General Election 2010: As it happened
Welcome to scotsman.com's coverage live coverage of the 2010 General Election. Click refresh or hit F5 for latest updates . . .
• Gordon Brown emerges from Downing Street to make a press statement this afternoon
LIB DEM: 57
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2.58: Cameron: "Britain voted for change yesterday, but it also voted for a new politics, it did not vote for party political bickering, grandstanding and point-scoring.
"Our country's problems are too serious, they are too urgent for that. So we must all rise to this occasion, we must show leadership."
2.45: Cameron makes his offer to the Lib Dems. Concessions on tax, education and a cross-party commission on voting reform in return for Lib Dem support in a coalition government.
2.43: Cameron: "The best thing for Britain now is a new government that can work together in the national interest and I hope we can achieve that now."
2.39: Cameron: "I want to make a big, open and comprehensive offer to the Liberal Democrats to form a strong, stable government."
2.34: Cameron: "We have to accept that we fell short of an overall majority.
"As I said last night, Britain needs strong, stable, decisive government and it is in the national interest that we get that... we are at war in Afghanistan... we are facing an economic situation of great seriousness.
"Britain voted for change... Britain did not vote for party political bickering.
"Nick Clegg has said we should have the chance to form a government."
2.27: David Cameron due to speak any minute now ...
1.55: Next up... David Cameron's statement at 2.30pm.
1.48: No ambiguity there. A very public invitation to do business from Gordon Brown to Nick Clegg.
1.45: Brown: "There needs to be immediate legislation on voting reform.
"I believe that you, the British people, should be able to decide in a referendum what the system should be.
"I understand... that people do not like the uncertainty or wish it to be prolonged."
1.43: "What we have seen are no ordinary election results. People have been talking for some time about the possibility of a hung parliament. That possiblity has become very real and pressing.
"It is well understood that we face immediate economic challenges which must be met ... our economic priorities are to support economic recovery in 2010 and then move swiftly to implement our deficit reduction plan.
"I understand and respect the position of Mr Clegg who says he wishes first to consult the Conservative party... Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg should take as much time as they feel is neccessary.
"Should their discussions come to nothing then I would be happy to discuss with Mr Clegg the areas where our parties have common ground."
1.40: David McLetchie, the Conservative's campaign manager in Scotland: "The Labour campaign of smears and scaremongering raised concerns in Scotland about an incoming Conservative Government – you have to say that their campaign worked in that respect."
1.22: Liberal Democrats hold Argyll and Bute.
Confirmation that this year's election results match those of 2005.
1.20: Gordon Brown to make a statement at Downing Street in the next few minutes ...
1.05: 'So much for the expenses scandal' - David Maddox on The Steamie
1.03: Alex Salmond says the SNP and Plaid Cymru have accepted an offer to discuss future government with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
But the SNP leader said his party would not cut any deal with the Conservatives.
"Fate seems to have dealt us a mighty hand between ourselves and Plaid Cymru," said Mr Salmond.
"As I understand it, on the projection we have at the present moment, certainly there would have to be some involvement of the SNP and Plaid Cymru, if you were to get and construct an alternative government scenario.
"So for that reason, I'm accepting the offer of the Prime Minister, on behalf of the SNP, and Plaid Cymru are accepting, to have the Civil Service back-up to have discussions to see what the possibilities are in terms of defending the interests of Scotland and Wales in this parliamentary situation."
1.01: Conservatives have taken another Labour seat - Norwich North. And Commons Speaker John Bercow has held Buckinghamshire against the challenge of Ukip plane crash victim Nigel Farage.
12.57: Nick Clegg has left Lib Dem HQ and is on the move. No news as to his destination, yet.
12.56: Alan Beith holds Berwick-upon-Tweed for the Lib Dems.
Conservatives cut his majority from 8,500 in 2005 to just over 2,500 this time.
12.36: CBI director-general Richard Lambert:: "Business needs stability and wants to see a clear decision reached swiftly, which delivers a stable new government. The UK's route to economic recovery needs to be firmly established.
"The markets have been expecting this outcome, but uncertainty brings risks. The next few days will be critical."
12.04: Scotland's last election result - Argyll and Bute - expected to be declared at around 1pm.
11.50: No George - Veteran MP is a no-show as Westminster stint ends
11.28: Lord (Paddy) Ashdown: "Nick Clegg made it clear during the election what he would do. He has today honoured that promise.
"(There's been) no deal. There's been no discussions. No deal is proposed.
"He said during the election that the party that had the clear mandate to govern had the right to seek to form the government.
"Now the question is for Mr Cameron. Will he now govern in the nation's interests rather than the Conservative Party's interest? He doesn't have a majority.
"Will he seek to put together a government for the country, not a government that claims a mandate for the Conservative Party that they do not have."
11.20: Lib Dem gain - Sarah Teather takes Brent Central from Labour.
Cabinet Office minister Dawn Butler loses the seat.
11.17: Conservative statement: David Cameron is to make a statement at 2.30pm setting out how he will seek to form a government that is "strong and stable with broad support, that acts in the national interest".
1059: After hours of speculation and confusion, things suddenly look very simple. If David Cameron can agree a deal on voting reform with Nick Clegg, he will lead a new, Conservative government.
10.56: George Galloway out of Parliament
Former Respect MP loses to Labour's Jim Fitzpatrick in Poplar and Limehouse, finishing third with a 17% of the vote.
10.44: Nick Clegg puts the ball very clearly in David Cameron's court. Would Conservative agreement on voting reform earn Cameron Lib Dem support in a new Parliament? Clegg's statement seems like a strong hint in that direction.
• Deal or no deal? Nick Clegg says he's ready to talk with David Cameron
10.40: Clegg: "Last night was a disappointment for the Liberal Democrats even though more people voted for us than ever before.
"Many people during the election campaign were excited about doing something different but it seems that many of them, in the end, decided to go with somebody they knew better.
"Now we're in a very fluid political situation ... as I've said before it seems to me that it's right that all political leaders act in the national interest... I've also said the party which gets the most seats has the first right to try to govern either on it's on or with other parties and I stick to that view.
"I think it is now for the Conservative Party to prove that it is able to govern in the national interest.
"I repeat again my assurance that... I will continue to argue for greater fairness in British society ... but also for extensive, real reform that we need to fix our broken political system."
10.31: Nick Clegg has arrived in London from his Sheffield constituency. Expected to make a statement in the next few minutes.
10.01: Share of UK votes (change on 2005 result) - Conservative, 36% (+4); Labour 29% (-6%); Lib Dems 23% (+1%); Others 12% (+1%)
09.55: It's official - the UK has a hung parliament.
No party is now capable of wresting overall control in Westminster. Much will depend on the position of the Lib Dems. Leader Nick Clegg will make a statement at 10.30am.
09.16: Confirmed - Nick Clegg to make a statement at Liberal Democrat headquarters at 10.30am. Follow it live with scotsman.com
09.14: After two recounts, it's confirmed that the Conservatives have gained Hendon from Labour with a majority of 106.
08.58: Junior justice minister Claire Ward loses Watford to Conservative Richard Harrington.
08.49: Theresa May, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary: "I think if we just look at the figures to see the magnitude of what has happened here, because Labour has now lost more seats than they've lost at any General Election since 1931 – and we, the Conservative Party, have gained more seats at any General Election since 1931.
"... I find it slightly strange that, at a time when we're facing such severe economic problems in this country, when there are so many other problems in our society that we need to resolve, that the one issue that seems to be the key for the Liberal Democrats is indeed electoral reform."
08.40: Glenda Jackson holds Hampstead and Kilburn for Labour with a majority of 42.
08.38: More from Mandelson: "What this election has shown is that our election first past the post system is on its last legs. What people want to see is a system where Members of Parliament have to take the views of voters seriously.
"Political and electoral reform is going to weigh quite heavily in discussions within and between parties in the days to come."
08.34: Peter Mandelson: "It is important that we approach this situation in a calm and responsible way.
"The Prime Minister cannot just resign and leave a vacuum... convention says that the incumbent Prime Minister needs to see if he can continue to command a majority in the House of Commons.
"The public, in a sense, has voted to turn a page in the political book but they haven't voted substantively to say that a new chapter should open.
"I don't think it would help matters if he (Gordon Brown] was to suddently step aside."
08.29: Reaction from successful election candidates in Edinburgh and the Lothians on our live blog.
07.54: Harriet Harman: "It's not our decision, it's the people's decision. They have not given David Cameron and overall majority. It's the Prime Minister's obligation to see if he can form a coalition to make a government."
07.48: Peter Hain on Sky News. He appears to be trying to woo the Lib Dems into forming some sort of coalition.
07.03: No words from Brown for the waiting press at Downing Street despite the goading questions asking if he'll resign.
06.59: Gordon Brown is on his way to Downing Street. Will have have a word for the waiting press?
06.37: Clegg: "This has been a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats, we simply haven't achieved what we'd hoped.
"As for what happens next... the final result is still a little unpredictable... no-one appears to have won emphatically.
"I don't think anyone should rush into making claims or taking decisions which don't stand the test of time. I think everyone should take a little time so that we get the good government we deserve in this difficult times.
"I will be guided by the principles the Liberal Democrats fought this election on - fairness in our society ... and real change to the way we do politics."
06.35: Nick Clegg holds his Sheffield Hallam seat. He's about to address the crowd at the count. Will he address how the Lib Dems will approach a hung parliament?
06.30: Alistair Carmichael holds Orkney and Shetland for the Liberal Democrats.
Lib Dem Scottish leader increases majority by 10 per cent.
06.29: Liberal Democrats - Party with the biggest share of vote has a right to govern.
06.20: So what happen's next - Coping with a minority government - what the leaders could do
06.16: Caroline Lucas, the UK's first Green MP: "Today the people of Brighton Pavilion have made history by electing Britain's first Green MP to Westminster.
"Thank you so much for putting the politics of hope above the politics of fear and I pledge that I will do my very best to do you proud.
"For once the word historic fits the bill."
05.50: Westminster has its first Green MP.
05.45: Vince Cable holds Twickenham for the Lib Dems
05.30: David Cameron and Gordon Brown are now at their respective London headquarters.
With 150 seats still to declare it looks as if the Conservatives will be the biggest party at Westminster but some way short of having an overall majority.
05.09: Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray: "It's no surprise the Liberal Democrats didn't win this seat given the mess they've made at Edinburgh Council."
05.05: So with two Scottish seats still to declare - Argyll and Bute and Orkney and Shetland (both currently held by the Lib Dems) - the electoral picture in Scotland is very familiar.
Labour has won back both the seats it lost in by-elections - Dunfermline West and Glasgow East - and these seats are the only two to change hands on the night.
Labour's vote in Scotland has increased. It's fallen in every other part of Britain.
05.03: Communities Minister Shahid Malik has lost his seat in Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire. Mr Malik was beaten by Tory Simon Reevell who overturned a Labour majority of more than 4,500.
04.56: Another former Home Secretary has lost his seat. Charles Clarke has lost Norwich South to a Conservative challenger by just 310 votes.
04.52: Labour holds Edinburgh South.
Ian Murray holds off the challenge of the Liberal Democrat's Fred Mackintosh.
Labour's majority in the seat is just 316.
04.51: Education Minister Ed Balls holds his seat - by 1,101 votes.
04.50: David and Samantha Cameron arrive at Tory HQ in London
04.48: Claim - Labour have held on to Edinburgh South - one of the Liberal Democrat's top UK target seats.
04.41: Liberal Democrats hold Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
Charles Kennedy is returned to Westminster.
04.38: Alex Salmond: "I don't believe the Conservatives have a mandate to run Scotland.
On the SNP's 20-seat target: "Unless you set an ambitious target then you'll never achieve anything in politics."
04.35: Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith loses Redditch to the Conservatives.
She had been one of the most high profile MPs caught up in the expenses scandal.
04.33: Tough night for Nick Clegg
The Liberal Democrat's strong showing in pre-election opinion polls has not been reflected in an increased number of Westminster seats.
04.28: Esther Rantzen's bid to become an MP has failed.
She polled just over 1,800 votes in Luton South. That's life, Esther!
04.26: Alex Salmond: "SNP won't hit 20 seat target."
04.22: Malcolm Bruce holds Gordon for the Liberal Democrats
04.17: David Mundell: "It wasn't my intention to be the only Conservative in Scotland five years ago and it wasn't my intention tonight.
"I recognise this has been a very good night for Labour in Scotland."
"(Conservatives] have fought a very good campaign. We've demonstrated that the Conservatives are very much part of the mainstream in Scotland.
"We wait to see what the overall result is in the United Kingdom."
04.16: "Absolutely not, not for five minutes."
Chancellor Alistair Darling after being asked if he would consider being
a caretaker Labour leader in the event of Gordon Brown resigning.
04.11: Danny Alexander holds Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey for the Liberal Democrats.
Danny Alexander, Nick Clegg's chief of staff, returns to Westminster with an increased majority.
04.08: Labour hold Ochil and South Perthshire
The seat was number one on the list of SNP targets but Gordon Banks has held the seat for Labour and increased his majority by 6.5%. The SNP, represented by Annabelle Ewing, saw their share of the vote fall by 2.5%.
04.07: Sir Robert Smith holds West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine for the Liberal Democrats.
04.05: Former GMTV reporter Gloria De Piero has won the Ashfield seat in Nottinghamshire for Labour.
04.03: Russell Brown holds Dumfries and Galloway for Labour.
Mr Brown had been under pressure from the Conservative candidate Peter Duncan but increased his majority.
03.59: "It's a third world lack of democracy we're seeing."
Alex Salmond on the scenes of would-be voters being unable to get into polling stations in England.
03.54: SNP hold Banff and Buchan
Alex Salmond's former seat is held for the SNP by Eilidh Whiteford.
03.49: Alistair Darling - "We have had a good night in Scotland. If you look what's happening south of the border the picture is mixed ... we don't yet know what the final shape of the House of Commons will be. We don't know who is going to be in a position to form the next government.
"The Prime Minister is the Prime Minister until he resigns. The test is, 'can he retain the confidence of the House of Commons'?"
03.47: Shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell holds Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale for the Conservatives.
03.39: Aberdeen South: Anne Begg holds the seat for Labour.
Seat had been a target for the Liberal Democrats.
03.35: Michael Mooore holds Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk for the Liberal Democrats
The seat was a top Tory target in Scotland.
03.34: Lib Dems hold Edinburgh West
03.30: Labour's election campaign co-ordinator Douglas Alexander: "It's too early to try and call this election but what is already clear is the SNP are moving backwards, the Conservatives are going nowhere in Scotland.
"That's why there's some way yet to run in this election. We've some spectacular results across Scotland.
"Right across Scotland, people have come home to Labour. We've never taken Scotland for granted, we've worked for every vote this evening and we've enjoyed success as a consequence of a great deal of hard work."
03.19: Labour hold Edinburgh North - claim
03.17: Labour hold Glasgow North West, Lib Dems hold East Dunbartonshire
03.12: Labour hold Edinburgh South West
Chancellor Alistair Darling has been re-elected. The Tories had faint hopes of ousting the high profile cabinet minister, but it never looked likely.
03.09: Labour hold Glasgow South, SNP hold Moray
Tom Harris wins more than half of the vote to keep Glasgow red. SNP's reign in Moray was never in doubt, especially after Stuart MacLennan's Twitter gaffes.
03.05: David Cameron: "It's clear that the Labour government has lost its mandate to govern this country."
02.55: Labour hold West Dunbartonshire and Glasgow South West
Containing the Govan shipyards, this Labour heartland was only going to go one way, despite the efforts of Tommy Sheridan. Similarly, the new constituency of West Dunbartonshire is also known for its Clydeside heritage - safe Labour in other words.
02.50: Labour hold Edinburgh East
Despite the SNP launching their campaign here, Sheila Gilmore managed to increase the Labour majority slightly.
02.44: Labour hold East Renfrewshire
Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has secured his seat for Labour, despite a challenge from the Tories in this once Conservative seat. In the end it was a comfortable win, with a 3.16% swing to Labour.
02.41: Labour hold Glasgow North
More economically diverse than most Glasgow seats, but Labour were still expected to hold on despite some strong Lib Dem support in the area.
02.38: SNP hold Perth and Perthshire North
A welcome bit of good news for the Nationalists this, as this was the Tories most winnable target in Scotland.
02.36: Margaret Curran speaking after her win for Labour: "It's a particularly decisive result. We have worked very hard in Glasgow East. It was a particularly good result, so we are very, very pleased."
02.28: Labour hold Midlothian, Stirling and Linlithgow & Falkirk East
02.22: Labour gain Dunfermline & Fife West from Lib Dems
More success for Labour has they reclaim the Fife seat they lost to the Lib Dems' Willie Rennie in the 2006 by-election that followed the death of Labour MP Rachel Squire.
02.20: Labour hold Glasgow Central, Inverclyde, Paisley & Renfrewshire South
02.15: Labour hold Livingston
Despite strong SNP support in Livingston itself, the surrounding areas of this constituency made it a safe hold for Labour.
02.13: Labour gain Glasgow East
Margaret Curran has reclaimed the only blip of SNP territory in Glasgow by a huge margin. John Mason, who took the seat in that seismic by-election shock, only managed 7,957 votes to Curran's 19,797.
02.05: SNP hold Angus
A real boost for the SNP after a shaky start to the night. This former Tory seat was a target for Cameron in Scotland, and it could be significant of the status quo remaining north of the border, as the Scotsman/YouGov poll predicted on Tuesday.
02.00: Labour hold Falkirk, Kilmarnock & Loudon, and Glenrothes
Another disappointment for SNP, as they fail to oust Eric Joyce in Falkirk despite the expenses scandal. Alex Salmond made a point of campaigning there in the final days, so that could be indicative of the Nationalists' fortunes tonight.
01.52: Labour hold East Lothian and Dundee West
Failing in Dundee West is a blow to SNP, as it was second in their list of target seats and key in their ambitions to gain a foothold in Scotland's cities.
01.47: Speaking at the Glasgow count, deputy SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon: "It's very early in the night across the country. The SNP have fought fantastic campaigns right across Glasgow.
"Clearly this is an election where Glasgow has been shut out of much of the media coverage and that has been difficult for us and you may see that reflected in some of the results, but we will see what happens. I know I'm very proud of all our candidates because they have been absolutely outstanding."
01.44: Labour hold Lanark & Hamilton East
Redrawn in 2005, the constituency includes former industrial areas such as Uddingston and Larkhall and was taken easily in 2005 by Labour.
01.38: Labour hold Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath
Prime Minister Gordon Brown holds on to this safest of safe Labour seats with a majority of 23,009.
01.35: Lib Dems hold Fife North East
Former party leader Sir Menzies Campbell holds on to this mainly rural constituency.
01.32: Tory MSP David McLetchie has conceded his party will not win Edinburgh South West from Chancellor Alistair Darling. At the count in the capital, he also wrote off the chances of beating Labour in Edinburgh South against competition from the Lib Dems.
Mr McLetchie said: "It looks like we're not going to win these seats. I think it's very, very unlikely, based on the samples that have been counted."
He added: "It looks as though it's the case, as in other parts of Scotland, that the Labour vote is proving to be remarkably resilient, unlike the situation down south, which makes it very difficult for us to win seats where we had our guns trained on Labour."
01.24: Labour hold Motherwell and Wishaw
Labour hold another safe Scottish seat, home to the former steel works at Ravenscraig and numerous social housing estates.
01.12: Labour hold Rutherglen and Hamilton West
The first Scottish result of the night sees Labour hold on to a former industrial seat that contains Rutherglen and Cambuslang, one that they have held since 1987.
Labour Holyrood leader Iain Gray hailed the outcome as a "very good result" for the party: "Tom (Greatrex) will be a fabulous MP and will, I hope, be one of a new crop of young Labour MPs from Scotland."
01.10: Gordon Brown will try to form a coalition government to keep Labour in power if there is a hung parliament, Downing Street sources confirmed tonight.
The Downing Street sources said Mr Brown would insist on his right as Prime Minister to try to form an administration even if he did not command the largest party in the Commons.
01.08: Plaid Cymru gain Arfon from Labour
Conservatives gain Kingswood from Labour
DUP hold Upper Ban
01.07: Conservatives hold Broxbourne
01.01: DUP hold Lagan Valley
00.58: Gordon Brown has arrived at his count for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, accompanied by his wife Sarah. The couple were greeted by applause from supporters.
00.53: Alliance gain Belfast East from DUP
First shock result of the night, with First Minister Peter Robinson losing his seat. Of course, he was mired in scandal earlier this year and had to stand down for a period of time.
00.52: Labour hold Durham North
00.49: DUP hold Antrim North
23.52: Counting in Londonderry, Northern Ireland had to be suspended tonight because of a bomb alert. A car, hijacked earlier in the city, was abandoned in a car park.
Police across Northern Ireland had been on high alert because of the security threat and were expecting some sort of act by republicans opposed to the peace process.
23.47: There have been angry scenes at some polling stations tonight as queues of people were turned away at 10pm without registering their democratic right. At polling stations in London and Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg's seat, hundreds of voters were turned away.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said that the situation could lead to legal challenges: "What the returning officers should have done is brought everyone in and locked the door."
A Conservative party spokesman commented: "These are very disturbing stories which clearly need to be thoroughly investigated."
23.43: Labour hold Sunderland Central
23.28: Labour hold Washington & Sunderland West
23.17: Revised exit polls: Tories on 305 seats, Labour on 255, Lib Dems on 61
22.55: Labour hold Houghton & Sunderland South:
22.30: More reaction to the exit poll result
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson: "Of course, many people have turned away from the Labour Party but what they haven't done is to fly into the arms of David Cameron's Tories."
A senior Tory source: "If true, this poll is a decisive rejection of the Labour Government. The Conservatives would be gaining the most seats for 80 years and see the biggest swing for 80 years. We will do what we need to do to provide stable government for Britain."
22.05pm: Britain is heading for a hung Parliament with the Conservatives the largest party, according to a BBC/ITV News/Sky News exit poll.
The poll gives the Tories 307 seats, Labour 255 and the LibDems 59.
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