British election live

Live commentary of the British election count.

Conclusion. I kind of lost interest in live blogging after the previous post, but nearly 24 hours on from the closure of polling, only one seat remains to be declared, and the result if Conservatives 318 (-12), Labour 261 (+29), Scottish Nationalists 35 (-21), Liberal Democrats 12 (+4), Plaid Cymru 4 (+1), Green 1 (-) and, of the Northern Ireland contingent, Democratic Unionist 10 (+2), Sinn Fein 7 (+3) and independent 1 (-). The seat that remains to be called is the normally blue-ribbon constituency of Kensington in London, which is on to its third recount after going down to the wire as a result of the metropolitan backlash against the Conservatives. The first two counts reportedly had Labour winning by 36 and 39 votes. As Sinn Fein members don’t take their seats, the magic number is 322, and the Conservatives will be relying on the Democratic Unionist Party to reach it. Three parties represented in the previous parliament have emerged empty-handed: Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic & Labour Party and Ulster Unionist Party, who won three and two seats in 2015, and UKIP, who won one.

Excluding Kensington, the vote shares are Conservative 42.4% (+5.5%), Labour 40.0% (+9.5%) and Liberal Democrats 7.4% (-0.5%). Line honours among the pollsters clearly go to Survation, whose final poll had it at Conservatives 41.3%, Labour 40.4% and Liberal Democrats 7.8%, which was the narrowest Conservative lead out of the nine pollsters on the British Polling Council. YouGov seemed to have it right earlier, but squibbed it with a late methodology change that herded to the Conservatives, their feelings presumably hurt by this sort of thing. The overall bias of the BPC pollsters to the Conservatives most likely reflected a reluctance to believe the age profile of the voting population would be much different from 2015, whereas Survation were more inclined to take respondents at their word as to whether they would vote. Outside the BPC tent, SurveyMonkey did better than all but one of those within in recording a 42-38 lead to the Conservatives; and Qriously’s 4% error, in this case in favour of Labour, was bettered only by Survation and Kantar.

UPDATE: Mike Smithson of Political Betting points out that the polling figures exclude Northern Ireland, whereas the numbers quoted above do not, and hence dampen the results for all concerned. The proper base from which the pollsters should be judged is Conservative 43.5%, Labour 41.0%, Liberal Democrats 7.6%.

Once again, the exit poll overseen Professor John Curtice more than earned its keep, coming in at 41% apiece for the Conservatives and Labour, and projecting 314 seats for the Conservatives, 266 for Labour, 34 for the Scottish Nationalists and 14 for the Liberal Democrats. Immediate reaction to the exit poll in 2010, 2015 and 2017 was that it surely must be underestimating, respectively, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservatives, but each time it came up smiling.

4.36am. After all the hype, Amber Rudd hangs on in Hastings & Rye.

4.23am. Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport now a declared Labour gain from the Conservatives, overturning a 1.1% margin.

4.20am. Alex Salmond loses his seat of Gordon to the Conservatives, in another blow to the SNP.

3.57am. Northern Ireland’s Labour-aligned party has now lost all of its three seats.

3.50am. Lineball result in Amber Rudd’s seat of Hastings leads to recount.

3.37am. Kingston on the fringe of London adds to scattered Liberal Democrats gains around the place from the Conservatives.

3.31am. Someone on BBC says projections point to 3% Conservative lead on the vote, suggesting Survation probably the best performing pollster.

3.29am. Eastbourne another Liberal Democrats gain from the Conservatives.

3.17am. BBC analyst says Labour boilover now expected in Kent seat of Canterbury, with a surge of young voters apparently set to overturn 18.3% Conservative margin. Labour has also gained the Midlands seat of Peterborough (4.1% margin) in a squeaker. In other close result news, the SNP have seen off the Conservatives by 21 votes in Perth & North Perthshire, against the prediction of the exit poll.

3.02am. Labour’s surprise win in the Suffolk seat of Ipswich, mooted earlier in the night, is now confirmed. But in Northern Ireland, the Labour-aligned Social Democratic and Labour Party has lost two of its three seats — one to Sinn Fein, one to the Unionists.

2.59am. Now eight confirmed losses for the SNP: four to the Conservatives, three to Labour, one to the Liberal Democrats. The BBC is projecting them to drop from 56 seats out of 59 to 32.

2.57am. Bristol North West a non-London Labour gain from the Conservatives.

2.54am. Knife-edge Conservative seat of Gower in Wales goes to Labour, not unpredictably. London seat of Twickenham goes from Conservative to the Liberal Democrats, presumably the beneficiary of heavy duty tactical voting.

2.46am. Labour gains Sheffield Hallam from former Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg, rated a 33% chance by the exit poll.

2.42am. SNP casualty list lengthens with Liberal Democrat gain of Dunbartonshire East, which was anticipated by the exit poll.

2.38am. Better news for the Conservatives from Southport in north-western England, which they have gained from the Libeal Democrats, which the exit poll rated only a 10% possibility.

2.27am. Midlothian now goes from SNP to Labour, against the prediction of the exit poll.

2.25am. Conservatives win Ochil & Perthshire South, of which exit poll said this: “the Conservatives have a 31% chance of victory, Labour has a 23% chance of victory, the SNP has a 46% chance of victory”. So SNP fairly consistently under-performing the exit poll.

2.19am. Conservatives gain Moray from SNP, as anticipated by exit poll.

2.16am. Conservative ministers confident no more of the exit poll being wrong.

2.11am. Another double-digit swing in London turns the marginal Labour seat of Ealing into a safe one.

2.06am. Stockton South, rated as lineball by the exit poll, goes to Labour.

2.02am. Labour win confirmed in Battersea with 10% swing.

1.58am. Conservatives gain Scottish seat of Angus from SNP — picked by exit poll, but talked up as a shock by the BBC presenter.

1.45am. Another double digit swing to Labour in London, this time in the Conservative seat of Putney. Keep in mind that swings are calculated differently in British parlance, such that a 10% swing overturns a 20% margin. So these results are consistent with Labour being competitive or better in Battersea (15.6%) or even Kensington (21.1%), both the subject of excited Labour chatter.

1.41am. Labour gains Welsh margin Vale of Clwyd with swing of 3.5%.

1.35am. Exit poll looking better now — talk even that Labour will outperform it.

1.30am. Young SNP firebrand Mhairi Black retains Paisley & Renfrewshire South.

1.25am. First result from London is Labour-held Tooting, where Labour gets a swing of 10.6%.

1.20am. The Rutherglen gain by Labour from the SNP was not predicted by the exit poll, which had Edinburgh North & Leith as their only gain in Scotland. BBC pundit says Labour expects to win Sheffield Hallam from former Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg — this was too close to call in the exit poll. Other two mooted Labour gains she mentions were anticipated by poll.

1.13am. 4.5% swing to Labour in their safe Welsh seat of Llanelli; Labour narrowly gains Rutherglen & Hamilton West from SNP, the first declared result to change hands.

1.11am. Labour now expecting to make gains in Wales, after disappointing Conservatives failure in Wrexham.

12.59am. I belatedly observe a 1.4% Conservative swing in the north-west England seat of Workington. Someone earlier said the picture got better for the Conservatives with every foot you travelled north.

12.53am. Status quo result in Labour-held north-eastern seat of Durham, where the Conservatives might have vaguely hoped they could still gain based on early results from the region, although 7.7% margin made it a big ask. Still, the sort of seat the Conservatives were expecting to win going into the election.

12.38am. 2.2% swing to Labour in Broxbourne and 0.2% swing in Nuneaton, two middle England seats. But mounting talk of a big result for Labour in London, including a win in Battersea, margin 15.6%.

12.32am. “Entirely possible we will still get an overall majority”, is the less-than-bullish assessment of Conservative heavyweight Liam Fox.

12.28am. 2.6% swing to Labour in Kettering, a Conservative seat in the Midlands.

12.25am. BBC pundit says Labour said to be confident of the Suffolk seat of Ipswich, margin of 7.7%, and four gains in Scotland.

12.21am. Newcastle North swings 0.5% to Labour, which is better than their regional form.

12.16am. Specifically, HuffPost UK politics editor Paul Waugh says Labour is expected to win Kensington, which the Conservatives won 52.2% to 31.1% in 2015.

12.08am. Washginton and Sunderland West swings 2.2% to Conservatives, in line with regional trend. However, there’s excited talk on Twitter about Labour’s prospects in blue-ribbon constituencies in London.

11.59pm. Bad result for Labour from Newcastle Central, good one from North Swindon. Long night ahead.

11.47pm. Third seat is Sunderland South: 2.2% swing to Conservatives. BBC analyst indicates Labour worried exit poll wrong because Conservatives outperforming it on postal votes.

11.33pm. BBC reporter says Labour remain excited about Hastings and Rye, held by Home Secretary Amber Rudd on a margin of 9.4%, which wasn’t picked as a Labour gain by the exit poll. It was a middlingly good seat for UKIP in 2015, and a bit above average for age.

11.23pm. Exit poll broken down by age: 63-27 to Labour among 18-34; 43-43 among 35-54; 59-23 to Conservative among 55+.

11.20pm. Conservative sources expressing confidence the exit poll is wrong. But as Antony Green points out, the picture in the two constituencies that are in is complicated by the steep decline there of UKIP.

11.08pm. A second pro-Brexit Labour-held constituency, Houghton and Sunderland South, has the Conservatives outperforming the exit poll, with a 2% swing in their favour.

11.03pm. First result, from Newcastle upon Tyne Central, records 2% swing to Labour, which is less than the exit poll anticipated.

10.21pm. Britain Elects on Twitter: “Amber Rudd in trouble in Hastings & Rye (2015 Con +9), so says the BBC.”

10.19pm. Markets respond.

10.11pm. Labour MP John McDonnell “sounds rather doubtful that the exit poll is right”, at least in the view of Lord Ashcroft.

10.08pm. Antony Green points out the feted exit poll from 215 in fact under-predicted the Conservatives by 15 seats.

10.04pm. Another British election, another stimulating exit poll result. Conservatives to lose majority with 314 seats (326 required for majority) to 266 for Labour, 34 for Scottish Nationalists and 14 for the Liberal Democrats.

9.56pm. The Sun’s political editor on Twitter: “Scotland now looking really good for Tories, I’m told 10-12 gains from the SNP possible”.

9.55pm GMT. The final reading of the BludgerTrack UK poll aggregate: Conservative 43.0, Labour 36.8, Liberal Democrats 7.6, UKIP 4.2. Coming soon: the moment of high drama that is the announcement of the exit poll.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

492 comments on “British election live”

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  1. If the promise of ‘strong and stable leadership’ actually made anyone vote Tory, the sure won’t be voting Tory in the next election.

  2. Just as I suspected. It looks like May decided that the best course of action is that she stays on, blame things on everything but herself and has formed a “Coalition of Chaos” with the DUP.

  3. Raaraa – I read somewhere that the Tory Candidate for Kensington, Lady Borwich, was President of the Antique’s Association and blocked the Tories banning the importation of ivory. Bet that cost her more than enough votes to see her go down. What a classic!

  4. It’s interesting that the Labour HQ was totally surprised by the Exit Poll. One always assumes that the parties have the best and most expensive internal polling. But they obviously whiffed this one. Tories the same?
    Maybe, in the future, they’ll just use You-Gov: it’s free and it works.

  5. Just a bit of a gloat.

    I think my prediction came in closer than virtually all the pollsters except survation

    Predicted a Tory minority government and 4.5% Tory lead

  6. What are the chances that the Europeans will cause enough trouble from Theresa to bring her down and pave the way for a Labour Govt they can deal with. They did something similar in Greece?

  7. Jeremy Corbyn did well on the hustings and it was gratifying to see the malevolent Murdoch get one in the goolies.
    For all that, if we continue to see similar commendable efforts from the Corbyns and Sanders of the world, the Trumps and Tories will reign uninterrupted for evermore.

  8. The Climate Council is not impressed with the Finkel report:

    “Dear Mark,
    The long awaited Finkel Review into Australia’s electricity market has launched today.

    And it’s a mixed bag.

    Australians across the board are desperate for a policy solution, which can address climate change and tackle emissions from our ageing, inefficient and polluting electricity sector. Ultimately, it was hoped that the Finkel Review would seriously address these issues.

    But disappointingly – the Finkel plan does not pass the climate test. Ultimately if the scheme goes ahead emission reductions must be much stronger.

    What does the Finkel Review recommend?

    The Review’s “blueprint” sets out to reduce emissions in the electricity sector – 28% emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030. We need to slash emissions further and faster. Other sectors such as building, agriculture and transport, will need to do more if the electricity sector does less. (my emphasis)

    The Review also proposes introducing a Clean Energy Target between 2020 to 2030, to encourage new power plants to be built. The target would be similar to the current Renewable Energy Target, except that it would allow a broader range of power plants to qualify including renewable energy, gas, and coal with carbon capture and storage.

    Additionally, the review confirms that Australia has huge opportunities in renewable power, as renewables are now our cheapest source of new power. It also highlights the importance of coupling solar and wind with battery storage and other storage technologies.

    What’s the bottom line?

    Our emissions and electricity prices are going up due to a long term vacuum in Australia’s climate policy. What Finkel has proposed will need to be significantly strengthened to meet the demands of climate science.

    Want to hear more? Tune in to Q&A on Monday night where I’ll be appearing as a panelist alongside Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist and author of the Finkel Review, and Federal Environment & Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg. It’s sure to be an interesting discussion.

    Kind regards,
    Amanda McKenzie
    Climate Council CEO”

  9. The new Tail to wag the Tory dog:

    “The DUP opposes equal marriage, opposes basic abortion rights, rejects the concept of evolution, wants the death penalty back and intends to demand as part of its price a rock-hard Brexit, including a hard border with Ireland that pretty much everyone on all sides agrees risks the return of widespread terrorist violence to the province.
    (NB The party actually says that it doesn’t want a hard Brexit, but there’s no possible way that can be done without NI having special status, which the DUP flatly opposes.)
    But what would have been “the worst crisis since abdication” had it been the SNP and Labour is apparently all just tickety-boo if it’s the DUP and Tories.”

  10. I’m as much of a Corbyn fan as anyone, but people on the left calling this a victory for Corbyn and UK Labour are hard for me to take seriously. Labour should have won at least another dozen seats or so, maybe more. Obviously there is work to be done and lessons to be learned on their parts. Even taking into account a hostile MSM I don’t think their message cut through as strongly as it could have and I think Corbyn was actively undermined by some Labour candidates. Also Labour needs to double down on it’s efforts to reach out to younger voters, not simply rely on those who turned out in 2017 to turn out again. Labour can’t rely on another disastrous Tory campaign, they need to lift their game. Their policies are good, but there is something being lost in the communication of them and I think a lot of it has to do with the centrists not being on a tight enough leash and towing the party line / demonstrating unity.

  11. Corbyn has silenced the “Corbyn is electoral poison” argument in Labour, except for its most extreme proponents, and that will buy him a lot less distension from his leadership. A known to be credible Corbyn will get less unfriendly media coverage, except in the right-wing tabloids, than he did before the campaign and that will help as well. The increased unity and help ordinary people purpose will help Labour pick up working class votes in regional England and Scotland at the next election, unless the Tories can get a new leader bounce election through (although this is very hard for a minority Government to do under the Parliamentary Fixed Terms Act, especially if the DUP likes its position of balance of power). Except for the new leader bounce period, in the likely event of a new leader, the Tories will have a very tough term. That significantly increases the chances of by-election attrition removing the Tory+Unionist majority, especially given the small size of that majority and the length of the term.

  12. A hard border with Ireland would be very messy. It could however mean that Ireland then joins the Schengen “border-less” travel area and that would almost certainly require the UK to join the Schengen area to reopen it.

  13. @Tom

    I hope you’re right, personally I hope Corbin eats a chance to lead a government whilst he still has some (relative) youth and vitality. His whole career has led him to this, but I imagine the idea of retirement from public life is very tempting. He’ll likely be in his 70s if / when he takes office.

  14. This s Gerry Adams answer to the question:
    “Now that there is a hung parliament and Brexit is an issue for the whole of the island of Ireland, why won’t Sinn Fein take their seats’
    He does not give an answer.
    A very brave prediction:
    Within 3 months Adams calls an urgent Ard Fheis of Sinn Fein for the sole question of debating abstentionism. He will of course, ensure that the numbers are right before doing this. May’s position becomes even more untenable.

  15. Sinn Fein might wait for some government by-election losses. Or it might want to be ready immediately after them to get the Tory-DUP government out.

  16. Tom TF&B

    What do you mean?

    Sinn Fein will never take an oath to serve the British Monach so under Westminster rules cannot sit in Parliament.

  17. antonbruckner11

    Considering all but 2 pollsters got the numbers anywhere remotely close, I’m not surprised that internal party polling didn’t reflect the actual numbers and got them all surprised.

  18. If the Labour party stood united behind Corbyn instead of continuing to snipe and cause instability, maybe today they’d be debating who would get what ministry instead of rushing forward to apologise or deciding who would have done better than Corbyn.

  19. Never is not never for Sinn Fein.
    In the past they would never enter the Dail or take part in a partition assembly but when the time was right they quickly ditched 100 year old principles.
    The recently re-elected MP for Fermanagh amd South Tyrone recently said she wan’t a “never, ever” person and then claimed she had been taken out of context. The question has also certainly been discussed at recent Ard Fheises (no idea on Gaelic plurals).
    The oath is symbolically important but has been overcome in the past by no less than De Valera. Of more substance to Adams is the question of Irish MPs making decisions on English matters and English MPs deciding on Irish matters, a type of West Lothian question. It strikes me the Brexit, as a vital issue effecting all parts of the British Isles would make an ideal excuse for SF to make mayhem in Westminster. But this may be just my fantasy.

  20. I wonder what happened to the person running the UK Electoral Calculus blog. Has been strangely quiet both on the blog and twitter since June 8. I’m genuinely concerned.

  21. I think that with a very trouble riddled Tory government, sophomore surge, Labour marginal seat campaigning, demographic progression, an election potentially timed contrary to Tory wishes (by-election losses and potentially the end of absentionism from Parliament), etc, there is a reasonable chance that Labour will hold these seats next time.

  22. Raaraa
    I have always thought the LNP war against the young was an issue the ALP should take and run with.
    But it is a timid flacid conservative neo-liberal bunch that run ALP these days.
    Nary a socialist in the party any more.

  23. Oakshot
    Of course the Tories may find urgent reasons to repeal EVEL now that they have a DUP allies and a few MPs in Scotland!!

    The UK constitution is what’s ever expedient.

  24. Also, i think Corbyn needs to clean out his SLab branch. It seems there was (perfectly legal) tactical voting in Scotland. That is SLab supported Tory candidates over the SNP.

    The wonders of FPTP and non-compulsory attendance.

    Just 3,385 votes in Scotland was the difference between the SNP getting 41 seats instead of 35. 🙂

  25. The formation of the next NI executive will be fascinating when the negotiating restarts shortly.
    SF’s red line was that Arlene Foster had to step down while her role in the Renewable Heat scandal was examined. She is now arguably the most important woman in the UK. I suspect that negotiations will be fruitless and direct rule will be assumed by Westminster. A result that Foster and the DUP would strongly welcome

  26. Another quirk of the UK election is how everyone describes the winning margin as a “majority”. No wonder they can’t get their heads around changing their voting system when a candidate with 35% wins over second place 30% and that is a “majority” of say 5,000 votes.

  27. What a difference a day makes…

    From Britaain Elects on twitter:

    “Westminster voting intention:

    LAB: 45% (+5)
    CON: 39% (-3)
    LDEM: 7% (-)
    UKIP: 3% (+1)

    (via @Survation / 10 Jun)
    Chgs. w/ GE2017”


    No the Tories will not want to repeal EVEL as it gives them a considerable majority, in their own right, for the vetoing of English only and English and Welsh only bills or parts thereof. There are 13 Scottish and 8 Welsh Tory MPs (out of respective totals of 59 and 40) and 10 DUP and an independent unionist from Northern Ireland (making 11 out of 18, but the rest are Sinn Fein and don`t turn up). That means the Tories have 298 out of 572 (excluding the Speaker who acts non-partisanly) on English and Welsh matters and 290 out of 532 (excluding the Speaker who acts non-partisanly).


    Students who were stopped from voting at Newcastle-Under-Lyme later returned and clinched the victory for Labour.

    Voters in the constituency, which is home to Keele University, were told they were not on the register because an old one was being used and asked to come back in the last hour of voting.

    They did so in large numbers and Labour was able to retain the seat by only 30 votes.

    I hope this convinces those who think that their vote doesn’t really count. The youth who were normally disconnected from politics actually made a difference in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

  30. Swamprat @7.55am

    In many of the more well off/rural seats in Scotland (seats Labour never used to win eg Banff) there was a straight swing from SNP back to the Tories.

    Not every SNP loss is the result of imagined Scottish Labour shenanigins, it is the famous ‘Tartan Tories’ of old returning their votes to the Tories from the SNP.

    Banff&Buchan – SNP -21%, Con +19%, Lab +4%, LDems -2% – Con gain from SNP
    Angus – SNP -16%, Con +16%, Lab +4%, LDem n/c – Con gain from SNP
    Moray – SNP -11%, Con +17%, Lab +1%, LDem -1% – Con gain from SNP

    The above three results for example, this is voters who backed SNP in 2015 going straight to the Tories, nothing to do with Labour tactical voting.

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