LiveTory majority as Miliband, Clegg, Farage quit

Summary

  1. Conservatives have Commons majority of 12
  2. David Cameron promises his party will 'govern as a party of one nation'
  3. Ed Miliband quits as Labour leader. Ed Balls loses seat
  4. Labour crushed in Scotland, with SNP winning 56 of 59 seats
  5. Lib Dems routed, big names ousted - Clegg holds seat but resigns as leader
  6. UKIP gets 13% of vote but Nigel Farage quits as leader after missing out on seat

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis, Angela Harrison and Georgina Pattinson

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Good night

As the Election Live page prepares to say goodnight, here's a look back at today's momentous events.

BBC
  • David Cameron has promised to lead a "one nation country" and "make Britain greater" after securing an overall majority of 12 for the Conservatives
  • The Tories won 331 seats and Labour won 232, while the Liberal Democrats secured just eight
  • UKIP took one seat and the Greens kept their one seat while Plaid Cymru has held its three seats
  • David Cameron has re-appointed senior ministers, including George Osborne as Chancellor and Theresa May as Home Secretary
  • Polling organisations are to hold an inquiry into why the polls did not reflect people's real voting intentions.

Fiscal autonomy

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

Asked whether Mr Cameron would have to offer Scotland fiscal autonomy, the Conservatives' Jeremy Hunt told Newsnight : "I think David Cameron was, in a way, saying that.

"I think it was very significant that in his acceptance speech in his own constituency and his speech on the steps of Number 10, he talked so much about preserving the union.

"The words he used were that he would give more autonomy to Scotland than any other part or region anywhere in the world."

Council elections

The Conservatives also made gains in the council elections.

With counting completed in more than two thirds of the 279 authorities, they had taken Amber Valley, Gravesham and North Warwickshire from Labour, Hinckley & Bosworth from Lib Dems; and Richmondshire from independents.

Labour gained Bradford, Stockton-on-Tees and West Lancashire - where there had been no overall control - but lost Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Telford & Wrekin.

The Lib Dems lost to no overall control at South Somerset, Three Rivers and Watford.

Counting is continuing and some results might not be known until Monday.

Potential pitfalls

Looking ahead to David Cameron's in-tray, the PM has promised a referendum on Britain's EU membership by 2017.

For some MPs, that's the top priority - but one leading euro-sceptic backbencher, Mark Pritchard, said there was no immediate pressure on Mr Cameron.

"I think it's right that we have a referendum at the end of 2017 to give the prime minister the space to go to Brussels to negotiate on Britain's behalf," he said.

"I think reforms are not only needed for our relationship with Europe but also it's needed for Europe itself in order to thrive and prosper in a global race.

"The party will be 100% behind the PM as he goes off to Brussels to fight for Britain and indeed fight for an improved European Union."

Blairite view

Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hutton has said that Labour must pick its next leader from the emerging generation of MPs, by-passing the older favourites for the job, such as Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper.

The defeat at the polls had set the party back 30 years, Lord Hutton said, blaming the lack of public appetite for an "old school socialist menu".

The National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet early next week to set a timetable for a contest to replace both Ed Miliband and deputy leader Harriet Harman, who is also stepping down.

European Photopress Agency

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Potential rebels

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

Newsnight's political editor Allegra Stratton says the Conservative backbenchers who will be causing David Cameron trouble in a few weeks' time are celebrating tonight.

She adds that without the Lib Dems in government, the prime minister will have "patronage" and ministerial jobs to give, which will put some of those potential rebels, "on the payroll" and make them less likely to defy the whip.

Meanwhile, she says the Lib Dems feel "cannibalised" and will go very hard for the Conservatives in this Parliament.

Have your say

Email: politics@bbc.co.uk

Farron tipped for leader

The former editor of The Liberal, Benjamin Ramm, is suggesting Tim Farron will be the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. He says the party's leadership contests "tend to go the way of the candidate with greater national public profile, regardless of the campaign and within the party Farron is widely recognised and respected".

He said: "Not even the Lib Dems' harshest critics...could have predicted that the party would lose 85% of its seats. Party activists and organisers are in deep shock; many of them shared Clegg's optimism. It is likely that local election results will bring more grim news and further weaken the party's base."

Mark Easton: 'Divided nation'

AFP

The question uppermost in the prime minister's mind as he assembles his new government is how to keep the kingdom united, writes Mark Easton.

Popping corks

What would you do if you'd just won the general election? Plan your legislative programme? Get some sleep?

According to the Daily Telegraph, David Cameron and his wife Samantha have gone out to dinner in London's Mayfair.

Obviously there's time for a celebratory dinner following the Conservative's surprise election win.

On the line

Downing Street has said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had called victorious Prime Minister David Cameron to congratulate him on a "simply great" result.

The pair agreed to talk more soon and Mr Cameron said he was looking forward to the summit of the G7 group of major industrialised powers, which Germany is hosting in Bavaria next month.

Did it all really happen?

The Daily Telegraph

The paper's sketchwriter Michael Deacon writes - after obviously staying up to report on the results for a long, long time - and believes he is hallucinating after an extraordinary night.

He writes: "Look. I'm really sorry. I know this is going to seem like an unusual question. After all, this is a newspaper. We're the ones who are supposed to tell you the news, not the other way round.

"But seriously, because I need to know: did any of that actually happen?

"Really. I mean it. The general election. Did it happen? Is it true? I mean, I watched it happen, but I'm just not convinced. The Conservatives winning a majority - that can't have happened. Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage, Nick Clegg resigning - that can't have happened. Ed Balls losing his seat - that can't have happened. It just can't. It's not plausible. We had opinion polls every day for months telling us that it wasn't going to go like this. They can't all have been wrong. Not all of them."

Obama call

We heard earlier about a message of support and congratulations to David Cameron from US President Barack Obama.

Now Downing Street has said Mr Cameron took a call from Mr Obama, who told him he was "a great partner" and the US President was "thrilled to keep working together".

AP

And now...

For something a little more light-hearted on BBC One.

For a fresh look at the general election, it's Have I Got News For You - recorded earlier this morning and hosted by comedian Jo Brand.

Paddy Ashdown

Question Time

BBC

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown said the election had been a "painful, difficult and humbling experience".

The Question Time panel was asked why the Lib Dems appeared to have been punished for the coalition's failings while the Conservatives had been credited with its successes.

Lord Ashdown replied: "We have to very seriously consider what the answer to that question is. This close to such a painful, difficult, humbling and humiliating experience, I'm not sure I'm rationally capable of doing that."

Fellow panellist, the columnist Julia Hartley-Brewer went to give Lord Ashdown a consoling hug, but he joked "I don't want your sympathy".

Recruitment boost

Question Time

Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown defends the Liberal Democrats, who did so badly in yesterday's general election - and says that the party has received applications for membership from 1,000 people "because they see what is at risk now if we are not a powerful liberal force holding the central ground".

"The Liberal Democrats will return," he promises.

Host David Dimbleby points out the irony of defeat leading to an upsurge in recruitment. "Sometimes, it is so," says Lord Ashdown.

Sturgeon warns Cameron

Speaking to BBC Scotland about her "short courtesy call" to David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon said she congratulated the PM on his win but warned him that it cannot be "business as usual" in Scotland after her party's historic success.

Ms Sturgeon said she told Mr Cameron that Scotland had "voted for change", and her party's MPs would ensure its voice was heard.

She said there was "no doubt the 56 MPs elected for the SNP will come here to Westminster to make Scotland's voice heard."

To read more about Ms Sturgeon's chat with Mr Cameron and to see how Scotland's political map has changed click here.

Shouting out

Question Time

An audience member is vociferous about the power of Rupert Murdoch. He has got the result he wanted, she shouts, with the SNP and the Conservatives victorious.

Former Conservative MP Francis Maude says it is an insult to the British electorate to say that they are influenced by newspapers like this.

Lord Ashdown tells Mr Maude that it is dangerous to the British state that your party [the Conservatives] has allowed Mr Murdoch so much power. But journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer says that such persuasion that the papers try to exercise does not have much influence.