Results coming through Friday showed an outcome unpredicted in opinion polls before the election, with the Conservatives showing an unexpected level of success and Labour and the Liberal Democrats left devastated in what many observers said was the biggest surprise in a general election since 1945.
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech after being re-elected in his constituency of Witney: “I want my party, and a government I hope to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost — of one nation.”
The BBC’s forecast predicts that the Conservatives will win 329 seats, more than enough for an effective parliamentary majority.
The Conservatives had won 315 seats by early Friday morning, Labour 228, the Scottish Nationalists 56, the Liberal Democrats eight and the Greens and UKIP one each.
Ed Miliband, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said: “This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour party.”
The Conservatives won seats from Labour and also the Liberal Democrats, who they entered into coalition with in 2010.
Referring to the surge of the Scottish nationalists, Miliband said: “The next government has a huge responsibility to bring our country together. What unites us is much, much more than what divides us.”
Exit polls released after voting ended predicted the SNP would win 58 out of 59 seats available in Labor’s traditional Scottish heartland.
The SNP’s landslide in Scotland was clearly on Cameron’s mind.
“One nation, one United Kingdom — that is how I hope to govern if I am fortunate enough to continue as Prime Minister,” he tweeted shortly after his re-election.
Big names in, and out
The Liberal Democrats are facing electoral wipeout with predicted losses of 45 seats.
Senior Liberal Democrat government ministers Vince Cable, Simon Hughes, Danny Alexander, David Laws and Ed Davy — all long-standing MPs — lost their seats.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who was re-elected in his constituency, hinted that he would resign as party leader later in the day.
“I will be seeking to make further remarks about the implications of this election, both for the country and for the party that I lead and my position in the Liberal Democrats when I make remarks to my colleagues in the Liberal Democrats later this morning when I return to Westminster,” he said.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy lost his seat to the Scottish National Party.
SNP gains have, however, been mainly at the cost of Labour.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, who was also in charge of Labour general election campaign, lost his seat to 20-year-old SNP student Mhairi Black, who is yet to take her final university exam.
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy also lost his seat to the SNP.
Kirkcaldy, the seat of former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was not running for re-election, was also swallowed by the SNP juggernaut.
The SNP, running on a left-of-Labour and anti-austerity platform, has won 56 of the 59 available seats in Labor’s traditional Scottish heartland.
The swings were sensational.
The largest swing in any seat in the 2010 general election was 21.9 percent but, by 03.00GMT, the SNP had broken the figure 12 fold, with Labour-seat Glenrothes going to the SNP by virtue of a titanic 34.9 percent swing.
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who stepped down after his party lost last September’s independence referendum, was elected to the U.K. parliament.
Nicola Sturgeon, the current SNP leader, is not running in the U.K. general election, deciding to remain as a member of the Scottish Parliament.
Shadow Labour chancellor Ed Balls lost his marginal seat in the north of England, as did Respect candidate George Galloway.
Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson, widely tipped as a future Conservative Party leader and prime minister, was also elected.
There were 18 seats up for grabs in Northern Ireland’s fractious political sphere, all of which have now declared their results.
In a shock upset, the left-wing separatist Sinn Fein lost Fermanagh and South Tyrone to the Ulster Unionists.
The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party regained East Belfast, which was lost in 2010 by party leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson.
The right-wing DUP now have eight seats, the more moderate Ulster Unionists two, Sinn Fein four, the center-left SDLP three.
One independent Northern Irish candidate was also elected.
UK: Lib Dem leader re-elected, hints at resignation http://u.aa.com.tr/506390
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