Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Night liveblog


Brighton Pavilion result: Caroline Lucas ELECTED
16,232 votes - and Caroline Lucas becomes this country's first ever Green MP!

(And, on that note, I'm finished).


The BBC's forecast (with around 500 seats called) is:
Tories - 306 (37%)
Labour - 262 (28%)
Lib Dems - 55 (23%)
Others - 27 (11%)

What happens next? Well, nobody's quite sure.


Every cloud has a...
Labour leftwinger (and Stop the War officer) Jeremy Corbyn doubling his majority in Islington North.


BNP results in Stoke (their 2nd key target area after Barking, where Nick Griffin is standing):
Stoke Central: 7.7%
Stoke North: 8.0%
Stoke South: 9.4%

All of those were in 4th place.


In terms of overall share of the vote, ICM is now predicting this final result:

Conservatives: 37.7%
Labour: 28.2%
Lib Dems: 23.1%
Others: 11.1%

Remember: In 1983, Labour got 28.3% of the national vote. Also, it is striking that the Lib Dems are on almost exactly the same as in 2005 (22.7%).


Charles Clarke, former senior Cabinet minister and devout Blairite, has lost to the Lib Dems in Norwich. He is one of the three highest-profile losers of the night, alongside Jacqui Smith and DUP leader Peter Robinson.


So, former home secretary Jacqui Smith has lost her seat, as have Labour's Shahid Malik (in Dewsbury) and Lib Dem Evan Harris.

But we're still waiting for news from Birmingham (Salma Yaqoob), east London (George Galloway and Abjol Miah), Brighton (Caroline Lucas) and the BNP target seats of Barking and Stoke.

Nick Griffin is being interviewed on Radio 4. Not exactly being given a hard time by Jim Naughtie, but still coming out with overtly racist filth (apparently his seat is no longer "English" and is full of Africans).


BNP results: 10.4% in Rotherham, 7.7% in Rother Valley, 7.6% in Wentworth & Dearne, 9% in Burnley. UAF describes these (via Facebook) as 'grim', but considering they're mainly areas where the BNP already has a base and was expected to pick up votes, this seems unnecessarily gloomy. I think 10.4% is the fascists' best result yet.

Scotland: the SSP's vote has collapsed. See Liam Macuaid and A Very Public Sociologist for more. In general the left has been thoroughly squeezed - also see the unfortunately dire results for TUSC.


This is a shame: Richard Taylor, independent NHS campaigner and incumbent in Wyre Forest, has lost to the Tories. So much for the idea that independents might gain in the wake of the expenses scandal.

There's been little to cheer tonight, I'm afraid. The only consolation is the BNP's apparent failure to make waves.


The Guardian has this about the eagerly-awaited contest involving Green Party leader Caroline Lucas:

'Were the Greens being over-confident in Brighton? On the record they were "quietly confident" of making Caroline Lucas their first MP. Off the record the confidence was quite loud. But the piled ballot papers seem to show a close-run thing, and interestingly, after weeks of predictions of a Green-Tory fight it's Labour who are running Lucas neck-and-neck, with the Conservatives seemingly some way back. One official still tips Lucas to win, though, he told me.'

OK, that's really not soothing my nerves...


Lib Dems have, incredibly, overturned a big Labour majority in Redcar, Mo Mowlam's old seat in Teeside. This will at least partly be influenced by the announcement of the closure of the Corus steel plant in Redcar. It's an especially remarkable result when you consider that the Lib Dems have failed to make progress more widely.


Sad news from Carlisle, where I lived for 4 years. The Tories have taken the seat from Labour.

News on the BNP: UAF reports turnout of 62% in Barking and 64% in Dagenham and Rainham (this compares to 50% and 51% in 2005), which hopefully indicates the anti-fascist vote has been mobilised reasonably successfully. The BNP has, however, picked up 8.6% in Barnsley East, 6.8% in Doncaster North and 6.7% in Newcastle Central.


If you're interested in the results for Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidates, take a look at Liam Macuaid's blog. But not if you want cheering up: in most seats TUSC is getting under 1% of the vote.

The same blog is also recording results for the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), Respect and other left-wing candidates. Also see A Very Public Sociologist.

A spot of good news for the left: Eamonn McCann takes 7.7% (up 3.1% on 2005) for People Before Profit in Foyle, Northern Ireland.


This comes from our economics specialist over at Counterfire, where there are also rolling updates:

Interviews, on BBC, with editor of the FT and director of the CBI pontificating abou the effect of a hung Parliament on the bond markets. They seem reasonably well-behaved, in London - so far. But across the pond it's a different story: 1,000-point drop in Dow Jones in a day is quite even to spook the most hard-bitten trader, even with a relatively speedy recovery afterwards.

Regulators there, along with the press, are talking up the role of high-speed trading in reinforcing an initial trader error. High-speed trading is quite crazy stuff: massive, cutting-edge computer hardware used to chase after the tiniest possible differences in prices, as fast possible, to squeeze out every last profit.

This is getting so extreme that traders are attempting to move their own computers as close as they can get, physically, to the exchange servers, with the extra metres gained scraping precious miliseconds off the time needed to complete a trade. One firm, quoted in Wired magazine, was colocating to New York to scrape just 21 miliseconds off its trading time.

It's certainly true that practices like this can add to instability. But without the profound uncertainties around the future of the Euro and Euro economies, in particular, they wouldn't be having this sort of effect. Expect rocky times ahead. (JM)


The Guardian has more about the mayhem in Sheffield:

Sheffield's deputy returning officer, Lee Adams, said around 100 frustrated voters refused to leave one polling station in Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency, and police had to be called. "They were very angry," she said, "particularly some students. We couldn't cope, basically."

Adams said staff numbers at St John's church hall in Ranmore had been doubled at 4pm when it became clear that the combination of a higher than usual turnout and a large number of students turning up without their ballot cards threatened to overwhelm them.

"Many people had already turned up once, gone away and come back again," she said. "We should have had more staff on from the start. We got things wrong, basically, and we're very apologetic and distraught about that." It was not legally possible to extend opening hours, she said.


This comes via UAF:
Worrying result in Barnsley Central: BNP vote at 8.9% and 3,307 votes (compares to 4.9% and 1,403 votes in 2005).

Also: It's odd watching David Cameron giving his victory (in his own seat) speech. Normally at this stage (it's 3am!) the party leaders know whether or not they will be the next Prime Minister. Not this time - although Cameron has just said that Labour has "lost its mandate to govern".


Main points so far:

Exit poll predicted Tories taking slightly more than 300 seats - not enough for a majority but comfortably biggest party
Lib Dems have failed to 'break the mould' - no change from 2005 so far
Still uncertain what overall result will be - a slight Tory majority is possible
Scotland: Setbacks for SNP
Plenty of lost deposits for BNP - we still await the most high-profile contests involving the BNP (Barking and Stoke)
Lots of unevenness in results, but overall the results so far are that Tories have gained 12 seats and Labour lost 11
Still waiting for results likely to interest the Left: Lucas, Yaqoob, Galloway, Miah.


The Lib Dems are all over the place. Broadly speaking their surge has stalled, but there are a few examples of them getting results they wanted. But their failure to break through as expected is summed up by the Durham result half an hour or so ago. It was 23rd on the Lib Dems' hitlist, but in fact the party's share of the vote fell slightly. Labour held the seat. The anticipated swing to the Lib Dems specifically in the North East has not, it seems, happened.


This is from Press Association:

Sterling and UK Government bonds rallied today as a series of big Conservative swings suggested the party may scrape a majority. The pound rose more than a cent to 1.49 dollars and 1.18 euros in the early hours, after initially falling against both currencies amid a forecast of a hung parliament.

June gilts - a form of UK Government bond - also ticked up more than 1% in early bond trading on the Liffe exchange, suggesting more investors are expecting a "decisive" Tory administration which will tackle the UK's massive deficit.

The Liffe exchange opened more than six hours early to satisfy huge election night demand from major players such as banks and hedge funds. David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index, said: "There's definitely a feeling building that the Tories are going to scrape in with a majority.


According to VoteNoToBNP on Twitter, the BNP has lost its deposit in 12 seats so far. Good.

It looks like the SNP is in trouble north of the border, with a swing from SNP to Labour.

Rumour mill: Labour loses Redcar in Teeside (more to follow).


We're still awaiting any significant results for left-of-Labour candidates. At 10.35 last night I posted a list of seats to look out for (see below for the full list). These include three Respect candidates (Salma Yaqoob, George Galloway and Abjol Miah), Caroline Lucas for the Greens and TUSC candidates like Dave Nellist in Coventry. Look out for these.

Blaenau Gwent has gone back to Labour in a massive swing away from an independent 'old Labour' candidate.

There are strong rumours of victory for Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion. Let's hope there's substance to them.


There's still no consistent pattern, but the signs aren't good. A revealing insight from the BBC: bond prices are apparently up (trading opened especially at 1am) suggesting traders are expecting a Tory victory.


It's looking grim now.

The exit poll wasn't good (see my very first posting here) but it's got a little worse as the results come in, with an average swing to the Tories greater than that predicted by the exit poll (which said 5.5%, whereas we're mostly seeing 8 or 9% here). It's even possible there could be a Tory majority, but a hung parliament is still perhaps more likely (but with an overwhelming Tory lead putting Cameron in a strong position to claim he should form the next government). And the Lib Dems surge has not materialised yet.


From Twitter:

sspcampsie Polly Toynbee:polling stn problems an "absolute scandal reminicent of the countries we're always teaching democracy to"

averyps We hold Motherwell and Wishaw - first TUSC result in. 1.6% - well within the 1-2% for far left candidates.

ITViCampaign Tension mounting in City of Durham. Bundles of ballots being laid out on tressle tables, in a long line, and it' looks very, very close

uaf Sky News is reporting that it looks like BNP leader Nick Griffin is doing badly in Barking

bbcpolitics Hundreds of people are turned away from polling stations in Greater Manchester when the polls close in the ..

The Tories are getting their first gains. A big swing in Kingswood and they've also taken Basildon South.

Matthew Taylor at The Guardian has this: 'Labour sources in Stoke, the BNP's second target seat, are also sounding confident and say the far right party may have been be pushed into third or even fourth place.'

The video I posted earlier (see below) is from Sheffield, where students were unable to vote. This one is from Manchester.

The latest Northern Ireland result is a shocker. The First Minister, Peter Robinson (DUP), has lost his seat in Belfast East to Naomi Long of Alliance. Take a look at the Splintered Sunrise blog's excellent background article on the seat. In 2005 Robinson had a 19% lead over his nearest rival - a remarkable swing this time.

Margaret Hodge, sitting Labour MP (and candidate) in Barking, east London, says on BBC TV that the constituency will probably not declare until "3 or 4 am". This is where BNP leader Nick Griffin is standing. Early indications are good for anti-fascists, according to UAF (via Twitter).

It's interesting to hear Hodge refer, at least a couple of times, to "fascists". New Labour types tend not to do that, but she knows it's vital if the BNP is to be knocked back. She's also quite astute about the political background to the BNP's rise in Barking and Dagenham.

Newcastle City Council has reportedly issued a statement confirming that some would-be voters had to be turned away. This has seemingly happened in many constituencies. This is turning into one of the biggest stories of this election.

Remarkable scenes here:

From Twitter:

AIannucci fuck, about to do a live chat with Joan Collins. Just told her worst Tory vote for 35years. Let's see if she bought it

aleddilwyn Hackney turnout reportedly over 80%! Incredible!

averyps The polling station disaster is in danger of being THE story of today's election.

chickyog 'The Queen is only activated in certain circumstances' says pundit on BBC1. What? Does she need charging or something?

TheGreenParty RT @GdnPolitics Our correspondent in Brighton says @CarolineLucas is on course to win Brighton Pavilion for the Greens

I'll be posting key results for left-of-Labour candidates later, but if you're tainspotter-ish enough to want more detail I have 2 recommendations. A Very Public Sociologist is aiming to publish all the far left's results as they arrive, while Liam Macuaid's blog goes into even more detail with no less than 5 separate rolling blog posts! There's TUSC, SSP, Respect (general), Respect (local) and 'other lefts'.

Well, the 3 Sunderland seats have all been declared (the first 3 in the country) and the results are as reassuringly predictable as ever. But, beyond the obvious Labour victory there's three intriguing points.

First, a smaller swing to Tories (5%) than the other two seats, so that slightly undermines any assumptions that we're witnessing a big shift here. Second, the Lib Dems have (a little surprisingly) not moved forward at all. Third, another pleasingly weak vote for the BNP (a few years ago Sunderland was the BNP's strongest part of this region, but recently their focus has shifted elsewhere).

Why the Lib Dems' stagnation? It's either because they're in 3rd place in all these seats, so we're not seeing any improvement for them because it would be seen as a wasted vote/ no chance of winning. Or: it indicates the party's surge has simply not been sustained and this is an old-fashioned two horse race after all. Wait and see...

A North East UAF activist has sent a comment saying they were thrilled the BNP vote has gone down in the Sunderland seat declared earlier (for some reason there was difficulty posting it as a comment - my apologies if this is a problem).

The other Sunderland seat (Washington and Sunderland West) has just been announced - again the BNP has done poorly. This is a pleasant change from a few years back, when the fascists were picking up good results at least in local elections in Sunderland.

The bad news from Washington and Sunderland West, however, is the sheer scale of the swing to the Tories. The worrying thing, perhaps, is that such a result has happened despite a 7% increase in the turnout, which might in general be expected to help Labour stave off big swings to the Tories.

Various sources are reporting instances of polling stations not being able to (or struggling to) meet voter demand. I've picked up on examples, via Twitter, Facebook and BBC TV coverage, from different parts of the country (including locally in Newcastle) of there still being queues at 10pm. Different places seem to have dealt with it in different ways: whether turning people away or, in one reported instance, keeping it open an extra half hour. This is likely to prove very controversial - and rightly so.

If you have any examples of this, feel free to post a comment.

(Michael Portillo on BBC coverage now - brings back fond memories in a strange sort of way).

News so far

Sunderland has maintained its tradition of declaring first. Labour thumped Tories into a distant 2nd place in Houghton and Sunderland South - if only the whole country was like us here in the North East (28 of our 30 MPs are Labour).

The word on Twitter is that Arnold Schwarzenegger has contacted David Cameron to congratulate him on his victory. No, really.

Which seats should lefties be keeping an eye on?

This is not a comprehensive list of those worth watching, but a rough guide:

Barking: Nick Griffin, BNP leader
Bethnal Green and Bow: Abjol Miah, Respect
Birmingham Hall Green: Salma Yaqoob, Respect (2nd place in 2005)
Brighton Pavillion : Caroline Lucas, Green Party leader (number one chance for 1st ever Green MP)
Coventry North East: Dave Nellist, Trade Union Socialist Coalition (TUSC)
Manchester Gorton: on the left it is a three-way collision between Justine Hall (Green), Mohammed Zulfikar (Respect) and Karen Reissman (TUSC)
Poplar and Limehouse: George Galloway, Respect (currently MP in a neighbouring constituency)
Salford and Eccles: anti-Hazel Blears campaigners are backing David Henry (TUSC)
Stoke-on-Trent Central: Labour candidate Tristram Hunt (replacing Mark Fisher) - other candidates include Matthew Wright (TUSC) and Simon Darby (BNP)
Wyre Forest: Dr Richard Taylor, sitting Independent MP

I'll start updating this with results (and comments on results) regularly at 11pm, but let's kick off with a few baseline points.

The national vote in 2005:
Labour 36.1%
Tories 33.2%
Lib Dem 22.7%
Others 8%

How did that translate into seats?
Labour 349
Tories 209
Lib Dem 62
Others 30

Now, what do the exit polls say?
Hung Parliament with big Tory lead is predicted.
Tories 307
Labour 255
Lib Dems 59
Others 29

The key things here are the size of the Tory lead and the failure (if accurate) of the Lib Dems to make a breakthrough. However, the exit poll is based on a uniform national swing, and the marginals won't necessarily conform to predictions. We'll see...


  1. UAF NE activist6 May 2010 at 23:16

    Excellent to see the nazi BNP vote down 1.7% in Sunderland - they will be VERY dsappointed! And just as excellent, UKIP got even fewer votes!

  2. Heavy Handed Bureaucrat6 May 2010 at 23:31

    Despite Labour holds, big swings to Tories in both declared Sunderland seats - not a good sign...!?

  3. It's tricky to interpret. I live just a few miles away and have Sunderland contacts - I can say there aren't any 'exceptional' local issues that could explain things. The scale of the swings is a serious concern - definitely.

    It's a concern because polling had suggested the Tories weren't improving their poll ratings in North East as a whole (check my post about this from a couple of weeks ago), and that Lib Dems were gaining instead. This is not good, but not conclusive either.

  4. Generally our vote has been down by we have elected Caroline, wonderful and Alex with your blogging you have helped!