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Politics

David Cameron Back In No. 10 As Rivals Resign

The leaders of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and UKIP all resigned as prime minister David Cameron's Conservatives won a surprise majority in parliament. In Scotland, the SNP swept the board, winning all but three seats.

Here is the latest:

Updates

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Final results:

Conservatives – 331 seats Labour – 232 SNP – 56 Liberal Democrats – 8 UKIP – 1 Other - 22

David Cameron returns to Downing Street with a majority Conservative government.

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The result means the Tories have won 331 seats, which represents a majority of 12.

Their former coalition partners, the Lib Dems, on the other hand have won just eight and in the process lost £170,000 in parliamentary deposits.

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The politicians lined up at the Cenotaph in central London as part of commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of VE Day, when World War II came to an end in Europe.

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She said in a statement: "On the resignation of Ed Miliband as Leader of the Labour Party I, as his deputy, am stepping forward to be acting leader until a new leader is elected by the party.

"With a new leadership team in place, after what has undoubtedly been a serious defeat, the Labour Party will be best placed to be the strong opposition this country needs - defending our NHS and our public services, and fighting for fairness, equality and social justice.

"That determination will be all the fiercer in the face of this Tory government."

Harman, who was returned as the MP for Camberwell and Peckham with a strong majority, will remain as acting leader of the party until a leader is elected.

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The prime minister said the Conservative government will deliver an in/out referendum on membership of the European Union and said the devolution promised to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would be delivered.

He said his government would focus on rebalancing the economy and that "together we can make Great Britain greater still".

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The prime minister thanked his former coalition partner Nick Clegg, who earlier this morning stepped down as the leader of the Liberal Democrats after a terrible election night.

He mentioned Ed Miliband, who has also resigned, and said the former Labour leader was "in public service for all the right reasons".

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David Cameron met with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

.@David_Cameron arrives at Buckingham Palace with wife Samantha for audience with the Queen. Picture: John Stillwell

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The Tories have now secured the 326 seats they need to form a majority government.

Confirmed: Conservatives now control a majority of the seats in the House of Commons.

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He said on Friday afternoon: "I believe that Britain needed a Labour government. I still do, but the British public decided otherwise. I take total responsibility.

"I am so sorry to all of those colleagues who lost their seats."

In a light-hearted moment, Miliband thanked the general public "for the selfies" and referenced his online community of teenage fangirls.

"Thank you for the most unlikely cult of the 21st century – the #Milifandom," he said.

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At a speech in central London, the deputy prime minister said the results "have been immeasurably more crushing and unkind" than he expected.

"For that I must take responsibility and resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats," he said.

Clegg defended the decision to form a coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010, saying: "To have served my country at a time of crisis is an honour that will stay with me forever."

But he attacked the record of right-wing parties. "Fear and grievance has won, liberalism has lost," he said.

"Our party will come back, it will win again. It will take patience, resilience, and grit."

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The Lib Dems won 57 seats in the 2010 general election. They have so far only won eight this time round.

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In a series of tweets, Ed Miliband took personal responsibility for Labour's defeat.

I’ve just thanked Labour’s staff. They are a credit to our party, and, driven by a passion to serve, they are a credit to our country.

I am grateful to the people who worked on our campaign and for the campaign they ran. The responsibility for the result is mine alone.

Defeats are hard, but we’re a party that will never stop fighting for the working people of this country.

He also thanked his supporters on Instagram.

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"I've just thanked Labour's staff. They are a credit to our party, and, driven by a passion to serve, they are a credit to our country. Defeats are hard, but we're a party that will never stop fighting for the working people of this country."

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Farage came second in South Thanet to the Conservatives.

He has said he would resign if he failed to be elected, but he did not resign immediately following the results.

"An enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders," he said, "and I've never felt happier."

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Shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, could become the first female leader of the Labour party. She has a clear run at it now her husband Ed Balls has lost his Commons seat.

Her odds of winning are currently listed at 7/2.

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Ed Miliband is currently inside Labour's headquarters speaking to party members. The 45-year-old could step down as party leader in the next few hours.

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BALLS OUT. Sensational news. The shadow chancellor has lost his seat in Morley and Outwood by just over 400 votes.

Tearful Ed Balls says he has "huge concern about the next 5 years" after losing #GE2015 seat http://t.co/jpy6wse1Rp

The news compounds what has been a miserable night for Labour, and amplifies the fact that the party seems to have seeped working-class votes to UKIP.

Amazing that 12hours ago Ed Balls probably thought he would be chancellor soon #GE2015

Balls a victim of the Ukip working-class surge.

The Conservative press team summarised the news as follows:

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The Spectator's Sebastian Payne has tweeted a video of Cameron's speech at Conservative Central HQ.

Exclusive: David Cameron's victory speech to CCHQ staffers this morning #ge2015 #conservative https://t.co/nKtdhBVxr7

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Scotland went to bed on Thursday night with six SNP MPs, it has woken up with 56. The three main parties have just one MP each left in Scotland.

And here is a list of all the Liberal Democrat MPs so far. There are currently just eight, down from 56.

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The two main results we're still waiting for are Morley and Outwood – previously held by Labour's Ed Balls – and South Thanet, where UKIP's Nigel Farage is standing.

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Over in Brighton Pavilion, the Greens still have an MP. Caroline Lucas comfortably retained the seat with a whopping 42%, an 11% swing in her favour.

Greens party Caroline Lucas holds Brighton Pavillion #GE2015

The Greens failed to gain Bristol West, which was big target of theirs, so Lucas remains their sole MP.

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If you've been up all night, you're not hallucinating. That man is in a helmet and battle gear. It's independent candidate Jesse Rae in Berwickshire, Roxborough and Selkirk, another seat the Lib Dems lost to the SNP. Here's Jamie Ross with more.

This country is completely mad #GE2015

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Balls to the wall. It's been rumoured all night that the shadow chancellor could be set to lose his seat in Morley and Outwood, and a recount has just been ordered.

A recount has been requested in shadow chancellor Ed Balls' Morley and Outwood constituency

It looks as though things are tight. Here he is in happier times.

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David Cameron has tweeted this picture of him hugging his wife Samantha.

Here's to a brighter future for everyone.

As BuzzFeed UK political reporter Siraj Datoo points out, he's not the first political leader to do this.

Have a feeling this won't quite work out the way you wanted it to.

Also, he's not really kissing her right, is he? Ryan Broderick reports.

David Cameron doesn't know how to kiss people #GE2015

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OK. Breathe. Here are the big stories of the night.

Labour has been blown away by the SNP in Scotland. At the time of writing, 34 Labour MPs have been defeated by Nicola Sturgeon's nationalist surge.

Among the victims: shadow cabinet member Douglas Alexander, defeated by 20-year-old student Mhairi Black, and Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy. Here is a handy guide to every Scottish Labour MP left.

The Liberal Democrats are being wiped out across the board. Danny Alexander, Vince Cable, Charles Kennedy, Simon Hughes, Ed Davey, Lynne Featherstone, Jo Swinson, and David Laws have all lost their seats.

They've also lost an awful lot of deposits.

The Tories have made gains overall, although they haven't won across the board – employment minister Esther McVey lost her marginal seat in Wirral West, a key Labour target.

George Galloway lost his seat in Bradford West, and has also been reported to the police.

Ukip's Mark Reckless lost his seat in Rochester & Strood, and reports suggest that Nigel Farage may be in trouble in South Thanet.

Basically: this wasn't an election. This was the Red Wedding.

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Although Tory-to-UKIP defector Douglas Carswell retained his seat earlier, his colleague Mark Reckless hasn't been so lucky in Rochester and Strood, losing his seat to the Conservatives. Some of his old Tory colleagues are delighted:

Hallelujah. Mark Reckless out. Don't let the door hit your fat arse as you leave.

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His victorious Labour opponent, Naz Shah, opened up publicly during the campaign about how her mother killed her abusive partner while she was a child. Read Jim Waterson's report from March here.

The controversial Respect leader also managed to get into a huge Twitter spat with a brewery during the campaign. Suffice to say, the brewery is pleased with tonight's news.

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Ed Miliband has tweeted about tonight's results, thanking Labour supporters.

This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour party. To every member and supporter, I want to say thank you.

At exactly the same time (6.02am), David Cameron also tweeted, reiterating the "one nation" line of his speech in Witney.

One nation, one United Kingdom - that is how I hope to govern if I am fortunate enough to continue as Prime Minister.

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Compounding the Lib Dems' misery, Danny Alexander has lost his Inverness seat by more than 10,000 votes. SNP's Drew Hendry took it with 28,838.

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It's looking more and more like it's hat for breakfast for Paddy Ashdown.

Paddy Ashdown will now have to eat his hat. Or the nation will never believe a Lib Dem pledge again.

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Speaking on the BBC, Conservative Esther McVey bemoaned the campaign against her in Wirral West, calling it "the dark side of politics".

She specifically referenced attacks by Labour's John McDonnell, who suggested "lynching" McVey, and John Prescott, who was criticised last month for saying people only knew who she was because of her "lovely dress".

Esther McVey slams "brutal campaign" in Wirral West including sexism from John Prescott. Read more about that here: http://t.co/tArmojufTw

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"This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour party," he said.

Referring to the SNP surge in Scotland, he talked about the "huge responsibility" the next government has to hold the United Kingdom together.

Miliband says "next government" has "huge responsibility" to unite country. https://t.co/pt54S2VuAN

Despite delivering what the BBC's Andrew Marr described as "as close to a concession speech as you'll get", Miliband will now head to the capital to await the final results.

Miliband now heading to London to await the rest of the results. It is going to be grim

It's over. @Ed_Miliband didn't formally concede defeat but his face and his reference to "a very disappointing & difficult night" did

He also apologises for his party's protests in Scotland.

"I am deeply sorry for what has happened," Ed Miliband says of Labour's Scottish #GE2015 performance http://t.co/jpy6wse1Rp

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Conservative Esther McVey has lost her seat in Wirral West to Labour. A rare boost for Ed Miliband's party.

LABOUR GAINS WIRRAL WEST FROM CONSERVATIVES.

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In his speech, Clegg acknowledged that the election has been disastrous for the Lib Dems, describing tonight as "cruel and punishing", and his words suggested he may resign later in the morning.

"It is painfully clear that this has been a punishing night for the Liberal Democrats." – Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg implies he is to resign later this morning.

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Dimbleby calling out Boris's hairstyling like...

4am during the #GE2015 is a really weird time...

It's been a long night.

When the house lights come on in the pub #GE2015

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HUGE. Business Secretary and Lib Dem bigwig Vince Cable has lost Twickenham to the Conservatives' Tania Mathias.

He was MP there for 18 years. He says the Lib Dems were "hit by a very well organised campaign based on people's fear of Labour and the SNP."

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It's not going well for the Lib Dems.

Vince says it's been a "terrible night" for his party

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VERY narrow win for the Conservatives in Thurrock, a three-way marginal with UKIP and Labour. Tories beat Labour by around 500 votes, UKIP in third.

Conservatives hold Thurrock - fending of both Labour and UKIP. Labour's second target seat by majority...

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A couple of seats which faced by-elections in the last parliament: Eastleigh goes from Lib Dem to Conservative, while UKIP defector Douglas Carswell holds Clacton with a reduced majority.

Douglas Carswell majority drops from 10k to 3k in #Clacton

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Former SNP leader Alex Salmond is heading back to Westminster. He's won the seat of Gordon.

Ex-SNP leader Alex Salmond elected as MP for Gordon http://t.co/jpy6wse1Rp #GE2015

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A spot-the-difference of Britain's new electoral map.

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A double whammy of terrible London losses for the Lib Dems. Lynn Featherstone has lost Hornsey & Wood Green to Labour's Catherine West. West wins 50.9% of the vote to Featherstone's 31.8%.

Hornsey & Wood Green - Labour wins!!!

He's held the seat since 1983.

And now Simon Hughes. Poor Simon Hughes.

Some of the best moments of Featherstone's parliamentary career have already been shared on Twitter.

In memoriam Lynne Featherstone. Here's a reminder of that time you touched a ramp.

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It is *NOT* an SNP clean sweep in Scotland. The Lib Dem Scottish secretary, Alistair Carmichael, has held Orkney and Shetland.

#Breaking LibDems hold Orkney and Shetland

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27 Times The BBC Swingometer Summed Up Your Struggle.

The SNP have basically broken the BBC's swingometer. #GE2015

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Labour has held the UKIP target seat of Great Grimsby. A huge swing towards Farage's party in the east coast seat, but not enough to get them higher than third place.

Full election result for #GreatGrimsby http://t.co/hyuzMar8Kf #GE2015

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Two more catastrophic losses for the Lib Dems: There's been a huge swing to Labour both in Redcar and in London's Brent Central, where they won just 8.4% of the vote, well behind the second-place Tories.

RESULT: #Redcar, #Labour gain from #LibDems http://t.co/dmew5XnTHQ #GE2015

RESULT: #Brent Central, #Labour gain from #LibDems http://t.co/fum69nVrMV #GE2015

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George Galloway loses his Bradford West seat. Reports that the Respect group in the hall left before the result was read out.

Labour GAIN Bradford West. George Galloway OUT.

Bradford Labour councillor @CllrRalphBerry says "all Respect supporters have left the count after hearing Galloway has left Bradford."

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More Lib Dem misery: Energy secretary Ed Davey loses his Kingston and Surbiton seat.

CON Gain Kingston & Surbiton Ed Davey out #GE2015

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Feeling hungry? It's getting to that time of night. A bearded man has appeared behind a disappointed-looking Labour MP Lucy Powell on live TV.

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Our ticker of the total amount of Lib Dem lost deposits currently stands at £31,000. Follow the latest here.