Reviews : Election Result: Hung Parliament

Tories Beat Labour But Fall Short Of Majority

Britain officially has a hung Parliament - the first since 1974 - with the Conservatives the largest party.

Even if the Tories were to win the remaining seats left to count, the party would only reach 325 - one short of the 326 needed for an outright majority.

According to a Sky News projection, the Conservatives are on course to win 309 seats, followed by Labour on 259 and the Lib Dems sliding to 54. Other parties share 28 seats.

Sky News Online's live blog continues to break every last result from the 650 constituencies.

It was a dramatic night in British politics, during which Conservative leader David Cameron claimed Labour had lost its "mandate to govern" and the highly-fancied Liberal Democrats saw their vote disintegrate.

The Tories struggled to obtain the necessary battleground gains to claim power outright, despite some considerable swings.

They included a large scalp in the Redditch constituency, where Labour's former home secretary Jacqui Smith was comprehensively defeated by Tory candidate Karen Lumley.

Mr Cameron, who swept to victory in his Witney constituency, said: "We have to wait for the full results, but it is clear the Labour government has lost its mandate to govern this country."

He received unlikely support from former Labour minister David Blunkett who said: "Labour has lost, the Tories have won. The Tories should rule."

His declaration broke ranks from the senior members of his party, who have already begun to talk up a possible coalition with the Lib Dems.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband appeared to open the door for a Lib-Lab pact, dismissing Tory claims on office.

He told Sky News: "If no party has a majority in the House of Commons, no party has a moral right to a monopoly of power.

"The voters have given us an injunction to talk to each other to see if strong and stable government can be secured."

After narrowly holding onto his Morley and Outwood seat, Children's Secretary Ed Balls issued a rallying cry to the party, insisting New Labour was not dead.

He told Sky News: "David Cameron thought he was going to gain a majority. That is not going to happen now."

The returns also quickly revealed a reluctance among voters to switch support to the Lib Dems, who have endured an unexpectedly dreadful night despite their buoyant election campaign.

After regaining his Sheffield Hallam seat, Mr Clegg declared: "This has been a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats.

"We simply haven't achieved what we hoped."

Yet Mr Clegg remains on course to figure as 'kingmaker' in any discussions of a potential coalition.

The attention would then turn to the position of the Prime Minister in such a pact.

After comfortably winning his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat, Gordon Brown said he would play his part in a "strong government".

The Prime Minister pledged to "do his duty" in helping to "lead Britain into sustained economic recovery".

While his future remains uncertain, the night has claimed some big casualties a little lower down the political food chain.

Jacqui Smith remains the highest profile loser, followed by another former home secretary Charles Clarke, and the scandal-hit Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson.

Colourful Lib Dem candidate Lembit Opik was also ousted, along with his colleague Susan Kramer who lost her high-profile battle in Richmond Park to Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith.

Elsewhere, a moment of history was made with the Greens claiming the Brighton Pavilion seat to elect the party's first ever MP.

But the night began with the electoral process marred by chaos at polling stations across the country when hundreds of people were turned away before registering their vote.

The Electoral Commission has vowed to investigate after police were called to respond to sit-in protests and rows with returning officers.

Irate voters in Sheffield even refused to let a ballot box out of the building.

More than 44 million people were registered to vote for the 650 MPs of the new parliament.

After results in 603 of the UK's 650 constituencies were announced, national turnout stood at 65%, up from 61.4% in 2005 and 59.4% in 2001.

Voters also elected councillors in 166 local authorities across England.

Elsewhere on election day:

·         UKIP's Nigel Farage is recovering after being injured in a plane crash;

·         Adam Boulton gives his verdict on the three leaders;

·         Paul Harrison looks back over five weeks on the Lib Dem campaign trail;

·         Michelle Clifford reflects on a late surge of energy from Gordon Brown;

·         Joey Jones says David Cameron was unprepared for the TV debates;

·         Find out how to stay up to date with all the election news on Sky News.



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Tags: Britain   UK   Brown   elections  

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