Election 2015 Results
All 650 constituencies have now declared. Surprisingly, the Conservatives managed to win with a majority of 10, their first majority since 1992. Turnout was up 1 point on last time at 66%, the highest since 1997, possibly caused by the perceived closeness of the result.
The beginning of the night looked promising for Labour. They were recording vote share increases in the Sunderland area as were UKIP, but as soon as the Conservatives started increasing their majorities in seats like Nuneaton it was clear that Labour had lost. Surprisingly, despite a large increase in the UKIP share of the vote, they were hardly damaging the Conservatives at all. It is quite possible that in a lot of seats UKIP were doing more damage to Labour.
To many people this result came as a surprise as it had been expected that there would be a Labour led government relying on SNP and possibly Liberal Democrat support. Quite simply the polls were wrong. The British Polling Council (BPC) has already declared its intention to launch an independent inquiry into what went wrong. Here is the comparison between the polling average and the actual result:
CON 34%, LAB 33%, UKIP 13%, LD 9%, GRN 5% (Polling Average)
CON 38%, LAB 31%, UKIP 13%, LD 8%, GRN 4% (Election 2015 Result).
For the minor parties the polls matched the result pretty well, but for the Conservatives and Labour the polls were nowhere near close. A 7% lead is similar to the one recorded in 2010 so this is why the Conservatives and Labour defended most of their seats against each other. Of course a few seats changed between them, but the net change was very small.
The Conservatives got their majority mostly through the collapse of the Liberal Democrats as most Liberal Democrats held seats that had the Conservatives in second place. The Conservatives were easily able to gain such seats and some with considerable majorities. Their performance was comparable to that of the Liberal Party who won only 6 seats in 1970.
1. Nick Clegg managed to hold on despite the speculation that he would lose. His majority is down from 15,284 to 2,353 with Labour in second place. He subsequently resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats. Tim Farron is a likely contender for the leadership.
2. Nigel Farage lost in Thanet South. He came in second place with 16,026 votes compared to the Conservatives who held the seat with 18,838 votes. He resigned as UKIP leader shortly afterwards leaving Suzanne Evans as the acting leader. Nigel Farage has said that after a well deserved holiday he may stand to be UKIP leader again. If he does stand I would expect him to easily win. It must be said that although his party performed poorly in terms of seats, they managed to increase their national vote share by 9.7 points.
3. Ed Miliband easily held his seat, but after it was clear that he would not be Prime Minister he resigned as leader of the Labour Party. Harriet Harman is now the acting leader.
4. The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls lost in Morley and Outwood. His share of the vote did increase by 0.4 points, but the Conservative share increased by 3.6 points.
5. A whole host of prominent Liberal Democrats lost their seats including Danny Alexander, Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Simon Hughes.
6. Respect leader George Galloway lost Bradford West. It went to Labour with an 11,420 majority.
In 2010 no seat changed hands in Scotland, but this time most seats changed hands. The SNP won 50% of the Scottish vote, Labour 24%, the Conservatives 15% and the Liberal Democrats 8%. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats were reduced to a single seat each, those being Edinburgh South and Orkney and Shetland respectively, although the SNP are in second place in both of these seats. The Conservatives held their single seat of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale with a small majority over the SNP and nearly gained Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, but that was won by the SNP with a small majority.
While the nationalists made significant headway in Scotland, the unionists made a comeback in Northern Ireland. The UUP are back in parliament after gaining Antrim South from the DUP and Fermanagh and South Tyrone from Sinn Fein. In Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Fein had a majority of 4 over an independent unionist in 2010. Now the UUP have won with a majority of 530 over Sinn Fein, although the combined nationalist vote share is larger than the unionist vote share. Belfast East was won by the DUP from the Alliance. In 2010 the unionist vote in Belfast East was split between the UUP and the DUP which let the Alliance in, but this time no UUP candidate stood. Overall the unionists won 11 (+2) of the 18 seats in Northern Ireland and the nationalists won 7 (-1). The DUP won the most votes, followed by Sinn Fein, then the UUP and then the SDLP.
No doubt this election will reignite calls for electoral reform. Note the following:
1. UKIP won 3.9 million votes but only won 1 seat
2. the Liberal Democrats won 2.4 million votes but only won 8 seats
3. the Green Party won 1.2 million votes but only won 1 seat.
I expect more calls for Proportional Representation (PR) over the coming months and years. Advocates of PR will surely be disappointed by the result of this election as one of the main arguments in favour of First Past The Post (FPTP) is that it usually delivers majority governments.
A Conservative majority government now means that there will be a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union. Polls currently show that people favour staying in the EU, although with the economic trouble in southern Europe, this could soon change.
The Conservatives now have a majority of 10. Luckily a majority means that we are spared having to listen to hour upon hour of discussion about who will form the next government. Barring a run of by-election defeats, the Conservatives look to be in office until 2020.
I will upload the results as soon as I can.