It was the most unpredictable night in political history.
No-one foresaw that David Cameron would win an outright majority. The Labour party had more votes but fewer seats than 2010. The Liberal Democrats have been all but wiped out.
Big beasts of Westminster who won’t be returning include Vince Cable, Jim Murphy, Douglas Alexander, Danny Alexander, Lynne Featherstone, Simon Hughes, employment minister Esther McVey and of course Ed Balls.
Nigel Farage failed in South Thanet and has still never been an MP.
The SNP are the third party with 55 seats.
The polls said too close to call but in the end the Tories had a clear win.
No more opinion polls are allowed now the election is under way but every single poll in the last 24 hours has the Labour and Conservative parties tied. Several put the two parties dead level.
Britain will have another hung parliament but it is impossible to predict this whether David Cameron or Ed Miliband will be prime minister. The rules state that Cameron stays in Downing Street until we know who can form a government. That could be weeks away.
YouGov, who produced the biggest of the final polls interviewing over 10,000 voters, predicts Labour and the Conservatives will both have 34 per cent of the vote. UKIP is on 12 per cent, the Lib Dems have 10 per cent and the SNP has 5 per cent. The SNP share will translate into 50 or so seats whilst UKIP, who will get almost two and a half times as many votes, will get fewer than five seats.
The outcome is just too close to call. If you have a vote, make sure that you cast it before 10pm tonight.
This general election campaign has been unlike any before it. The date was known almost four and a half years in advance. Before the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, passed in 2011, election campaigns lasted just a month.
The 2015 campaign kicked off in earnest when the Conservatives unvelied their first campaign poster on January 2nd, arguments about the TV debates started a couple of days later, so we are talking four months of solid electioneering. The longest election campaign in British history has made almost no difference at all to voter intentions.
Compare The YouGov poll at 100 days to go:
CON – 34%
LAB – 33%
UKIP – 14%
LDEM – 7%
GRN – 7%
with the TNS-BRMB poll, today the last day before the vote:
CON – 33%
LAB – 32%
UKIP – 14%
LDEM – 8%
GRN – 6%
Note a single party has changed their share by more than one per cent. Given that the polls have a 2-3% margin of error that’s no change at all.
For the first time in generations, there is a serious possibility that there will be no Scottish MPs in the party of government. Three days ago Alex Salmond told the Scottish people that “Scotland stands on the brink of unparalleled influence at Westminster.”
In fact the opposite is true. Scotland stands on the brink of having zero MPs in government and negligible influence at Westminster. If there are no Scottish MPS from the Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour parties, there will be no Scottish MPs in government.
To put that in context, since the turn of the twentieth century there have been thirteen English Prime Ministers, seven Scottish and one Welsh. That’s counting Cameron and MacMillan as English.
The current government has twelve MPs representing Scottish constituencies and two in the Cabinet. It is unheard of for there to be no Scottish MPs in the Cabinet. Though hard to believe, if Scotland returns a full sweep of SNP MPs, the Secretary of State for Scotland will be from an English or Welsh constituency.
Nor will there be another Scottish referendum. Salmond and Sturgeon have ruled it out in this parliament and it would be unlikely any government without a single Scottish voice would be likely to call one. Salmond’s words were half right, Scotland really does stand on the brink.
Delia Smith, the nations favourite cook, has followed actor and comedian Steve Coogan with a plea for voters to vote Labour. She warns that Conservatives would be a “recipe for disaster” for the NHS and believe that under a Tory government it would be “run like a supermarket.”
Steve Coogan issued a video over the Bank Holiday weekend saying that the election “is on a knife-edge”. Coogan is no stranger to campaigning in the public eye as a prominent member of Hacked Off, the campaign for media regulation.