Richard North, 09/06/2017  
 


09:54: The noise to information ratio has dramatically increased as the broadcast media go into prattle mode. With only two seats to declare, the verdict of the people is now clear, so I will wrap up coverage and return for my normal posting schedule. Thank you to those many readers who stayed with me through the night, and thank you all for your continued support, financial and moral.

09:20: Barnier is offering an emollient message (tweet): Brexit negotiations should start when the UK is ready; timetable and EU positions are clear. Let's put our minds together on striking a deal. Meanwhile, all the media prattle is starting over, about remaining in the Customs Union. It's painful to listen to, as the pundits line up to parade their ignorance.

09:12: We're now on 647 seats declared. The Conservatives have 316 and Labour has 261. SNP is on 35 and the Lib-Dems have 12. Mrs May has not given any indication that she will resign. If she goes, it will have to be the men in grey suits. Uncertainty reigns.

05:00: We now have 600 out of the 650 seats declared and the final result is still in the balance. Labour have gained 29 seats overall and the Conservatives have lost 12. The SNP have lost 20 seats, while the Lib-Dems gain four. Amber Rudd, incidentally, keeps her seat in Hastings.  

Meanwhile, a watery light is breaking though the curtains into my office, I think it is time for a short break. I'll pick up the threads again when I've had some sleep. By the time I wake up, politically we'll be living in a different nation. 

04:45: Latest BBC forecast gives the Conservatives 318 seats and Labour 267. SNP get 32 and the Lib-Dems grasp 11. Ukip gets no seats at all, having lost Clacton, but - much neglected - the DUP get 10. That effectively gives Mrs May (or the new Conservative leader) command of 328 votes in the House. This is a working majority and is enough. The Conservatives will be able to form a government on the strength of this.

However, and obviously, Mrs May's authority is shot.She may not even have enough time to form a new government before she is deposed, and few "big beasts" will want to stand alongside her. On the other hand, the men in grey suits may go for that "period of stability", or even pull a caretaker out of obscurity to hold the. The one thing, though, none of us bargained on was, on the Friday morning, that we'd be talking about Mrs May's successor.

04:30: State of play: 535 of 650 seats declared. Conservatives have 244 seats, with nine losses. Labour has 227 with 25 gains. It is generally agreed that the Conservatives will fall short of an absolute majority. But, with the DUP's ten seats, they could form a government. It will be an extremely fragile government though, and one that will have no mandate to take a hard line in Brussels.

Mrs May's position as prime minister is now extremely fragile, and there will undoubtedly be manoeuvring to replace her. We may well be looking at another general election later this year, with no possibility of predicting an outcome. The great danger is that Brexit is put on hold, allowing a new government to row back on the referendum result. 

Everything is now up in the air, with no way of telling which way things will develop. There are far too many variables.

04:21: Alex Salmond loses his seat to the Conservatives, after 30 years in Parliament. 

04:16: Latest Labour gains from the Conservatives: Lincoln, Croydon Central and Warrington South and Reading. They take Leeds North West from the Lib Dems. Wever Vale goes to Labour with a near five percent swing (4.7 percent). Conservatives hold Thanet South, with the Ukip vote dropping from 16,026 (Farage) to 2,997. 

04:00: Latest projection from Sky News: a range from 315 to 325 in the upper range. With 471 seats declared, no definitive forecast can be made. Essentially, we are looking at a hung Parliament, with the Conservatives failing to gain an overall majority. 

It's going to be up to the Ulster Unionists to hold the balance of power. They will be in a powerful position to dictate the shape of the Brexit settlement. For the nation, I take this as a win, the best possible outcome from a scenario that did not hold a great deal of promise.

03:30: Mrs May retakes her seat (no surprise) and more or less concedes a hung parliament, calling for "a period of stability". Latest BBC projection gives 322 votes to the "May Team". Paul Nuttall gets 3,308 votes in Boston, down from  14,645 in 2015 - a humiliating snub. The Tories take the seat with 27,271 votes - a 19.8 percent increase, compared to the 26.1 percent drop for Ukip.

03:20: Labour gain expected in Canterbury, a seat held by the Conservatives since 1918.

03:16: Labour gains Bedford, Cardiff North and Stroud from the Conservatives, and East Lothian form the SNP. In all, with 331 seats declared, Labour have gained 16 seats. Conservatives overall have lost four seats, with the SNP gains keeping the party alive. SNP is taking a beating.

03:10: Lib-Dems take Bath from the Conservatives with a 17.6 percent swing. The Conservatives drop back two percent. Corbyn returns to Islington with the highest ever vote for his constituency. "Politics has changed" he says. He calls for May to go.

02:56: Conservatives lose Peterborough to Labour and Bristol North West. Vince Cable gets Twickenham. Ben Gummer, the "rising star" of the Conservative Party, loses to Labour in Ipswich, on the back of redistributed Ukip votes. Rudd is asking for a recount.

02:46: Nick Clegg out! Labour gain with 21,881 votes to 19,756. Alexander Johnson at Uxbridge keeps his seat, with a reduced majority.

02:42: Sky New projection: Conservatives seats range from 308-328, with a mid-point of 318. The complexity of the voting patterns preclude any tighter prediction.

02:35: Labour gain Midlothian from the SNP - the second Scottish gain for Labour, showing the traffic isn't entirely favouring the Conservatives. The Conservatives gained 13.5 percent but Labour got a 6.2 increase against 16.2. But the Tory swing wasn't enough to give them a seat.

02:30: Now 145 seats in. Labour up six and the Tories down one.  The Tory losses to Labour in Britain are being balanced by Tory gains from the SNP - a dynamic which will likely strengthen through the morning. At this stage, we could end up with the Ulster Unionists holding the balance of power. That could have a huge effect on the Brexit negotiations, as the Irish will insist on a "soft" Brexit in order to keep the border open. This would mean that we would have to go for an Efta/EEA option.

02:03: The story of the night is the collapse of the Ukip vote, with the demolition of the idea that the votes were going to drop into the lap of the Conservatives. Despite Mrs May donning the clothes of the Ukip hard-liners, significant (if variable) numbers are going over to Labour - enough to skew the results in Labour's favour. And news just in, Labour gains Battersea, ousting Jane Ellison. 

01:44: Swing to Labour in Putney. Justin Greening holds with a reduced majority. Talk also that Nick Clegg is out at Sheffield Hallam. Coming up to 50 seats, the traffic is "in the direction" of Labour, providing an early conformation of the generality of the exit poll. There is no way Mrs May can spin this as a success. In fact, she will be luck to survive this as prime minister. With luck, this puts her "no deal" back on the shelf. 

01:32: Tooting held by Labour, with a substantial increase in votes of 12.5 percent. This compares with a drop of 8.8 percent in the Conservative vote (compared with 2015). This not a Ukip effect here. It's a straight swing from Conservatives to Labour.

01:09: An interesting result from North Swindon. Conservative holds with 29,431 votes, an increase of 3.3 percent (up from 26,295 in 2015). But Labour gets 21,096, increased by 10.6 percent (up from 14,509). Ukip is down 12.5 percent (8,011 votes in 2015 to 1,564 this time). There is no way we can say that the Ukip vote is flowing to the Tories. 

01:09: Wrexham just in - a Tory target, held by Labour, ostensibly worse than predicted by the exit poll. Sporadic discussion on various channels is confronting the effect of the election on Brussels and the negotiations. If this is as bad as it is beginning to look, Mrs May will need to seek a time extension and put the negotiations on hold, pending another election in the autumn, when the Conservatives again will need to pitch for the "strong and stable" leadership that they haven't had from Mrs May.

01:03: Doing a catch-up, we have 15 results in, with ten seats going to Labour, which has taken 50.3 percent of the vote, with an overall swing of 9.2 percent. The Conservatives have taken five seats, again with an increased swing of 7.6 percent. This is a direct reflection of the collapse of the Ukip vote, which has dropped 13.5 percent, currently standing at a mere four percent. 

00:58: Another observation: given the right wing media's hysterical calls for the nation to rally round May, they have clearly lost any moral authority. Nobody has taken a blind bit of notice of them.

00:44: Brief (I hope) outage. Not happy. Back online, I hope.  Results coming in are consistent in one thing - Ukip vote heavily down, but redistribution is not uniform. That makes a mockery of all those pundits who held that Ukip was not having an effect. I was writing about the "Ukip effect" in 2005, but the pundits were not on the ball.

23:25 Overall turnout high - said to favour Labour.

23:17: Sunderland (Houghton & Sunderland South) confuses. Labour, Bridget Phillipson: 24,665 - 59.5 percent (+4.4); Conservative, Paul Howell: 12,324 - 29.7 percent (+11.2), Lib-Dems, Paul John Edgeworth: 908 - 2.2 percent (+0.1); UKIP, Michael Anthony Joyce: 2,379, 5.7 percent (-15.8). UKIP polled 8,280 votes in 2015. It appears some, but not all, went to the Tories.

23:10: First result in: Newcastle Central - two percent swing to Labour. Labour, Chi Onwurah: 24,071 - 64.9 percent; Conservative, Steve Kyte: 9,134 - (+24.6 percent); Liberal Democrat, Nick Cott: 1,812 - 4.9 percent; UKIP David Muat: 1,482 4.0 percent.   Turnout 37,094 - 67 percent. Ukip nosedives: did 5,214 (14.9 percent) last time.

23:00: Times front page out: "May's big gamble fails".


22:57
: The exit poll does not cover Northern Ireland. The Irish vote could deliver ten or more seats to the Conservatives. Talk of the mainland vote, suggesting that the Ukip vote hasn't gone to the Tories. ITV pundit, talking of the Scottish vote, says "no-one saw this coming!" The big loser - apart from the Tories - could be the polls.

22:49: And the Lib-Dems are saying "no coalition". It's too early to speculate on this ... all the exit poll does for the moment is make sure we stay up a little longer. Right now, I'd like to see an uncensored interview with David Cameron. 

22:44: Out of interest, Lord Ashcroft's final estimate gave 373 seats to Conservative seats - an overall majority of 96. If turnout were to match that of the 2015 election, his model estimated 364 Conservative seats, or a majority of 78.

22:38: With no results in at all, there's talk of another election later in the year. Great speculation on which Tories are going to lose their seats. Rudd is said to be in trouble.

22:07: Off to a stonking start with a BBC exit poll which has the Tories losing their overall majority. They take 314 seats compared with Labour's 226 (up 34) and with the SNP taking 34 (down 27). The Lib-Dems get 14, the Welsh 3, Greens 1 and Others 18. Ukip is slated to get no seats.

The loss-making Guardian puts the "others" at 138 - accurate to the last. Margin of error is said to be 20 seats.






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