Election Night Live Blog

by Novara Reporters

7 May 2015

08.41 Okay, now we need to wrap up and go and prepare for today’s NovaraFM show. Thanks for joining us! Here are a few very quick reflections, but be sure to tune in to Resonance FM today at 1pm (or on live.novaramedia.com) where we’ll be joined by James Meadway and Adam Ramsay.

1. The Union has never been under more stress: we haven’t seen a position before where Scotland and England have been at such stark odds with each other politically. If there’s another referendum in the next five or ten years, a lot of previous No voters will be reassessing which country they want to be a part of.

2. Ukip got one seat but they aren’t defeated. They achieved 12.5% of the popular vote with a 9.4% swing, which will stand them in good stead if they adopt a longer term perspective – as they are already doing with their “2020 plan”. Ukip polled a firm second in swathes of the North and North East – traditional Labour heartland – and will be looking to build next time around. If Labour don’t change their approach and policies, they could see their support in these areas really drop off, as in Scotland this time.

3. Electoral reform will come back into the national conversation. Ukip got 12.5% of the vote for one seat, the Greens 3.7% for one seat, the SNP 50 seats with 5% of the vote. Lots of people are unhappy with the current set-up from various perspectives, and first-past-the-post just can’t handle a multi-party system.

4. Labour will now have a leadership shake-up. Whether they’ll lurch left or right is up for grabs. The successes of the SNP and Greens suggest to many that left, anti-austerity policies get votes. But will Labour veer right in order to appease the voters who are running to Ukip? Sadly, we think the latter is more likely.

5. The Lib Dems could recuperate. It would take a lot of time though, and only as long as they are in opposition. They still pulled in well over 2m votes, so there’s a support base there even if it’s nebulous. But another spell in a coalition would surely see them off.


08.24 ED BALLS IS GONE. Wow. That is surely this election’s Portillo moment – and most of the country is up to witness it. Ed Balls has been a ‘big beast’ in the Labour party over the past ten years. There’s surely going to be a serious shake-up of the Labour leadership now, probably bringing in a whole load of the 2010 batch – fresh faces with more credibility. Expect the likes of Chuka Umunna, Rachel Reeves, Stella Creasy and Dan Jarvis to be stepping up.


07.39 Caroline Lucas has been re-elected as the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion with a generous majority. I expect that will be a relief to a fair few readers. Note that for all Russell Brand’s tripe about Miliband wanting to work with others, the Brighton Pavilion campaign has been brutal, with Labour throwing everything at the city.


07.30 All the results from Scotland are in. The SNP has gained 50 seats. Completely unprecedented.


07.25 Jeremy Vine points out that the remaining Lib Dem MPs could fit in two London taxis. That’s one way to put it..


07.07 Things are winding down here at NovaraHQ. It’s grey outside and it looks like with the default support of the UUP and DUP the Conservatives will have a working majority. How grim. Casual updates from now on. Aaron has been tapping away at an article for Vice: have a read!


06.55 The UUP have taken a further seat in Northern Ireland, this time from Sinn Fein. The Conservatives will be well happy with that.


06.43 Ukip defector Mark Reckless loses his seat in Rochester and Strood as it’s re-captured by the Tories. You can bet there were a few words said at the count.


06.26 Danny Alexander talks of the ‘short leash’ the Lib Dems have had on the Tories. This man is simply delusional.


06.10 Galloway’s lost. Tough old night for Gorgeous George. A recount, a night in the nick, and now trounced by a last-minute Labour selection. Dimbleby’s on hand to remind us all about the time Galloway was a cat on Big Brother, lol.


06.07 Worth bearing in mind that the Tories aren’t even winning on vote share. How anyone can genuinely declare ‘victory’ is just bananas.


05.56 Danny Alexander is out. Good riddance. Thanks for the memories, Danny. Here’s that time you stood grinning in a food bank.



05.49 Cameron makes what sounds like a victory speech about extending the ‘recovery’. 900,000 adults and children relied on food banks in the last year.


05.40 Spotlight on Barnsley in South Yorkshire (which is incidentally Craig’s home town, and the epicentre of the miners’ strike): Two Labour holds but Ukip are firmly in second place with swings of 17% and 19%. As predicted earlier, Ukip’s “2020 plan” looks to be on-course as they become the major opposition across the post-industrial Labour heartlands in Yorkshire and the North East. Tonight might have been disappointing for Ukip, but it hasn’t been devastating by any stretch, sadly.


05.27 Ed Miliband holds Doncaster North, unsurprisingly. Note that Ukip have pulled into second. His speech doesn’t sound hopeful – is this a concession?


05.23 Updates from Scotland: Dumfriesshire has been held by the Conservatives, holding off the SNP by just 800 votes. That patch of blue on the map is sure to grate on most in Scotland. Meanwhile Charles Kennedy, former Lib Dem leader, has been ditched by Ross, Skye and Lochaber.


05.14 The BBC are declaring a victory for the Tories. This is completely misleading, and will only serve to muddy the waters and aid the press coup over the next few days. Put simply, there hasn’t been a decisive anything – nobody has won. Even if the Conservatives get the most seats, it does not mean they will be able to govern, which is all that matters in the grand scheme of things. If they don’t get a working majority, we shouldn’t be surprised if we see another election within the year.


05.00 Clegg keeps his seat! Don’t listen to what the party apparatchiks say; his lieutenants are going to be seething right now. Clegg took the Lib Dems into a coalition which was divisive inside the party and has amounted to a kamikaze venture for both the grassroots support and the big beasts. He sounds like he’s going to resign, it would be bizarre if he didn’t. I suspect Tim Farron would be the likely successor; he was elected party chair in 2011 on a platform of balancing out the right of the party and keeping the Lib Dems’ character (and principles) in government. Clearly he failed on that front as far as many are concerned, but after tonight’s horrorshow he’s almost certain to be a damned sight more popular than Clegg.


04.38 Vince Cable has gone! Another devastating blow for the Lib Dems! Remember that ten years ago there was talk of him taking a senior role in the Treasury.


04.36 Boris: “We don’t need fancy constitutional experts,” the people have decided, etc., etc. This is just bollocks. Actual lies. Pure propaganda.


04.32 Labour’s first hold in Scotland has come from Edinburgh. Could have told you that 26 minutes ago.


04.24 Douglas Carswell’s majority in Clacton is down from 10,000 to 3,000. This isn’t a good night for Ukip at all. He’s using his acceptance speech to make common cause with the Greens and other small parties on electoral reform. This has to be a major issue now – the paltry AV offering was not the last of it.


04.12 Simon Hughes gone after 32 years. That’s a massive, devastating loss for the Lib Dems..


04.06 First hold of the night in Scotland – just. Orkney and Shetland is held for the Lib Dems despite a tremendous SNP swing. To be honest I would be surprised if this is the only Scottish hold – there’s still Edinburgh to call yet, which is currently Red and Orange.


03.57 It’s interesting that the coverage has gone from talking about a Tory minority to a Tory majority. It’s still really too early to tell. SNP are wiping out Labour north of the border, and Lib Dem seats are being carved up by both Labour and the Tories. The thing is that the Tories aren’t gaining much so far. If they’re in a minority position, it’s not clear who they’ll be able to form a coalition with – Ukip don’t look set to win any target seats, and while the Lib Dems have spoken about being open to another Tory-led coalition, this would be political suicide. With ten MPs they could probably actually rebuild, but only in opposition. We should keep an eye on the DUP though. They’ve lost South Antrim to the pro-Tory UUP, but gained East Belfast from Alliance.


03.45 Sturgeon on the BBC: “anti-austerity was at the top of our manifesto.” Meanwhile the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, loses Kingston, which is of course just around the corner from Twickenham… Bad indicator for Vince Cable.


03.33 Katy Clark (Lab) has lost North Ayrshire. That’ll be a concern for those on the Labour left, as she was generally seen as one of Labour’s few ‘anti-austerity’ MPs.


03.20 A lengthy speech from Jim Murphy. He was definitely prepared for this. He’s said he’ll stay on at the leader of Scottish Labour, but will his position be tenable? To be a fly on the wall at the next Scottish Labour conference…


03.13 Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour leader is GONE. That’s going to hurt.


03.08 Sounds as though the Conservatives have taken Eastleigh from the Lib Dems. This is a big hit for Ukip, who came second in the by-election when Chris Huhne stood down.


02.59 Big decisions ahead for Labour supporters.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 02.56.53


02.55 Kirkcaldy, Gordon Brown’s old seat, has swung 35% to the SNP. This is bananas. 34%, 34%, 35%… This is not normal, these swings are huge and now they’re coming thick and fast – totally unprecedented. Says a lot that Douglas Alexander, Labour’s election campaign chief, is hanging up his red tie tonight.


02.44 Labour must surely recognise that the massive SNP gains are about far more than Independence. Surely? One question now, should Labour lose and Miliband resign, is whether the party will lurch left or right. Either way, the NHS, welfare state, etc. are in serious trouble.


02.30 Mhairi Black, a 20 year old Glasgow University student, has thrashed the shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander. That’s huge. Black is now the youngest member of the House of Commons. Meanwhile, there’s been a MASSIVE 34% swing to the SNP in Dunbartonshire West (compare that to the 17% which unseated Portillo back in the day). Dundee West has given the SNP 61% of the vote. Scotland’s results are really coming in now. Labour are fucked.


02.19 John Kerry was hyped to win it for the US Democrats in 2004 – is this Miliband’s Kerry moment?



02.16 Lib Dems hold Ceredigion. That’ll hurt for Plaid. Meanwhile the SNP get a MASSIVE 26% swing in Kilmarnock, and the UUP get a foothold as they narrowly take a seat from the DUP.


02.01 More trouble for the Lib Dems, as David Laws is reportedly struggling in Yeovil. Some polling experts now saying we shouldn’t rule out a Tory majority…  


01.44 A Lib Dem source is saying Vince Cable is in trouble. In February Iain Dale said Twickenham would be a “dead cert LibDem hold“. Oh dear. So if Cable goes, and Clegg gets ousted too, who’s leading the LibDems in the Commons? Danny Alexander’s seat in Inverness has previously been deemed safe, but his majority was smaller than Cable’s in 2010. Tim Farron in Westmoreland? Simon Hughes in Bermondsey? All bets are off I’m afraid.


01.32 There’s been a big win for the DUP in Lagan Valley, with a majority of 13,000. Meanwhile, Ukip have a swing of 13% in Wrexham, which is traditionally a Labour safe seat.


01.25 Battersea will be a HUGE disappointment for Labour. That’s exactly the sort of seat they will have been hoping for.


01.17 That was close for Sadiq Khan. At this rate Labour could be losing members of their shadow cabinet…


01.15 GEORGE GALLOWAY has been reported to the police! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!


01.12 Has Farage been hitting the real ale early?



01.07 On this basis, Labour could be doing worse than the BBC Exit Poll… Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 01.05.08


01.01 Ukip aren’t doing so well in Conservative safe seats. This is going to be a common picture; Ukip are more likely to make a splash in Labour safe seats, particularly post-industrial areas ruined in the 80s where the Tories are simply toxic.  


00.55 Of course there’s a re-count in Bradford West.  


00.49 Nick Robinson comes up with his best bit of journalism in ten years: if the Tories win, they’ve built it off the back of the break up of the Union.  


00.40 Could the BBC’s coverage be worse than in Berlusconi’s Italy?

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 00.37.14


00.32 Bit of casual racism from Dimbleby there.


00.28 It looks like a lot of Lib Dem seats have gone blue – rather than red as was perhaps presumed.


00.25 Yes Paul.


00.07 David Dinsmore from The Sun declaring a “clear victory” for the Tories on the basis of the Exit Polls. Constitution? What constitution? Adam Ramsay predicted a month ago that the papers were preparing a coup. We’re seeing that now.  


00.01 Was that a report of a possible swing of 50% in Glasgow South? Literally unheard of.  


23.59 Intense scenes at NovaraHQ as #BastaniVsRobinson continues.


23.52 Some dreadful scenes on the BBC. Nick Robinson basically saying “well, it’s constitutional, sure, but what will people at home think?” This man is literally the ex-head of the Oxford University Conservatives. And now Andrew Neil saying the #GreenSurge doesn’t exist: their vote is possibly up 4-500%.


23.38 Watching the BBC coverage? Ed Balls is playing hard-ball here – he’s right, it’s not about who gets the most seats, it’s about who can command a Commons majority. WHY is Nick Robinson referring to what the people at home think?!




23.33 So who are the big losers going to be tonight? Ed Balls? (Majority of just 1100 last time) Nick Clegg? There’s been a big operation to unseat him. Or indeed just everyone who relies on the NHS?


23.22 We’ve just heard from Guy Aitchison in Bristol West, a Lib Dem seat which is a Green target: “A lot of Lib Dems have switched to Greens, that’s the sense I’ve been getting. Placards out seemed about 6:1 Greens to Lib Dem. Students and a lot of older Lib Dem voters have switched to Green. Greens have had an impressive ground operation – from what I could tell it’s been better than Labour’s.”


23.17 Ukip third in Sunderland Central, they’ll be disappointed by that. But a similar pattern, with Greens beating the Lib Dems. How many votes will the Greens be taking from them tonight?


23.13 Watch out for Northern Ireland tonight. It’s been widely touted that the far-right DUP could be propping up a Tory-led coalition. Results from NI expected around 1.45.


23.10 Great bit of analysis from Paul Mason, who’s asking if we’ve just seen the biggest tactical vote in British electoral history:

“What it would mean is that (a) the SNP have destroyed everybody else in Scotland and (b) in fear of that a lot of centrist English voters have voted tactically for the Tories in response.

“That would not just put Scotland on an exit path from the UK. It would put – again I stress if correct – the Conservatives in a position to govern with the DUP and the two projected UKIP members. That is, it would harden Euroscepticism and social conservatism in government.

“On top of that it will create a new dynamic in Wales. Welsh Labour will have to come up with a new story to tell people in the principality if the BBC-version comes to pass: it basically means Labour has no future chance of winning a majority in Westminster as long as Scotland is the driving issue of Westminster elections.”


22.55 Ukip will be looking for second-places across the North tonight. Farage has been saying he wants to become the party of the opposition in the North by 2020. With a 19% swing in Sunderland, he could well be right. Watch out for Labour’s working class strongholds being threatened by Ukip tonight.


22.52 Sunderland is up first (as always). Ukip ahead of the Tories! Lib Dems don’t even keep their deposit. Labour hold as expected. Greens beat the Lib Dems.


22.41 The Independent has some more information on the Exit Poll. It’s taken information from 20,000 voters and apparently the 2010 one was almost spot-on. Perhaps if The Independent hadn’t backed five more years of the Coalition we’d be looking at different results? With their readership? Doubt it.


22.37 You may have already seen the first exit polls, and it’s not looking good for those who’ve been trying to #GetToriesOut. NOP/MORI are showing 316 for the Tories to Labour’s 239. The Lib Dems are on 10. The threshold for a majority is 326, but even accounting for the Speaker and Sinn Fein’s abstentions, the Coalition will be looking for a few more if they want to control the House.


22.26 Welcome to election night with NovaraMedia! Tonight we’ll be keeping you updated with news and views into the small hours. You can follow NovaraMedia on Twitter. Updates from Craig McVegas and Aaron Bastani.

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We’re up against huge power and influence. Our supporters keep us entirely free to access. We don’t have any ad partnerships or sponsored content.

Donate one hour’s wage per month—or whatever you can afford—today.