.
    The SNP has won all but two of the constituencies in Scotland.
    The Liberal Democrats have lost more than 80 per cent of their MPs, including some of Britain’s most prominent politicians. The party’s leader, Nick Clegg, was one of the few to retain his seat but has indicated that his continued leadership is under consideration.
    In Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein has lost one of its five seats, with Michelle Gildernew losing to unionist Tom Elliott. The DUP also lost one of its seats to the Ulster Unionists, but compensated by winning back East Belfast from Alliance’s Naomi Long.

  • 06:00
    The BBC are predicting 325 seats for the Conservatives, That would - just about - be a majority, but the DUP will be looking to offer their services as a safety net. At the right price, of course...
  • 06:02

  • 06:07
    If you’re reading this in our mobile news app, you might want to switch over to the (mobile-friendly) web version at http://liveblog.irishtimes....
  • 06:09
    George Galloway, the only sitting independent MP in England, Scotland or Wales, has lost his Bradford West seat.
  • 06:11
    A word from the Labour leader.

  • 06:14
    And here is Miliband's speech from the count.

  • 06:17
    From our Northern Ireland round-up:

    There was shock among Sinn Féin supporters following the Fermanagh South Tyrone count.
    Michelle Gildernew, MP since 2001, lost to former Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott.
    Sinn Féin supporters said Ms Gildernew's vote had actually increased.
    Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew won by just four votes in 2010 ­ a margin reduced to a solitary ballot paper after review by
    the electoral courts.
    Winner: Tom Elliott (UUP) 23,608
    Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Fein) 23,078
    John Coyle (SDLP) 2,732
    Tanya Jones (Green Party) 788
  • 06:27
    "I want to bring our country together". David Cameron's acceptance speech.

  • 06:29

  • 06:36
    Mary Minihan reports from the count in Omagh:

    Unionist candidate Tom Elliott criticised Sinn Féin’s abstentionist policy as he claimed victory in the Fermanagh-South Tyrone constituency just after 5am on Friday.
    He beat incumbent MP Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein by 530 votes.
    Mr Elliott, a former UUP leader, said his success was the result of a “combined effort” by Unionist parties and organisations, including “the Loyal Orders”, along with others “right across the community”.
    “I thank these people who realise we need representation in Fermanagh-South Tyrone,” he said.
    “The most westerly constituency in the UK is not a Green constituency,” he said. “The most westerly constituency is not only red, white and blue, it’s represented.”
    Mr Elliott also said the constituency did not “belong to Bobby Sands”, the hunger striker who secured the seat in the 1980s.
    Ms Gildernew, who got 23,078 votes to Mr Elliott’s 23,608, said it had been “another nail biting election”.
    She won the seat in 2010 by four votes.
    Ms Gildernew, MP since 2001, said Sinn Féin had asked for a recount, but it was not granted.
    She said she was “proud and humbled” so many people had voted for her.
    “I’m not going anywhere,” she added.
    “In our hearts this seat will always be Bobby Sands. ”
  • 06:39

    Things going from bad to worse to catastrophic for the LibDems.

  • 06:42

    Slugger O'Toole reports that the new DUP MP for East Belfast, Gavin Robinson, has been criticised for his 'ungracious' acceptance speech. Judge for yourself.

  • 06:56

    If you're just waking up, here are the main points.

    David Cameron will be the next prime minister of the UK, although we won't know for a while whether his Conservative party will have an overall majority.

    Ed Miliband's leadership of the Labour party is coming to an end, as the party faces into a period of soul-searching following its worst result in a generation.

    The Liberal Democrats are reduced to a rump, possibly with fewer votes than the DUP.

    With the exception of three contsituencies, Scotland is a clean sweep for the SNP.

    Having lost one and gained one, Peter Robinson's DUP will be hoping to have some influence over the next UK government.

    Sinn Fein has lost one seat, and is down from five to four.

    The Alliance Party has lost its single seat in East Belfast.

  • 06:59

    Polling companies are starting to acknowledge that something went seriously wrong with their methodology this time.

  • 07:02

    On the other hand...


  • 07:03

    A word from the winner.


  • 07:09
    So all that pre-election talk of weeks of uncertainty, constitutional crises and endless negotiations has been proved wrong. It does seem, though, that the addition of UKIP and a resurgent SNP to Britain's traditional two and a half party system has changed the electoral game in all sorts of unpredictable ways. However, although the votes counted so far might seem to indicate the polls weren't too far wrong in showing Conservatives and Labour neck and neck, the reality is we're still waiting for results from quite a lot of rural English constituencies which will push up the Conservative percentage, possibly to 38 per cent, which is definitely more than was forecast.
  • 07:18
    Analysts are now predicting that the Conservatives will have 329 seats, a narrow majority - but a majority all the same. Will the DUP be left at the altar?
  • 07:19

  • 07:22

  • 07:23

  • 07:27

    VIDEO: Here's the Irish Times's Belfast Editor, Gerry Moriarty, on the Northern Ireland results.

  • 07:30

  • 07:34

    How it stands now.

  • 07:37

    All the Scottish results are now in and the results are:

    SNP 56

    Con 1

    Lab 1

    LD 1

    Which has to be the most extreme example ever of how first past the post can distort results.

  • 07:39
    Caroline Lucas has held the Greens' single seat, for Brighton Pavilion, with 42 per cent of the vote.
  • 07:46
    George Osborne to the BBC: "A great result for the Conservatives. We look forward to addressing the big challenges. We don't know what the full results are, but clearly we have a mandate to continue the work we began five years ago. We've got lots of ideas we now want to turn into laws we look forward to putting before Parliament."
  • 07:49

  • 07:52
    "It's been a tragic result for Labour. The most surprising since 1992 and the worst since 1992," says former London mayor Ken Livingstone.
  • 07:54

  • 08:04

    About those polls. Nate Silver, who came to the UK trailing clouds of glory follwoing his accurate predictions of the US presidential contest, is mulling over how he and everyone else got it so wrong about these results in a liveblog post which is well worth reading.

    Among his observations:

    "Polls, in the U.K. and in other places around the world, appear to be getting worse as it becomes more challenging to contact a representative sample of voters. That means forecasters need to be accounting for a greater margin of error."

  • 08:07

    This is interesting.

  • 08:14

  • 08:24
    If the makers of the Danish political TV drama Borgen are looking for a plot for another series, they need look no further than Stephen Kinnock, who has been elected for the Welsh seat of Aberavon. Never mind that he's the son of Neil and Glenys, the new MP also happens to be the husband of Denmark’s prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, with whom he has two daughters.

    A former director at the British Council and World Economic Forum, he is at least used to living apart from his wife, commuting at weekends to Denmark from Switzerland and later London where he worked. “I don’t have anything else to compare it with,” he has said of his unconventional marriage. “It works for us.”

    Having not lived in Wales for decades, Kinnock attracted some criticism for his decision to stand just 25 miles from Islwyn and Bedwellty, which his father represented, and was selected for the seat last year only by the narrowest of margins. His victory, however, was emphatic.
  • 08:25
    Ed Balls, who might have been a contender to replace Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour party, has just lost his seat to the Conservatives.
  • 08:28
    24 hours ago, Ed Balls had a very reasonable expectation of being Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer next week. Now he is no longer an MP. It's being suggested that Balls is the most high-profile Labour victim of the UKIP surge in Northern English constituencies.
  • 08:34

  • 08:35

  • 08:50

    Ruadhán Mac Cormaic in Scotland has sent his analysis. All is changed, utterly.

  • 09:16

    Good analysis here by Channel 4's Paul Mason. Among his key points is this:

    'In seat after seat that Labour held you get a Lib Dem collapse, a holdup of the Tory vote, and a 4-5,000 surge for Ukip.

    My hunch is that the Lib Dem votes went mainly to the Tories – and that a lot of it was tactical in response to pleas by the Conservative press for tactical voting to avoid a de facto Labour/SNP majority.

    The Ukip surge clearly came largely from Labour voters – as evidenced by the close shaves Labour had with Ukip in Hartlepool and Heywood and Middleton.

    What does this tells us?

    Labour in England was fighting a campaign about fairness, less austerity and the NHS. But the SNP surge made the debate exactly about what Cameron said it was: who can form a non-chaotic and legitimate government of the UK.

    Having been told the SNP were akin to a Scottish Sinn Fein by the Labour leadership, once this became the salient issue, Labour’s heartland economic agenda had no traction.

    And make no mistake, a significant section of working class labour voters are still not convinced on freedom of movement. That – not Euroscepticism – is what is driving the Ukip vote in the north and in Wales.'

  • 09:18
    Apparently the battle in South Thanet, where UKIP leader Nigel Farage is seeking to win a seat, is 'very, very tight'.
  • 09:19

  • 09:29
    BREAKING: The BBC is reporting that Ed Miliband will resign as leader of the Labour party. The BBC's Iain Watson says he was told of Miliband's expected resignation by two senior Labour sources - but that there was no timetable in place, nor details of the mechanics by which he would stand down.

    He will make his intentions public in a speech in central London at midday.
  • 09:44
    Ed Miliband has arrived at Labour headquarters in London, where he is expected to inform party members that he will be resigning today. Speculation about a caretaker leader has begun.
  • 09:52

  • 09:55

  • 10:04

  • 10:17

  • 10:26

  • 10:28
    In a special World View podcast, Denis Staunton discusses the election results with Paddy Smyth, Mark Hennessy and Alex Massie.
  • 10:34
    BREAKING: Nigel Farage has failed in his attempt to win a seat in South Thanet.
  • 10:41
    Nigel Farage has previously stated he would stand down as leader of UKIP if he failed to be elected to the House of Commons. So that's two leadership elections due already. Can the Lib Dems be far behind?
  • 10:49

    VIDEO: The South Thanet announcement.

  • 10:53

  • 10:55
    Nick Clegg will be making a statement at 11.30am, according to the BBC.
  • 10:57

  • 11:06

  • 11:10
    The Conservatives have officially reached 323 - the magic number for controlling the House of Commons once you take out the Speaker and Sinn Fein.
  • 11:12
    The BBC is now forecasting 331 seats as the final Conservative tally. Which by any measure, given expectations from all sides throughout the campaign, is a remarkable achievement by David Cameron's party.
  • 11:19

    Video analysis from our man in Scotland:

  • 11:26
    Nigel Farage has announced his resignation as leader of UKIP. There will be a leadership election in September, he says, and he will decide then whether to put his name forward again.
  • 11:35
    Nick Clegg has announced his resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats.
  • 11:36
    Nick Clegg: 'It is simply heartbreaking to see so many colleagues lose their seats because of forces outside their control.'
  • 11:38

  • 11:44
    While Clegg was delivering his resignation speech, the Queen was nipping down to Buckingham Palace from Windsor to put the kettle on for David Cameron.
  • 12:14
    Ed Miliband speaking now, takes full responsibility for the result.
  • 12:16
    BREAKING: Ed Miliband resigns as leader of the Labour party, taking effect immediately after today's Cenotaph commemoration.
  • 12:16
    Harriet Harman will take over as caretaker leader of the Labour party until a new leader is elected.
  • 14:01

    That's all from our liveblog coverage of this year's UK general election. Thanks to my co-bloggers, Conor Pope and Dan Griffin, to the newsroom team and to our correspondents in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I leave you with this thought.