11 things you should know about the UK election result
Cameron, the DUP, the resignations, the shock of it all...
And the winner is: David Cameron will return to Number 10, Downing Street as British Prime Minister after a stunning victory for the Conservatives. Pre-election polls indicated a dead heat between the Conservatives and Labour but the result has produced a dramatically different political landscape with the Tories at the helm.
Coalition or majority?: Mr Cameron is also on course to secure the elusive overall majority of 326 seats in the Commons. Indeed the BBC has been forecasting a majority for the Tories of 329 seats. They may still end up needing the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to help shore up that majority. A shock exit poll released at 10pm on Thursday predicted the Conservatives would win 316 seats, which is ten short an overall majority. It was much better than that for them as it turned out. Here are all the results graphics you are going to need.
Loser #1: Labour leader Ed Miliband announced his resignation following the disastrous result for his party. Couldn’t have been worse, really.
Loser #2: Nick Clegg has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats with his party’s seat count wiped out. It was beyond their worst nightmare and takes the party back to its status in the late 1970s. Clegg said it had been “a cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats”. Yes indeed.
Loser #3: Nigel Farage, leader of the right-wing Ukip party, lost his seat in Thanet South and stepped down as leader of the party. He told the crowd: “I’m a man of my word” after promising defeat would force him to quit. Mr Farage may not be gone for long as he said he would consider returning to the job in September after a summer off.
Norn Iron: There was shock among Sinn Féin supporters after Michelle Gildernew, MP since 2001 in the Fermanagh South Tyrone, lost out to former Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott. In something of an upset, Rev Willie McCrea has lost his seat to the UUP’s Danny Kinahan.
Scotland: The Scottish National Party (SNP) won nearly all seats, representing a wipeout for Labour in its traditional stronghold north of the border.
Youngest MP: Labour’ s Douglas Alexander general election campaign chief and shadow foreign secretary has lost his seat, swept aside by the SNP’s Mhairi Black, a 20-year-old politics student at Glasgow University, with a 26.92 per cent swing from Labour to the SNP in Paisley and Renfrewshire South.
Curious George: George Galloway was reported to police amid claims he broke the law by tweeting an exit poll before voting had finished. You can always rely in the former Big Brother star to inject a little bit of colour and/or controversy in any election campaign or count. Fair play George.
The British and their dogs: The question “can I bring my dog to a polling station and share that on Twitter?” was tested across the UK during voting yesterday. Apparently.
I live in Ireland, so who cares?: David Cameron has vowed, if returned as prime minister, to hold a referendum on his country’s future in the European Union. A “Brexit”, where it leaves the Union, would have major implications for us as Britain is such an important trading partner. Then, there’s the DUP and what they may exact out of Cameron in return for support for his government. London’s involvement in Northern Irish politics may intensify in such a scenario.