Conservative Diary

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Rolling blog of all election developments

Click here for the major developments blog. Click here for news of how we are doing in target seats.

8.29am: Poor Chris Philip. Glenda Jackson beat him by just 42 votes after a recount. Angie Bray wins Ealing C and Acton on a 5% swing.

8am: We are now into a full blooded attempt by senior Labour politicians to build a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Peter Mandelson has told the BBC that Brown going was one of "a number of permutations".

7.16am The Tories have gained two, possibly three, seats in Cornwall but the LibDems have kept Solihull.

6.46am Conservatives have gained Camborne & Redruth from LDs (George Eustice) but have lost Wells to LDs (David Heathcoat Amory).

6.15am Eric Pickles: "Well given that Labour has just suffered an historic defeat in terms of the number of seats that it lost…I think really it’s time to go for Gordon Brown, no one every elected him, no one wanted him and that nation hasn’t taken to him."

6.09am: BBC forecasting Con 37%, Lab 30%, LD 23%, Others 10%.

6.01am: Sky forecast: Con 309, Lab 259, LD 54, Others 28.

5.55am Two Green MPs elected. Brighton Pavilion elect Caroline Lucas. Richmond Park elects Zac Goldsmith. Many congrats to Zac. He won easily with a majority of over 4,000.

5.29am: So sorry for Shaun Bailey not winning Hammersmith. The Tories have underperformed in London. Two of Project Cameron's most compassionate individuals - Shaun and Philippa Stroud won't be in the Commons.

5.14am: ConservativeHome no longer believes a Tory majority is possible. ConHome sources are talking of 310 seats.

5.03am On BBCTV Lord Ashcroft blames Tory agreement to debates for likely failure to win majority.

4.58am: Tories do not take Westminster North. The Association was badly divided by the whole Joanne Cash affair.

4.55am The 51 Tory gains so far.

4.40am Tories win Dewsbury. LibDems hold Chippenham and Sutton & Cheam.

4.36am Jacqui Smith loses Redditch to Karen Lumley on 9.2% swing.

4.22am The best result of the evening so far. The secular priest Evan Harris has lost Oxford West. There is a God.

4.17am Conservatives gain Stroud and Dudley South.

4.06am Mark Garnier has won Wyre Forest from the independent MP, Dr Richard Taylor. Over at Seats and candidates Jonathan Isaby is recording all Tory gains.

3.58am: Conservatives gain Stockton South.

3.51am: David Mundell keeps his seat. No Scottish wipeout.

3.48am: Tories gain Carlisle, Carmarthen West from Labour and Romsey from LibDems.

3.39am: A list of the 26 Tory gains so far.

3.32am: Conservatives gain Dartford and Bedford from Labour.

3.24am: Conservatives make another gain from the Liberal Democrats. Newton Abbott.

3.16am: Robert Halfon has won Harlow. Wonderful. He's given everything over three elections.

3.09am Iain Martin: "Labour is doing brilliantly in Scotland in this election. It is turning into a car crash for the Tories. If the Conservatives were breaking through north of the border then they would have come closer in Stirling -- but there was a 3.5% swing to Labour. And what about Renfrewshire East? It seems that Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy -- who had been fearing defeat -- has thumped his Tory opponent and ended up with a 10,420 majority. These developments have huge significance if David Cameron is headed for Number 10. It will be said he has zero legitimacy in Scotland and the campaign for more powers for the Scottish parliament will restart within hours. On top of the economic crisis, you can add a crisis in the Union to the list of problems facing Cameron if he is PM."

3.06am: Charlie Elphicke gains Dover - suggesting clean sweep of all Kent seats for Conservative Party.

3.03am: David Cameron at his count: "I believe it is already clear that the Labour government has lost its mandate to govern our country." He claims Tories have largest number of gains for eighty years.

2.47am: Tories lose Eastbourne to LibDems but gain Harrogate.

2.39am: Great results for Douglas Carswell and Adam Holloway. Douglas got a 17% swing. Adam an 18% swing. Wow.

2.24am: Lembit Opik loses Montgomeryshire to Conservatives on 13.2% swing. Surprise and very welcome pick up.

2.19am: Tories hold Eastbourne - against expectations. The LibDems are not breaking through.

2.15am: Tories hold Crewe and Nantwich.

2.15am: Oliver Letwin beats off LibDem challenge in West Dorset.

2.15am: Tories gain Aberconwy on 7.6% swing.

2.09am: Zac Goldsmith looks set to win Richmond Park.

2am: Big congratulations to Richard Benyon. 7% swing from LibDems to Conservative.

1.56am: Tories gain Loughborough. Congratulations to Nicky Morgan.

1.52am: Failing to win Telford, Tooting and Gedling is worrying for the Tory chances of winning a majority.

1.46am: Reg Empey, leader of the UUP - Conservative alliance falls 1,400 short in South Antrim.

1.42am: Tories hold the super-marginal seat of Guildford from the Liberal Democrats (unconfirmed).

1.40am: David Dimbleby described Gordon Brown's speech as valedictory. Nonsense. It sounded like he has no intention of giving up. He wants a LibLab coalition.

1.36am As expected, the Conservatives have gained Battersea.

1.30am ConHome's sources now suggesting Labour have just held on in Tooting.

1.15am Swing of 9.9% in Putney suggests Tories on course to gain neighbouring Battersea and Tooting

1.09am Paddy Ashdown says exit poll is rubbish; he's expecting Tory majority.

1.05am: First Tory gain of night. Chris Skidmore is new Tory MP for Kingswood on a 9.4% swing.

12.58am Swing of 4.3% LD to Con in Lib Dem stronghold of Thornbury and Yate; Swing of 9.1% Lab to Con in what used to be Alan Milburn's seat of Darlington .

12.53am ConHome sources say that things are "not looking good in Somerset", while in Blackpool we are edging ahead in Blackpool North and Cleveleys and things are neck and neck in the more difficult Blackpool South.

12.50am: On a 22.9% swing Peter Robinson, DUP leader, has lost his seat. If the Conservatives need Northern Irish MPs this will make things more difficult.

12.38am The first sign of internal Labour trouble: Kate Hoey @ WSJ Party: if the results are as they look tonight, Gordon will go very, very quickly

12.32am Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, says Tory campaign "failed utterly to take off".

12.30am BBC saying Greens confident about electing Caroline Lucas as their party's first MP.

11.51pm Paul Goodman tweets: "Turnout climbs. Voters queue at polling stations. Some are turned away after ten o'clock - whatever happened to disillusion with politics?"

11.43pm: 4.8% swing to the Tories in Sunderland Central. The Tories had hoped they might pick this one up but it was always a tall order.

11.35pm: VERY loyal from Benedict Brogan: "Let’s applaud what David Cameron has delivered even on this measurement: a 5.5pc swing is bigger than what the Tories achieved in 1951, 1970, or 1979. It appears to be the biggest gain of seats since 1931 (and for Labour the biggest loss of seats since 1931)."

11.30pm: Second swing of night is 11.6% to Tories in Washington and Sunderland West.

11.15pm: A good source tells us that there is a strong LibDem challenge to the Conservatives in Totnes. Currently neck-and-neck in the seat where the Tories held a ground-breaking open primary ballot.

11pm: From Jonathan Isaby: The Press Association has estimated declaration times for every seat in the country. Here are some seats expected to declare in the first couple of hours (11pm-1am) which will give us indications of how the Conservatives are doing in different kinds of seats :

  • Very early declaration expected new Sunderland Central constituency, where Tory candidate Lee Martin needs a swing of 12.8% to take the seat. Will be an important indicator of how the Conservatives have performed in the north of England and – perhaps even more importantly – whether or not the third-placed Liberal Democrats have made inroads into Labour’s core vote.
  • Birmingham Edgbaston could be the first “must win” Tory target to declare a result, where former minister Gisela Stuart will lose the seat on a swing of just 2% to Conservative challenger, Deirdre Alden.
  • Basildon South and Thurrock East will be regained on a swing of barely 1% - but the scale of the likely victory there will be studied to ascertain how the party will fare in the string of crucial marginals elsewhere in Essex and north Kent.
  • Look out for early results from Wandsworth. Putney will see Justine Greening retain her seat and an easy gain is expected in Battersea for Jane Ellison. Most important there is Tooting, where Tory challenger Mark Clarke must oust transport minister Sadiq Khan (on a 6% swing) if David Cameron is to secure a working Commons majority.
  • There are lots of marginals in West Yorkshire, of which the first to declare are expected to be (Labour-held) Leeds North East and (Lib Dem-held) Leeds North West, where Tory gains or close-run contests will be required if the party can be confident of easier gains elsewhere in the county.
  • If the Conservatives struggle against the Lib Dems, we'll need to go further down the list of vulnerable Labour seats, so would need to be attaining the required swing of 7.5% to gain Labour seats like Telford and Vale of Clwyd.
  • Torbay is 57th on the national Tory target list and will be an early indicator of how things are going in Lib-Con marginals. Second-time candidate Marcus Wood will oust the incumbent Lib Dem MP on a swing of 3%.
  • As for how the party is doing in defending seats against the Lib Dems, look out for the result in New Forest East where Julian Lewis will retain the seat, but any reduction in his margin of victory will be a worry for other Tories facing a Lib Dem threat.

10.55pm: First swing of night equals 8.4%, we need a little over 7% nationally. Encouraging.

10.51pm: The NewStatesman tweets: "Kinnock on ITV News: "today should be last day of FPTP". After Johnson and Mandelson, concerted Lab effort to talk up electoral reform."

10.45pm: An important finding from YouGov if there is a hung parliament;

443810.41pm: Theresa May is Tory spokesman on the BBC; confirming CCHQ's high view of her.

10.40pm: Arnie Schwarzenegger calls DC to congratulate him on victory. ‘Even though results aren't in we know the Conservatives had a great day’

10.38pm Jonathan Isaby: I just don't believe this exit poll is right - I think it underestimates the Conservatives and Lib Dems, and overestimates Labour - not least because it is based on a uniform national swing.  Today more than ever we are seeing different trends in individual seats, even in neighbouring seats, which makes it far harder to translate a national poll across every seat. This is especially true when predicting the outcome for the Lib Dems as they are in contention in far fewer seats nationally. Another issue is that more people than ever before have voted by post and are therefore not included in exit poll interviews conducted today.

10.22pm: Lord Mandelson tells BBC that he would not believe a hung parliament was possible six months ago. He also says the First Past The Post electoral system is on its last legs.

10.18pm Henry Macrory of CCHQ tweets: Labour are on course to lose the most seats since 1931.

10.15pm Paul Goodman: If exit poll's right, LibDems have taken little if anything off Labour. Is this likely?

10.10pm: Michael Gove says don't necessarily trust the exit poll projection. It's based on uniform swing. Hunt says exit poll, if true, would amount to decisive rejection of Gordon Brown.


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