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General election bulletin: hung parliament

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 08:56

What we know so far 

  • Forecast results: Conservative 319, Labour 261, SNP 35, Liberal Democrat 12, Green 1
  • Conservatives 42% of the vote, Labour 40.2%
  • Britain will have a hung parliament as Conservatives lose 12 seats and fall short of 326 needed to make a majority
  • Theresa May facing calls to resign as Prime Minister
  • Shock Labour gains across the country
  • SNP collapse in Scotland, losing 21 seats 

Theresa May's gamble backfires

Just like in 2015, the exit poll that came out at 10pm brought the country to a stand still. The vast majority of polling companies going in to election day had predicted a Conservative majority of 50-100. The question everyone was asking was, would the Labour vote hold up? Would the predicted collapse of the UKIP vote, going to the Conservatives, mean wholesale Conservative gains across the country?

Instead, the exit poll predicted a hung parliament. It was correct. Theresa May called the general election to increase her majority in Wesminster so as to better navigate the Brexit negotiations. She, quite dramatically, has failed to do so.

Despite great gains in Scotland, the Conservatives failed to capture many of their target seats across the England and Wales. In what is being dubbed the 'revenge of the remainers' the Labour vote in many constituencies held up, in some areas with stunning increased majorities. 

Whilst the Conservatives have more seats and votes, they require a coalition to govern with a majority, with the DUP the most likely potential partners. For Labour, they would require a combination of the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Greens to create a majority. 

Who will form a governable coalition? Will Theresa May remain as Prime Minister? What does this mean for the impending Brexit negotiations? That all remains to be seen...

Quotes of the night 

  • "I have no idea what's going on" - Labour MP John Woodcock
  • "Where do you want me to begin?" - Conservative MP Anna Soubry
  • "You live by the sword, you die by the sword" - Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg after losing his seat in a shock result in Sheffield Hallam
  • "I can't see how Theresa May can survive this" - Andrew Hawkins, founder of polling company ComRe

Shock Labour gains

Whilst much of the debate prior to polling day was about where Labour would lose seats, instead the story this morning is one of some quite incredible Labour gains.

Take for example, Canterbury. Solidly Conservative since 1918, Labour took the seat increasing their vote share by 20.5%. Shockingly, these votes did not come from the Conservatives, who actually increased their own vote share by 1.5%. Labour successfully managed to attract those who did not vote in 2015.

Labour managed to take seats in areas that were not only not expected, but in areas in which they did not make great efforts. Reading East, Peterborough, Lincoln, Warwick and Leamington, Enfield Southgate, all went red. 

Not only did Labour make some shock gains - their vote held up, too. In Hove, incumbent Labour candidate Peter Kyle turned a majority of 1,000 into 18,000. Under threat seats like Lancaster and Fleetwood, Ilford North, Barrow and Furness and Norwich South followed a similar pattern and returned increased Labour majorities.

SNP collapse

Whilst the Conservatives may have struggled in England and Wales, Scotland was a different story.

In what looks like a clear rejection of a second independence referendum, the SNP dramatically lost 21 seats, with the Conservatives winning 13, Labour 7, and the Liberal Democrats four. 

Not only did the SNP lose seats, they lost leaders. Both Deputy Leader Angus Robertson and former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond lost their seats to the Conservatives. 

As a whole, the SNP vote was down by 13% from 2015, with the Conservative vote up by 14%. This represents the Conservatives best results in Scotland since 1983, with leader Ruth Davidson clearly running a better campaign than her counterparts south of the border. 

Special mention to the SNP's Stephen Gethins, though, who held on to his seat of North East Fife by a mere two votes.

Shock losers

There are high profile departures in every general election, and this one has proved no different. 

Grabbing the headlines, former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg lost his seat of Sheffield Hallam in a dramatic swing to Labour. He had been the constituencies MP since 2005. 

Ben Gummer, Conservative minister and author of the Conservative manifesto lost his safe seat of Ipswich, again to Labour. Given the reported negative impact of the Conservative manifesto on their election hopes, some are calling the result poetic justice.

In total, seven Government Ministers lost their seats, including Housing Minister Gavin Barwell and Junior Health Minister Nicola Blackwood. 

There have also been a few high profile returns, with former Cabinet Ministers Vince Cable and Sir Edward Davey winning back the seats they lost in 2015. 

What's next?

Though there will definitely not be a majority, there are still a few seats to go.  Stay tuned for the next edition of the JBP election bulletin discussing the results in greater detail, which will go online this afternoon.