- 15.30 FINAL TALLIES
- With one seat still to be declared the Conservatives are on track for 331 seats in the House of Commons, Labour are set for 232, the Liberal Democrats a mere 8 seats, the Scottish Nationalist Party NP 56, Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalists) 3, UKIP 1, the Greens 1 and others 19.
- That would give the Tories a theoretic majority of five, though in practical terms the majority is greater because Sinn Fein MPs traditionally refuse to attend the Commons (they do not recognise its legitimacy, being Republican Irish).
The Conservatives are expected to get a 37% share of the national vote, Labour 31%, UKIP 13%, the Lib Dems 8%, the SNP 5%, the Green Party 4% and Plaid Cymru 1%.
- 15.00 Reuters has reported on the impact on britain's sovereign debt ratings:
- Ratings agency Moody's said the election victory of Prime Minister David Cameron might have implications for the Britain's sovereign debt rating if it led to the country leaving the European Union.
"While the election result will have no impact on the UK's rating, if the Conservative Party's plan to hold a referendum on European Union membership results in the UK's exit this could have consequences for the whole economy, including potentially for the sovereign rating, if the UK was unable to broadly replicate the benefits of membership," Moody's said.
Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU before the end of 2017.
- 11.35 FARAGE FAILS
- In bid to win Thanet South for UKIP. The leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party was edged out by his Tory rival. Farage will now resign as UKIP party leader, in accordance with a pre-election pledge. Who will replace him? Probably Douglas Carswell, who has won a seat in Westminster, leaving Mr Farage to continue pestering Jean Claude Juncker in Brussels. Before the election Juncker wished Farage well in the UK election, saying he would prefer top see him move back to the UK!
- Friday 09.30am
- Nicola Sturgeon (pictured below) the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, forecast to win all but one of the Scottish seats in the Westminster Parliament
- 03.15 James Crisp reporting from London, assesses the effect of such a resounding victory for the Scottish Nationalists.
- The exit polls suggest almost a clean sweep for the Scottish National Party in Scotland.
Coming so soon after the SNP’s defeat in the independence from the UK referendum, it’s a stinging indictment of the British government’s handling of the aftermath of that landmark vote.
But it also speaks to a fundamental failure on behalf of Labour. Scotland was a traditional Labour heartland – but no longer.
That’s had serious ramifications for Labour in this election, if exit polls are to be believed. But even if every SNP seat went to Labour, it would still lag behind the Conservatives in the poll.
What does this mean for the UK’s strained relations with the European Union?
The SNP is pro-EU. It has insisted that any referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU must not take Scotland out of the bloc on the basis of an English vote.
If that was to happen, it would only add more heft to the argument for another referendum on Scottish independence, an idea strengthen by the unprecedented surge in nationalist support.
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron frequently warned against the danger of a Labour-SNP coalition.
Such an alliance would see the two most influential, especially now after the Lib Dems’ catastrophic showing, pro-EU parties join forces in government.
That would have put paid to the chances of the in/out referendum on the UK’s EU membership. Cameron has promised the referendum by 2017, if he wins the election.
A Labour/SNP coalition is now unlikely. Labour leader Ed Miliband has lost a lot of credibility. He is 6/4 to resign before midnight tonight (8 May).
As this post was being written, the BBC had begun discussing the increasing likelihood of the Tories winning an absolute majority.
That would mean a Brexit referendum by 2017, and fresh impetus behind Cameron’s drive for EU reform on issues such as freedom of movement.
- 02.55 Interesting observation from Tory MEP Vicky Ford, who clearly understands that her former Conservative colleague Douglas Carswell, might struggle to hold his Clacton seat, which he previously held for the Tories before he defected to UKIP. Carswell was widely tipped to win the seat comfortably. If he loses or wins narrowly it will represent a serious blow to UKIP chances in the wider election.
- 02.42 The narrative of a Tory victory is now gaining ground. But with a serious proviso. If the Tories can govern alone as a minority government or in coalition they will do so likely with NO MPs in Scotland who are members of the government. Scotland will effectively be disenfranchised within the executive, which will only exacerbate the independence movement in Scotland.
- 02.00 Brussels beckons?
- Clegg’s next career move
If Nick Clegg doesn’t survive the elections, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he eventually turns up in Brussels.
Clegg is a College of Europe graduate, is pro-European Union, and a former MEP, who used to live in the leafy Brussels suburb of Uccle. He speaks French, Spanish, Dutch and German.
Even if he does hold his Sheffield Hallam seat, his position as leader of the Liberal Democrats could be untenable after leading them to a devastating election result.
Exit polls suggest the Lib Dems will lose 47 seats.
As a former deputy prime minister with impeccable EU credentials, not to mention a Brit at a time of tense UK-EU relations, Clegg should be in demand.
The only problem is that all the top jobs are taken for now.
Would Clegg be willing to take a behind the scenes role in one of the institutions, lick his electoral wounds, and bide his time?
- 01.45 Tory Home Secretary Theresa May says that the Conservatives look like doing well, but wait for the results. A measure of how close this election is is that none of the parties wholly wants to accept the exit polls are right. Usually one of the parties is crowing about the exit polls at this stage. They are all hoping things turn out better. They know that the result if forecast correctly signals fragile minority or coalition government. Even the Tories, despite looking like winning, are not forecast to have a clear majority.