Ed Miliband said he is "deeply sorry" to his Scottish colleagues for his party's disastrous performance north of the border at the general election as rumours build that he will resign as leader of the Labour party.

Despite previous polls predicting the race between Miliband and his Conservative counterpart David Cameron as too close to call, an exit poll found Labour on 239 seats to the Conservatives 316 -- well short of the number of MPs needed to form a majority in Westminster.

A harrowing night for Labour, which saw them struggle to gain marginal seats from the Tories and hemorrhage seats to the SNP in Scotland, leaves the party facing the likely prospect of performing worse than it did under Gordon Brown at the 2010 election.

Speaking after winning his constituency seat of Doncaster North by 11,780 votes, Miliband said, "This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour party. We haven't made the gains we wanted in England and Wales and in Scotland we've seen a surge of nationalism overwhelm our party.

"Now I want to say to all the dedicated and decent colleagues in Scotland that have lost their seats that I am deeply sorry for what has happened," he added.

After suffering such a heavy defeat, rumours now abound that the Labour leader is likely to resign, with William Hill offering odds of 8/11 that Miliband will resign by the end of Friday (8 May).