A New Dawn Has Broken..
David Cameron could not have hoped for a better election night. The exit poll indicated he would hold onto power, while big Labour and Liberal Democrat names like Ed Balls and Vince Cable have lost their seats. Before the results, expectations were rife that Britain would be getting another hung parliament. But now, with suggestions that the Prime Minister might get enough seats for a majority, the results, which we are following on our live-blog, have already been full of drama.
Our front page leads on the exit poll giving Cameron the edge, the Guardian leads on the "poll shocker for Labour", while the Sun goes for "Swinging the Blues". The Daily Mirror went for "Five more damned years?", and removed the question mark as the results rolled in. The BBC exit poll, putting the Tories on 316 seats, Labour on 239, and the Lib Dems on 10, has proved remarkable. Pollsters are now estimating that the Tories could win more - around 329 seats. Paddy Ashdown pledged to eat a hat if the numbers were right, while Alastair Campbell said he would eat a kilt if the SNP swept the boards in Scotland, with both men now looking like they'll have to get ready to tuck in.
In 1997, Michael Portillo lost his seat as Tony Blair swept to power, while tonight has had its own "Portillo moments". Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander have lost their seats to the SNP. Meanwhile, Ed Balls lost to the Tories. Neil Kinnock once said that he "got his party back" when Ed Miliband became Labour leader, and the party is making that a reality, with the worst performance potentially in 30 years - when he was leader.
The Lib Dems have been butchered by voters, with ministers David Laws, Simon Hughes and Jo Swinson losing their seats. Being in cabinet didn't keep them safe, as Ed Davey, Vince Cable and Danny Alexander are gone. One ousted MP, John Hemming, has already urged Nick Clegg to quit, and suggested he had already done so. The Lib Dem performance has been so poor that their candidates have lost at least £141,500 in deposits. "We're in a bad way," one candidate told me, "and there's clearly work to be done to rebuild our party".
The Tories can't rest easy, as the SNP's breakthrough, dubbed the "ajockalypse", puts the future of the United Kingdom back on the agenda. Nicola Sturgeon's party won 56 seats while the "Conservative and Unionist Party" has just one. "The question for David Cameron this morning is whether, in the light of this result, he can save the Union," says Alan Cochrane, "and whether his party and a majority of English voters even want him to try". Cameron has recognised this, declaring his intention to govern "for everyone in the United Kingdom".
Ukip is so far failing to break through, with Tory defector Mark Reckless losing his seat. "Don't let the door hit your fat a**e as you leave," tweeted Conservative MP Claire Perry. Nigel Farage may also lose in South Thanet, which would mark his 7th failed parliamentary bid, and has promised to "be gone in ten minutes" as party leader if that happens.
Despite Ukip's apparent lack of new MPs (which we have been charting on our special Ukip results blog here), they have been coming second in lots of seats, and won over 2.5m votes so far, but their progress won't be fully represented in the House of Commons due to the electoral system."Britain's first-past-the-post system has taught Ukip a harsh lesson," thinks Matthew Goodwin. Could voting reform be on the next parliament's to-do list? "The consequences of this remarkable election are almost too various to count: thanks to Scotland, huge constitutional reform now seems inevitable," says James Kirkup.
THE NEW PORTILLO MOMENTS
Who are the winners and losers of 2015? Were you awake when their results were announced? If not, here, in pictures,are the big names who lost, including Esther McVey and Douglas Alexander, as well as the big winners - like Alex Salmond.
IT WAS ALL POLL-OCKS
Months of extensive opinion polling were wrong about the election result, a senior pollster admitted as the strength of the Conservative Party result confounded predictions, Ben Farmer reports. Opinion polls have consistently shown Labour and the Tories almost neck and neck for months, with little shift throughout the campaign.
The pound has soared by the most since the before the last general election as investors cheered early indicators that the Conservatives were on course to be the largest party in Britain, Mehreen Khan reports. Sterling had its sharpest rise against the euro for six years, rising by 2pc to hit €1.382 against the single currency after exit polls showed the Tories would take at least 316 seats out of a possible 650. The pound also jumped by 1.75pc against the dollar to $1.551 - a two-and-a-half month high on Friday morning.
THE YOUNG ONES
A firebrand, and at times foul-mouthed, Mhairi Black has become Britain's youngest ever MP as part of a block of nationalists intent on changing the face of English politics, Auslan Cramb reports. A political tsunami has swept Labour from its Scottish heartlands, and Mhairi Black, 20, will be one of the most unlikely parliamentarians washed into Westminster.
As the results of the General Election are announced through the night, Hannah Furness has been taking a light-hearted look at the more unusual winners and losers of 2015.
RESPECT FOR THE LAW
Respect Party's George Galloway has been reported to police for allegedly tweeting about election exit poll before its release, Leon Watson reports. It comes as the Bradford West candidate lost his seat to Labour candidate Naseem Shah, who won by a majority of 11,420.
TIME FOR CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER?
Labour is facing humiliation at the polls, with David Cameron firmly on course to remain as Prime Minister, leading many to question whether Ed Miliband should remain in power, Barney Henderson reports. If the Labour leader does stand aside, the favourite candidate to replace him would be the man he narrowly beat in the 2010 leadership election – his brother David, who is currently chief executive of the New York-based charity International Rescue Committee.
Voting in the General Election was embroiled in controversy with some Muslims told not to vote while others were allegedly ordered by spiritual leaders to back Labour. Here are more details. Meanwhile, Nicola Harley has reported on a police car exploding outside a General Election count.
Average of polls as of Thursday, May 7: Lab: 33.4%, Conservative: 33.6%, UKIP 13%, Lib Dem 8.9%, Green 5.1%. The data is from: YouGov, Populus, Opinium, ComRes, Survation, Ipsos MORI, ICM, TNS-BMRB.
TOO MANY TWEETS...
@SteveBrookstein: The good news for Ed Miliband, come Monday he'll be able to eat a bacon butty in peace. #ExitPolls
From The Telegraph
Rupert Myers - Hats off to Lynton Crosby - it's all over for Ed Miliband
Janet Daley - Why were so many people afraid to admit that they wanted to vote Tory?
Philip Stephens - Broken parties that may break Britain
Niall Ferguson - The lesson of the 2015 election? No good deed goes unpunished
General Election 2015 results are expected to be declared throughout the early hours of the morningTODAY IN PARLIAMENT