Londonist will be your companion through the night as the national and local election results roll in. Your hosts for the evening are Jonn (@jonnelledge), and Rachel (@bagelmouse), who’ll be rounding up the news as it happens and attempting to make some sort of sense of things. We can’t promise we’re not going to go a little wonky as the night goes on, mind.
We’d love to hear what’s going on in the big bad city this election night, so if you’re at a count somewhere or otherwise know something we don’t, leave a comment, get in touch with @Londonist on Twitter or via Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d love to hear what’s going on in the big bad city this election night, so if you’re at a count somewhere or otherwise know something we don’t, leave a comment, get in touch with @Londonist on Twitter or via Facebook, or email email@example.com.
10:55 Result in from Poplar and Limehouse, where George Galloway was attempting to smuggle himself into Parliament for the newly-redrawn constituency. The result: he hasn’t. Labour’s Jim Fitzpatrick, despite a nasty scandal last year in which he was accused of “politically hijacking” a Muslim wedding, clings on to his seat.
09:00 After 12 hours, we’re giving up for now and going to bed. The headlines so far are: long polling station queues led to some voters not being allowed to cast their ballots; we’re getting a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party; the expected Lib Dem swell failed to materialise; Zac Goldsmith took Richmond Park from the Lib Dems in the only real London upset of the night – but with more than ten seats still to declare, there’s time. (Though to be fair, we can’t imagine where any more shocks would come.) The BNP got beaten into third place in Barking and, away from the capital, the UK got its first Green MP.
08:55 A disappointing election for the Lib Dems gets worse as they’re wiped off the face of Greenwich council.
08:40 Kate Hoey holds Vauxhall for Labour and the first of the Lewisham results reveals a Lewisham East victory for the incumbent Labour party.
08:30 As we predicted, Ealing Central and Acton has changed hands to the Tories while Leyton and Wanstead remains red.
08:25 We have a result for Hampstead and Kilburn… and Glenda Jackson clings on for Labour by just
31 correction 42 votes over Conservative Chris Philp. Now that’s what we call close.
08:15 According to Ladbrokes on Wednesday (which seems a long, long way away) Streatham was evenly matched between Labour and the Lib Dems. In the end it’s been held by Labour. As has, should rumour be believed, Haringey council.
Countwatch: Vauxhall still not started, Hackney still verifying ballots. We think there’s about 20 London seats yet to declare.
08:00 Oops, did we forget to tell you about Lib Dem Tom Brake holding onto Carshalton and Wallington? Sorry. (Sources say Hampstead and Kilburn result will be announced soon.)
07:55 Ealing Southall and Walthamstow have been held by Labour. BBC News now dominated by politicians trying to position themselves as the primary movers in the mass pissing contest this hung parliament promises to deliver over the next couple of days.
07:40 Nick Raynsford wins for Labour again in Greenwich and Woolwich. @darryl1974 tweets “Huge cheers as Raynsford calls for next election count to be ‘finished 5 hours earlier and held somewhere 15c warmer’”.
For anyone wondering where the local election results are, the simple answer is that because parliamentary counts have gone forever (or perhaps it just feels like that), council ballots haven’t been tallied yet.
07:35 Tessa Jowell has kept Dulwich and West Norwood with an increased majority. And for anyone interested in Hampstead and Kilburn, the recount is continuing there with, we hear, as little as 17 votes between Labour and the Tories. Eeshk.
07:30 Chingford and Wood Green is a Tory hold, Ilford South and Ealing North are Labour holds, but it’s in Eltham where eyebrows are being raised. Everyone assumed a Tory victory was inevitable, but Clive Efford has clung on for Labour. This election was supposed to be a disaster for Labour, wasn’t it? Did Gordon Brown do some witchy chanting and cast all the crap onto the Lib Dems?
07:10 Labour’s Tony McNulty has lost his Harrow East seat to the Tories. McNulty got severely caught out by his expenses, but the size of the swing doesn’t suggest anything out of the ordinary for what’s been happening tonight. In Finchley and Golders Green Labour have technically lost the seat to the Conservatives, but that boundary redrawing has been at work again and the constituency was notionally Tory anyway.
07:05 The safe Tory seat Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner and Chipping Barnet have rung no alarm bells – but there’s a recount in Hampstead and Kilburn. Blogger West Hampstead reckons there’s no more than 1,000 votes between Elizabeth R herself, Glenda Jackson, and Tory candidate Chris Philp.
06:40 The Lib Dems hold Hornsey and Wood Green and Bermondsey and Old Southwark, perhaps more muted celebrations there than they were expecting.
News that counting has only just begun in Lewisham Deptford provoked an outpouring of swearing from us.
06:35 Frank Dobson defends Holborn and St Pancras with a handsome majority – so much for last night’s scurrilous rumours of an upset.
06:25 So where are we? Only about half London constituencies have declared; Hampstead and Kilburn, Hendon and Harrow East seem balanced on a knife edge; Lewisham has barely started counting; Poplar and Limehouse isn’t expected until something like 10am. What about the others? Anyone?
Oh – Hornchurch and Upminster is Conservative hold, Hayes and Harlington is Labour hold.
06:15 Ann Keen, she of the expenses scandal, has lost Brentford and Isleworth to the Tories. Jon Cruddas stays on to represent Dagenham and Rainham for another term, and Uxbridge and Ruislip South is a Tory hold.
06:10 In Barking the BNP’s Nick Griffin has been thrashed more comprehensively than an anti-Nazi protestor at an English Defence League rally. He came third, with just over 6,000 votes. Labour’s Margaret Hodge increased her majority and won a whopping four times as many votes as Griffin. The Tories came in second with around 8,000.
This isn’t really a surprise – it was what all the pollsters predicted, give or take. But nonetheless, it’s a relief to see it happen.
Harriet Harman’s kept Camberwell and Peckham for Labour; Harrow West stays red as well. At this point it’s looking more and more likely we’re heading for a hung Parliament with the Tories the largest party, just like those exit polls predicted. Those exit polls we totally believed, and didn’t belittle at all.
05:55 BBC gives a reason why London seats are being counted so late – it is, apparently, because of the simultaneous council elections. Londonist wishes they’d mentioned that before we decided to stay up all night. (Though we always thought they counted parliamentary ballots first. Anyway.) Nick Robinson’s pointing out that the Tory vote share is a good 6-7 points below where it was under Major, Thatcher… even Heath.
Labour hold Croydon North, Chelsea and Fulham, Beckenham and Bromley and Chislehurst are Tory – and is this the first real London shock of the night / morning? Zac Goldsmith takes Richmond Park from the Liberal Democrats. What on earth has happened to the Lib Dems tonight? Lefties may take succour from the news that the UK has its first ever Green MP, as Caroline Lucas gets returned in Brighton.
05:45 Perhaps the only person in the country who properly understands the economy, Vince Cable, has held Twickenham for the Lib Dems. Ilford North stays blue and there’s Twitter reports that Labour has held Erith and Thamesmead.
05:35 Two more non-shocks: Tories hold Old Bexley & Sidcup. LibDems hold Kingston & Surbiton. Also, Labour hold Feltham and Heston, continuing trend of Labour beating expectations in London. Tories hold Croydon South. Londonist holds its eyes open with matchsticks.
BBC now projecting Con 306, Lab 262, LibDem 55. That means a Lib-Lab coalition, should there be one, could outvote the Tories. But it would fall short of a majority.
05:30 In terms of the national vote, the share for the Conservatives (37%) and Labour (28%) are almost exactly where the polls showed them. The big shock is the fact that the LibDem’s got just 23%, waaaaay below all the predictions.
Locally, it looks like a recount may be necessary in the tight three-way marginal of Hampstead and Kilburn, and unbelievably they haven’t even started counting in Lewisham! If you really want to depress yourselves take a look at the BBC’s election map. Most of London isn’t even coloured in yet. We shouldn’t have stayed up late, we should have got up early…
05:25 Looking at the national picture, Conservative Home’s Tim Montgomerie is reporting that he no longer believes a Tory majority to be possible. So that’s a hung parliament then.
Jeremy Vine is now bouncing around the Matrix explaining that the average swing from Labour to the Tories is around 5.3%. To win outright they needed the swing to be 6.9%. That’s a big gap.
05:20 From the LibDem’s candidate in Islington South, Bridget Fox: “Tory votes kept Labour in Islington South and Finsbury. Ironic!”
05:10 Four inevitable Tory holds in the outer eastern and south eastern
suburbs: Romford, Orpington, Enfield Southgate and Bexleyheath & Crayford. If any of those had gone Labour we’d have bigger problems, what with the flying pigs and all.
By our count, that’s 19 London seats down, 54 to go. If anyone needs us, we’ll be in the corner, sobbing quietly to ourselves.
05:00 Labour have held two London constituencies that looked distinctly iffy
just a few hours ago. LibDem Bridget Fox has failed to take Islington South – rumour is that Labour brought in a hell of a lot of activitists from outside the borough to get the vote out today. (Remember what we said about the ground war?) They’ve also held Westminster North, which had looked pretty likely to go Tory. It’s perhaps time to admit that our election predictions are starting to look more than a little off in the inner London marginals…
Less of a surprise is a Labour hold in Islington North.
04:55 Finally, results coming in. We’d almost given up hope. Mitcham and Morden‘s a Labour hold (unlike Charles Clarke, who’s lost his seat).
Labour have won Hammersmith, seeing off a challenge from Tory A-lister Shaun Bailey. We can’t help but wonder if this is a result of Johann Hari‘s hard-hitting report on the machinations of the area’s Tory run council, published in the Independent earlier this week.
04:45 The Tories have won Croydon Central. This despite a low level civil war with their ousted MP Andrew Pelling, involving, you may recall, accusations of domestic abuse and mental health issues. His decision to stand as an independent wasn’t enough to cost the party the seat, it seems.
Con hold Cities of London & Westminster. No shock, it’s probably the richest constituency in London.
04:40 Sutton and Cheam is a Lib Dem hold, which should please anyone not in favour of exorcising demons out of gay people. Wimbledon is the latest seat to trickle in, unsurprising Tory hold.
04:35 Enfield North, a Labour seat but notionally Tory after a boundary redraw, has officially gone Conservative…
04:30 OMG, massive shocker, Kensington is a Conservative hold.
04:15 While we go off to find some clothespegs for our eyelids, why don’t you read author Marie Phillips‘s rather brilliant explanation of why a general election is a lot like trousers?
04:10 Politics Home are reporting Edmonton as a Labour hold.
04:00 @RandleLondon “Projecting Brentford & Isleworth will swing 7.5% from Labour (Ann Keen ex Health Minister) to Conservative Mary Macleod”
Also rumours that Harrow’s turned blue. Hammersmith looking like it might be a Labour victory, though.
Meanwhile, @antonyaalien reports “Rumours of massive surge of Labour vote in London. Lib Dem insiders tell me they’ve written off Islington South and Hampstead and Kilburn”
In Barking, the BNP look like they’ve come third behind the Tories and probable victors Labour.
03:45 Counting in Ealing not started yet either. What is with these people? Is the returning officer dealing with some other urgent engagement? COME ON!
03:30 From @ajrhayman: “turnout in barking 62% and 64% in dagenham and rainham- hodge says this was “very good for the area” – and good for lab too” as Nick Griffin concedes. In the battle for Richmond Park between Susan Kramer and Zac Goldsmith, turnout is reported to be 76.48% by @nickcarthew.
03:25 Londonist is frankly beginning to wonder about the wisdom of this entire venture. (The liveblog. Not the election.) Five hours since the polls closed now, and of London’s 73 constituencies we have exactly three results.
What’s more, anyone hoping to take a clear message from the national picture will be severely disappointed. Half an hour ago there was much talk that there’d be a Tory majority after all. Then the betting markets shifted radically to a mammoth 75% chance of hung parliament. In the words of one pollster here at the Hub, “Every time you think you’ve spotted a pattern, an exception comes along to prove it wrong.”
Still, never mind. Here are those kittens again. Awwww:
02:45 The chap who’s been running the LibDem campaign in London is spitting blood here at the Hub. “I’ve dedicated a month of my company’s time to this for nothing,” he told us. “And I’ve got nothing to show for it.” His conclusion is that the LibDem surge was built on “students and young people who couldn’t be bothered to vote. They just sat at home and they got stoned.”
Lewisham Council have issued a statement on Twitter: “2 of our stations had queues but ballot papers were issued before the 10pm legal cut off point so people could still vote”.
In other news, David Blunkett has said that Labour have lost the election and LibDem and Cheeky Girl fancier Lembit Opik has lost his Montgomeryshire seat to the Tories.
02:40 “This is all taking a while, isn’t it? To pass the time, here are some pictures of some kittens.
02:20 Lots of Twitter predictions of Labour hanging onto Hampstead & Kilburn, too. That LibDem surge isn’t looking very surge-y about now. And according to @ajrhayman “There certainly won’t be any shock in barking- bnp vote may even go down”
02:10 @IslingtonTrib “Islington Labour just gathered for confident speech from Islington South MP Emily Thornberry – Red camp loooking pretty relaxed”. A lot of people are reporting this as a Labour hold.
@islingtongazette reports: “Islington returning officer John Foster is sorry about 40 people were not able to vote – but adds that he is satisfied with procedures”.
Right, can we have a burrito break please?
02:00 @pcchan1981 offers an explanation to our earlier question of why Labour seem to be doing so well so early: “Labour seats tend to be in the City so ballot boxes less spread out as opposed to more rural Tory seats.”
On Tooting: @runfromthebeast “tooting turnout way up – tory mark clarke lost with around 2k more votes than sadiq khan won with in 2005″
And here’s a photo of the South Bank this election night.
01:50 Anton, one of the chaps behind the seat predictor tool over at TMG.co.uk, has been telling Londonist that the exit polls are a nonsense. They don’t take account of a three party system, you see. They’re still based on a uniform national swing that, so far, we’re just not seeing. This explains why the exit polls have the LibDems losing seats despite their recent surge.
TMG’s predictions aren’t great news for Gordon Brown. The Tories would fall short of an overall majority, at 321; but with Ulster Unionists support that should be enough to just scrape by. Labour would be left with just 212 seats. At that point, all talk of a Lib/Lab coalition to keep the Tories out is rendered utterly irrelevant by the fact that the two combined still have fewer seats than the Tories.
Are they right? Well so far they’ve called all but one of the seats right – and in the one they got wrong they were out by just 0.2%. But only time will tell. Anyone know where we can get some coffee?
01:45 Result from Tooting: Labour hold – which goes against our prediction, and against the national picture. And the Tooting returning officer kicks ass as she shouts down the celebratory chants oh ‘yes we Khan’…
01:30 Look at the confirmed seats right now and it looks like a Labour landslide. According to Politics Home the current tally is Labour 17, Tory 6, LibDem 3 and Others 10. Yet everyone’s expecting a Tory victory. What’s that about, then?
Our guess – and it is a guess – is that this is the same reason the Tories need such a big lead to get a majority. Labour seats, on the whole, have smaller populations. They also have smaller turnout. Both of those things mean fewer pieces of paper to count.
The marginals will come later. The results to watch will be those coming in about 5am. You’ll still be up for that, right? Right?
01:20 Swing news: Conservatives gain Kingswood in Bristol, 135th on their target list, and Putney had a swing of 9.9% to the Tories, but Torbay, a much higher Tory target, ends up with a 1.1% swing to the Lib Dems. Who knows what’s happening?
On the BBC, meanwhile, Jeremy Vine is dancing around in election graphics, looking for all the world like he’s auditioning for a remake of Tron.
01:00 The BBC haven’t caught up yet, but it’s on ITV and all over the internet… First London results of the night as the Tories make their first gain of the night in Battersea. No big surprise, but it’s a bit of a bellweather seat so perhaps indicative of the way things are going.
@HamandHigh “Apparently #HSP #HandK not good for Lib Dems particularly Kentish Town, Camden Town, Cantelowes – according to Labour mind… ” (That’s Holborn and St Pancras and Hampstead and Kilburn, hashtag fans.)
Also, it’s reported Putney is a Tory hold.
00:55 By the way, the Londonist team has now split: Rachel is tucked up in South East London within arm’s reach of tequila, while Jonn remains in a press room in the heart of Kings Cross. A Stepney-based colleague in said press room dismisses our prediction that Labour will retake Bethnal Green from Respect. The party’s candidate Rushanara Ali has apparently been “utterly invisible”. So another great PR move there from the people who brought you ID cards and the Iraq war.
Meanwhile, in shock news, scandal-hit Peter Robinson – that’s Northern Ireland’s First Minister – has lost his seat.
00:40 @Jonross_Swaby: “why do they keep saying Islington South – it’s Islington North where the problems are!!!!”
@Rory_Phillips: “Only in hackney do voters show up fashionably late muttering something about being ‘on the list’”
00:35 Sky and Channel 4 both showing some rather lovely mobile phone footage of people being turned away from polling stations in Islington South, while northsixteen has photos of voters being turned away from Clissold Leisure Centre.
00:30 Cathy Newman on Channel 4 has been in touch with the Electoral Commission about the late voting and they’re saying ‘the law is the law’ – if you don’t have your ballot paper in your hand by 10pm, you shouldn’t be voting. How that will pan out, given that a number of polling stations (including some in Lewisham) continued taking ballots, we do not know. Nor do we pretend to. The high turnout is also bad news for those of us waiting for something to happen: even constituencies that were supposed to report ‘early’ (like, 1am) are delayed.
00:20 Politics Home are reporting a Tory win in Battersea. No big surprise, but does confirm expectations of Tories getting largest number of seats.
In other news, Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Twitter feed reports that he’s rung David Cameron to congratulate him on his victory. We’re out on a limb here, but we suspect Arnie’s knowledge of the British constitution is less even than our own.
00:15 @meandmybigmouth possibly speaks for us all when he says “If this election coverage doesn’t get more exciting soon I might have to resort to a wank to stay awake.” Err… just in time to break the boredom, @tomroyal‘s Cat Exit Poll comes up with the goods – it’s going to be a hung parliament.
00:00 While we wait for the London seats to start declaring (passing the time by wondering what Charlie Brooker has started doing to his hair), @wickedtheatre is also clearly plugged into the debates by commenting “Edwina Currie wins Election Come Dine With Me with a main course of “monarchy meat” (don’t ask) followed by Eton Mess. Subtle.” For those hanging on for the Cat Exit Poll, voter apathy is prolonging the result. (One cat is in the sink, the other is on the computer.)
23.50 Swing in third seat to declare (Sunderland Central) only 4%. We’re going to be in the “could go either way” territory for some time.
23.45 According to former Observer journalist Gaby Hinsliff on Twitter: “ok so far places where people cdnt vote: islington s, hackney, newcastle e, manchester withington, lewisham….some v tight marginals here.” Londonist is in Islington South right now. It’s an outrage.
23.40 Rumour went round the press room here at the Hub in King’s Cross a couple of hours ago that Labour’s Frank Dobson may have lost Holborn and St Pancras to the LibDems. The guy spreading it was, admittedly, wearing a LibDem rosette. But a second source claimed to have heard the same rumour at her organic gardening group in Highbury yesterday. Goes to show.
23.35 Swing against Labour in Washington in the North East was (gulp) 11.6%. That’s wipe out territory. Remember what we said about the exit polls being wrong? We might have been understating it.
23.30 From @autobees on Twitter: “There’s a sit-in in a Hackney polling station by voters who aren’t allowed to vote (polling stations close at 10pm).”
23.25 BBC commentators now considering possibility of legal challenges in tight seats… The problem is that rules on whether to let people vote after polls close have been inconsistently applied. In some places the returning officer let them vote; in others the door slammed shut. As a result, any seat with a narrow majority may be looking at some form of recount.
For the record, Londonist will not be continuing this liveblog if the election runs on until June. We need to sleep some time.
23.10 Rumours coming in of polling stations in Lewisham keeping the doors open to let people vote. No riots there, then.
Meanwhile, new exit poll gives Con 305, Lab 255, LD 61, other 29. That’s a smaller loss from the LibDems and a smaller gain for the Tories.
23.00 This may or may not say something about the result, but the top trending topic on Twitter right now is “Long legged Cleggy weggy.” If anyone can enlighten us as to why…
22.55 New seat, so all results are “notional” (e.g. guessed by clever people), but Sunderland being reported as 8.4% swing to the Tories. If that’s replicated across the country then the Tories might get their majority after all.
22.50 For what little it’s worth – not much, we suspect – we don’t quite believe those exit polls. A fall in LibDem seats? Really? Suspect more yellow and fewer red. But we shall see.
Oooh, as I write Sunderland South is declaring. They pride themselves on getting in first. The winner, not entirely surprisingly, was Labour. One down, 649 to go.
22:35 Crikey – now we hear the police have been called to a polling station somewhere in Dalston, where a queue of an hour was waiting to vote when the polls closed.
22:30 Reports of a sit-in at London Fields from @angoid, which has apparently closed with a queue of 100 people still waiting to vote. We’ve seen reports of big queues in Stoke Newington, but local blog @northsixteen says if you don’t have a ballot paper in your hand at 10pm, you can’t vote. Rumours of this situation being replicated all over the country too.
22:20 Of course, here at Londonist we prefer a much more scientifically rigorous form of exit poll. @tomroyal is conducting what we believe to be the world’s first Cat Exit Poll – two cats, one box, the first to stick both ears through a hole is the decider. We will keep you briefed on the result.
22.02 More specifics… Exit polls suggesting Tories on 307 seats, 19 seats short of a majority. Labour on 255, LibDems – shockingly – down to 59, and 29 for others.
These are the first figures based on how people voted rather than how they say they will. But they’ve been wrong before. 1992, anyone?
22:00 The exit polls are out and they’re saying… a hung parliament, with the Tories the largest party.
21:35 London, as any fool no, has 73 constituencies. This, at first glance, seems rather a lot.
Except that if you look at the figures we’re actually under-represented. London, give or take, accounts for 12% of the UK population. There are now 650 Commons seats, and 12.3% of 650 is just under 80. In other words, we’re seven seats short of our due.
Nor is this just a result of the ever popular West Lothian question. Following this year’s boundary changes, England as a whole has around 83% of the UK population and 82% of its parliamentary seats. What’s more, given that this year London’s lost a seat while the UK as a whole has gained four, the situation is actually getting worse.
So – what is it? Anti-metropolitan bias? An attempt to get back at Boris? The people should be told.
21:00 Anecdotal evidence from polling stations suggests a big turnout, but how is everyone voting? Only an hour before the polls close, and another hour before somewhere in the North East is expected to be the first constituency to declare (and by North East we mean Sunderland, not Walthamstow). It’s going to get more exciting as the night goes on, clearly, with the results expected to be coming thick and fast by 1am.
In the meantime, though – how did you vote? Did you vote at all? Are you staying up all night? And, perhaps most importantly, which telly channel are you watching?