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The opinion polls have Labour and the Tories neck-and-neck as the polls open across the UK Getty

AS IT STANDS: CONS: 322 - LAB: 228 - SNP: 56 - LIB DEMS: 8 - DUP: 8 - UKIP: 1 - GREEN: 1 - OTHERS: 15

David Cameron's Conservatives look set to become the biggest party in a new parliament as Labour was all but wiped out in Scotland by the Scottish Nationalist Party.

Douglas Alexander - touted as a future foreign secretary - lost his seat to 20-year-old Mhairi Black and Jim Murphy, Labour leader in Scotland, was also unseated.

The Liberal Democrats were decimated in the poll and looked poise to lose over 47 of its 57 seats. Business Secretary Vince Cable and former Deputy Leader Simon Hughes were among the casualties in a brutal night for the party.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - who maintained his seat in Sheffield Hallam - said that he would be speaking to the party about his future as leader of the Liberal Democrats. Ed Miliband, Labour leader, is expected to announce his resignation.

Millions of people have cast their votes in what was a surprisingly convincing electoral victory for the Conservatives, after months of opinion polling which suggested it and the Labour party were neck-and-neck.

The Conservatives are now on course to win as many as 333 seats in the most bullish of forecasts as the final seat results roll in. A majority government is probable.

IBTimes UK will be recording all of the action for the next 24 hours. Make sure to follow our dedicated politics Twitter account @IBTUKPolitics.

David and Samantha Cameron
David and Samantha Cameron leave 10 Downing Street for Buckingham Palace Getty

The Conservatives have won seat number 326 - the number required to govern as a single party - after the Cotswolds returning officer declared it had voted Tory.

With just seven seats left to report, David Cameron can now rely on a slender majority.

The prime minister arrived at Buckingham Palace for the customary 20-minute audience with the Queen before returning to his home for the next five years, 10 Downing Street.

His victory comes after a wild election night that saw Labour and the Liberal Democrats lose scores of seats while the SNP annihilated all before them in Scotland.

The outcome has already led to the resignations of party leaders Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage and the defeat of Westminster beasts including Ed Balls, Vince Cable and Danny Alexander.

Fore more 2015 general election news and reaction, visit or follow @IBTimesUK and @IBTUKPolitics

David Cameron arrives at Buckingham Palace
David Cameron and wife Samantha arrive at Buckingham Palace BBC

The prime minister's audience with the Queen is expected to last about 20 minutes, after which he will return to Downing Street to address the waiting media.

BREAKING: David Cameron has left Downing Street for Buckingham Palace with his wife Samantha for an audience with the Queen

More from Ed Miliband: "We must rise to the challenge of keeping our country together"

"I'm truly sorry I did not succeed"

"We've come back before and this party will come back again"

"I take absolute and total responsibility for the loss and for our defeat. I'm sorry for so many colleagues who have lost their seats."

"I also want to congratulate all our MPs who were elected yesterday."

"It was the most cohesive and durable campaign I've ever been involved in. I want to thank Douglas Alexander and the team of Labour Party members."

"Now it is time for someone else to take this party forward. So I announce my resignation."

"Harriet Harman is the best deputy leader anyone could ever hope for."

Miliband has resigned as Labour leader and recommended that Harriet Harman should take over as interim head of the left-of-centre party.

The Spectator's Sebastian Payne reports David Cameron did not expect the Conservatives to win as many seats as they did.

The party needs just one more seat from the 12 left to declare to make it over the 326 threshold.

But Cameron did not always believe the Tories would win that many, the report says.

"I never quite believed we'd get to the end of this campaign in the place we are now," he told Tory HQ.

He recalled the "amazing" victory in 1992 and the 2010 result but said this election was the "sweetest victory of them all."

Royal standard
The royal standard has been unfurled at Buckingham Palace Getty

The royal standard has been unfurled above Buckingham Palace as David Cameron prepares to inform the Queen he is able to form a government.

The monarch had been at Kensington Palace but has returned to await her prime minister.

Her next major involvement in parliamentary proceedings will be when she delivers the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of the new Parliament on 27 May.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Steele has spoken to the BBC after Nick Clegg announced he was stepping down as leader of the party.

He said "history will be kinder to Nick Clegg than the electorate has."

The Lib Dems, he said, "had the most professional election campaign I have seen" but "too many mistakes were made at the beginning of the coalition" and that led to a "loss of trust and it went downhill from there."

Nick Clegg has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats after taking "full responsibility" for their disastrous election.

Says it is "too early to give considered account on why party has suffered."

Clegg says "fear and grievance have won, liberalism has lost" and that the election was the worst in the party's history.

But he adds the party will return and the party "will win".

Nigel Farage has resigned as leader of Ukip after finishing second in South Thanet.

He said Ukip would return "a younger and more energetic" party and that he would planned to "enjoy myself and not do very much politics at all."

A record number of women have been elected MPs. At least 166 women will enter the House of Commons after the general election - nearly one third of all MPs.

While the figure is step in the right direction for gender quality in Westminster, there were still 102 seats across Britain with no female candidates.

The Conservatives have taken their 323rd seat of the election - meaning they now have enough for a working majority when Sinn Féin - who do not take their seats in Westminster - and speakers are taken into consideration.

With 12 seats yet to declare, this election could yet get better for David Cameron.

Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband arriving at Labour HQ with wife Justine Getty

Ed Miliband on Twitter: "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."

In South Thanet:

First place - Conservatives: 18,848
Second place - Ukip: 16,026

Craig McKinlay elected. Nigel Farage does not win South Thanet. The Ukip leader has said he would stand down if he fails in Thanet.

A 70% turnout.

A flavour of life under a Conservative majority that nobody thought the party would get.

ed miliband
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband pictured after winning his Doncaster constituency, though his party had a bad night Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

This is the election night in photos. Expect Elmo, a lurking Ed Balls and Boris Johnson's ruffled mane.

Perhaps a little presumptuous, but Miliband is expected to resign imminently -- so we looked at who is likeliest to succeed him.

Nus Ghani
Nus Ghani with Conservative volunteers. Nus Ghani

The Conservatives have had their first female Muslim MP elected, as Nus
Ghani took the rural East Sussex constituency of Wealden with an increased
majority of 22,967, some 57% of the vote. Ukip displaced Labour in
second place with 16% of the vote.

With the threat from Ukip failing to materialise in a traditional Tory
constituency, in which the nomination of a candidate of Pakistani-origin
was widely seen as a bold move, Ghani told IBTimes UK: "I don't do
identity politics and I didn't fight this campaign on my personal
identity. This shows that electors didn't see it that way. In Wealden
we're not interested in division -- we are a highly diverse constituency
and I will be representing every single voter. I'm just thrilled to be
elected and my job now is to get stuck in."

Ed Miliband, Labour leader, is expected to announce his resignation in a speech at around noon.

More from the markets, this time Lloyds Banking Group shares (which the UK government owns a few of after a financial crisis bailout). Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets, said:

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) among the FTSE100 outperformers this morning in reaction to the surprise result (TBC) that David Cameron's Conservative party will achieve a majority in the 2015 UK General Election, removing hitherto fears of the closest-run contest since WW2 seeing the opposition Labour party take power or a muddled coalition introduce tougher regulation and take a less pro-business approach, denting the UK financials sector and hurting the City. No change to existing plans to sell the government's remaining 22% 2008 bailout stake in LLOY to smaller investors (rather than favouring institutions) with a Thatcher style 80's/90's privatisation discount (£4bn Conservative election pledge) will also please investors looking to get back into the recovery story, as will the absence of meddling in the recent reinstatement of dividends after a period of austerity- and bailout-forced absence. Peers BARC and RBS also benefiting.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) currently trading at 87.6p / +6.7%.

The markets react to the Tory win. And the housing stocks love it...

Some people are very, very happy about the Ed Balls result. Namely, the guys who run the Guido Fawkes blog.

Conservative Andrea Jenkyns gains from Labour in Morley and Outwood. Big Ukip surge in the constituency -- up 16% -- seems to have eaten into Balls's majority. He only lost by around 300 votes.

Now we're looking to new leaders as Clegg and Miliband prepare to stand down. Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, is the only real front-runner to replace Clegg. But Miliband's likely successor is much less clear. Yvette Cooper, the steely shadow home secretary? Or Chuka Umunna, the young shadow business secretary? Or perhaps a rogue wildcard from the backbenches?

Looks like the Ed Miliband resignation is just an hour away...

David Cameron addresses the count at his seat of Witney as a majority Conservative government looked increasingly likely.

Now attention turns to the markets, set to open at 8am in the UK after a shocking set of election results overnight. Ross Walker, the senior UK economist at RBS, has this to say.

On sterling:

On sterling we like to keep things simple: (i) This election outcome is a surprise relative to all the pre-election day polls and punditry; (ii) This is a 'GBP friendly' surprise as the Conservatives will lead the next government and Mr Cameron will continue as PM. In this context, we believe that the modest GBP rally seen overnight does not yet have this decisive (relative to all expectations) election outcome in the price.

On Gilts:

From a market perspective, the strength of support for the largest party and removal of uncertainty over the formation of a coalition government should be seen as a positive for GBP assets. For Gilts, the recent bund-led sell-off in global fixed-income makes it difficult to decipher exactly what financial markets were pricing in terms of an expected election outcome. Nevertheless, the Gilt outperformance late last week on the back of two pollsters showing a rising Conservative lead was telling (we took profit on our pre-election trades then) and we expect a decent relief rally, reflecting the removal of uncertainty premia and the confirmation of a tried and tested economic formula.

All is not well in camp Miliband.

Ed Balls Labour
Ed Balls, Labour's shadow chancellor. Getty

A recount has apparently been ordered in Morley and Outwood, where the Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls faces a closer-than-expected fight to hold on to his seat. The Conservatives think they might have edged it with their candidate Andrea Jenkyns.

Now we seem to be in the territory of not just "will the Conservatives get a majority", but "how big is the Conservative majority going to be". This is PA's projection:

Liberal Democrat Sir Nicholas Harvey has lost his seat in North Devon.

In a lull as we wait for the Ed Balls verdict, can we have a virtual standing ovation for David Dimbleby, who has been on air for around nine hours and shows no sign of slowing down.

There have been a number of highpoints of the coverage so far...

And then there was the moment that he thought the camera was off and muttered: "For God's sake".

We have a camera cam on Sky News right now, following David Cameron's car as he races down the A40 to London.

His driver is really going for it. You would think the man had a date with someone important, like the Queen.

Hilary Benn has held his seat in Leeds Central with a majory of 16,967.

Mark Reckless, the former Conservative MP that defected to Ukip in 2014, has lost his seat in Rochester and Strood.

Ed Miliband has been on Twitter with a message for David Cameron.

And another Liberal Democrat falls on this bloody night for the party.

Danny Alexander has lost his seat to the Scottish National Party by more than 10,000 votes.

Not a particularly surprising result, but David Cameron has held his seat with a huge majority of 35,201 votes.

There are a whole host of characters at the count, including one dressed as a fake sheikh and another as Sesame Street character Elmo.

Cameron made a long and confident speech that read like a manifesto from a man who knows that he will be in Downing Street before long.

Ed Miliband has made a speech in Doncaster which is being interpreted as a concession of the election to David Cameron and the Conservatives.

He said that it had been a difficult night for the Labour Party and apologised to Labour MPs in Scotland who had lost their seats in a surge of support for the Scottish Nationalist Party.

Liberal Democrat veteran Paddy Ashdown has written to party members about what he has called a bitter night for the party.

Last night was a bitter night for Liberal Democrats. Perhaps most bitter of all, the results do not do justice to your hard work, dedication or passion.
You have fought the campaign of your lives, and I am incredibly proud of you.
Let us remember what we fought for - liberal values, offering a vibrant, positive, and hopeful alternative for our country.
The forces of decency, moderation, unity, respect for others and progressive politics are weaker this morning. But they are not lost, and they must not be lost.
However painful this defeat, our fight for all this party stands for must continue.
In 2010 we put the country before our party, and we should be very proud of everything that we, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have achieved.
These will be tough days ahead for our party, and they could be tough times for our country too.
But Liberal Democrat resilience has battled through time and time again, and I genuinely believe that, while diminished in Parliament, our voice will be heard again and is needed now more than ever.
I look forward to fighting that fight alongside you.

The Lib Dems Twitter feed is also taking an emotional stance this morning.

Ed Miliband has won Doncaster North with 20,708 votes

Another major scalp gone from the Liberal Democrats.

Charles Kennedy, former leader of the party, has conceded defeat. He lost to the SNP.

Labour have won in Norwich South, taking yet another seat from the Liberal Democrats.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has failed to win in Holborn and St Pancras.

Labour's Keir Starmer won with 29,062 with a majority of more than 17,000. Bennett got 7,013.

Anna Soubry has held her seat in Broxtone.

In Wirral, Conservative Employment Minister Esther McVey has lost her seat.

Nick Clegg only won by a little over 2,000 votes and as he takes to the podium there are no smiles from the deputy prime minister.

"It is now painfully clear that this has been a cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats," he said.

He said he will make remarks: "relating to his position in the Liberal Democrats" later this morning.

Nick Clegg retains his seat in Sheffield Hallam

Rumours now that the Liberal Democrats are looking at single figures...

Vince Cable has lost his seat in Twickenham in another sensational defeat for the Liberal Democrats.

Boris Johnson has won his seat in Uxbridge and Ruislip South with double the number of votes as the closest Labour party contender.

He won over 20,000 votes with a 10,000 majority above Labour's Chris Summers in a safe Tory seat.

Conservative candidate Jackie Doyle-Price has held her seat in Thurrock by just over 400 votes.

The seat was a target for both Labour and Ukip, with Polly Billington, for Labour, gaining 16,152 votes to Doyle-Price's 16,692.

Carswell is re-iterating his comments earlier about electoral reform, saying that 5.5 million people who voted either Ukip or Green have no representation in the House of Commons.

"Westminster has become a cartel," he said.

Douglas Carswell has won Clacton with just under 20,000 votes and becomes Ukip's first MP.

But his majority has shifted from just over 10,000 when he ran as a Conservative to 3,000 today.

Alex Salmond has won his seat in Gordon

Simon Hughes has lost North Southwark and Bermondsey after more than 30 years in a sensational loss for the Liberal Democrats.

A party veteran that has twice run for leadership of the party and was former deputy leader. He has held his seat since 1983.

Labour have won Hornsey and Wood Green, unseating Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone

Now there are reports that Ed Miliband could be for the chop after the failure of Labour to win targeted marginal seats and its wipe-out in Scotland.

Controversial to the last, Respect MP George Galloway may find himself in hot water following a Tweet he allegedly sent last night.

George Galloway has lost his seat in Bradford.

Galloway may not have finished in British politics, however, as we reported at the end of April.

Chuka Umunna has stormed to victory to win back his Streatham seat and increase his share of the vote from 42.8% to 53%, with more than 26,000 votes, Ian Silvera reports.

The nearest contender, Kim Caddy of the Conservatives, was well behind the shadow business secretary with a 25% share. Umunna, who is seen as a future Labour leader, said he was humbled to be re-elected for the London constituency.

"There's a lot of change going on in our community, I think in particular gentrification is something that we need to have a proper, comprehensive discussion about. It's more complex than some have suggested and how we transition into this new decade that we are in, and Brixton changes with it, is something that the whole community needs to be involved with," he said.

The former solicitor also revealed that the highlight of the campaign for him was "being on the street and talking to people".

"There is a lot of love for Labour Party actually. Because there are quite a few tangible things in the community that we have delivered while in power," Umunna added.

"Although people became tired of us towards the end of our time in office, having seen what's happened over the last five years with the cut in Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the trebling of tuition fees, the erection of barriers to people achieving their dreams and aspirations - it has made people realise in some senses what they had before.

"One thing I will say about our campaign nationally is that it did confound expectations because, although we did point what another five years of this government would mean, we did put forward a positive, hopeful and optimistic vision of what our country can be."

IBTimes UK pressed the newly elected MP on his support of Miliband as the exit polls show Labour are set lose the election.

Umunna said he was fully behind the Labour leader and said he thought Miiband had a "fantastic" campaign. "I'm really proud of the campaign that he led," Umunna said.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has lost his seat in Kingston and Surbiton to the Conservatives to James Berry.

Tim Farron has held his seat in Westmorland and Lonsdale, bringing the tally of Liberal Democrats seats to two.

Chuka Umunna has been elected in Streatham.

A vote of confidence in Ed Miliband from Chuka Umunna...

Labour leader in Scotland Jim Murphy has lost his seat in Renfrewshire East.

He got just under 20,000 votes but it was not enough to beat his opponent Kirsten Oswald with over 23,000.

There has been an explosion outside a count at Bosworth...

Alan Mak has become the first British-Chinese MP to enter the House of Commons in Havant.

Results are flying in now:

  • Labour have won Burnley, taking it from the Liberal Democrats.
  • SNP have gained Inverclyde from Labour
  • SNP have gained Renfrewshire from Labour
  • The Conservatives have held Gosport

One of Nigel Farage's most high-profile rivals in the race for South Thanet, but perhaps not one of the most serious contenders for the hardly fought seat has said he deserves to win, our colleague Joe Millis reports.

Al Murray, pub landlord comedian and now wannabe MP for Fukp (that's the Freedom UK Party), joked that "Second place would be a miracle, first place would be deserved" arriving in the constituency this evening.

On winning, he said "Maybe if the one per cent vote for me, and we all know the one per cent rule the world, and if they vote for me then I'm obviously in touch with the people who rule the world - job done."

"I knocked on people's doors mate" he told the waiting press.

Asked what he thought of speculation that Ukip leader Farage wouldn't win the seat, Murray said: "Well then we're all walking with history aren't we. I've got the hand of history on my shoulder then."

The Conservatives have held Warwickshire North, a top target for Labour.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham has also held onto his seat in Leigh, with a comfortable majority of more than 14,000 votes.

Gordon Brown's former seat Kirkcaldy has been lost amidst a huge surge of support for the SNP. The swing was 35% to the Nationalists from Labour.

Shane Croucher has been listening to Alex Salmon on the BBC

"There's a lion roaring in Scotland tonight, a Scottish lion," Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader who is now standing for parliament, said.

"We don't know what the complexion of the House of Commons is going to be.

"So let's see if it's possible to have a progressive alliance who don't believe in Tory policies."

The irony here is that by potentially wiping Labour out in Scotland, the SNP are making their worst nightmare more likely: a Conservative government, says Shane.

The weaker it makes Labour, the stronger it makes the Tories.

Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has lost her seat in East Dunbartonshire to the Scottish National Party.

The Liberal Democrat's 80 votes in Castle Point is a record loss for the party, its worst since the 19th century.

A bit of debate over Mhairi Black's historical significance but it has emerged that the 20-year-old will be the youngest MP in the House of Commons since 1667.

The New Statesman ran an excellent profile on the battle for Paisley in April, which is full of background about the former student.

The Conservatives hold on to Fareham, where there is another poor result for the LIberal Democrats.

They also hold on to Castle Point in Essex

In Falkirk the SNP candidate has gained 58% of the vote to Labour's 25% - that is a swing of 24%

The swings are huge in Scotland. In Dundee West, Labour are down 25%

More from Shane Croucher on the Liberal Democrats

Speaking on the BBC, Tim Farron tried to play down the exit poll suggesting the Liberal Democrats will only win 10 seats -- down from 57 -- and said it should be "taken with a pinch of salt" and we should "wait until we see genuine numbers".

I'm not going to claim it's a good night for the Liberal Democrats," he added, noting that it will be "a tough set of results for us".

When challenged on the leadership of Nick Clegg in the wake of what could be a disastrous evening for the party, Farron said: "He's done a blinding job and I'm really proud of him."

Farron deployed the line that the Lib Dems are being unfairly punished for acting in the national interest, not the party's, by going into coalition with the Conservatives in a time of economic turmoil and making tough decisions on public spending cuts.

A sensational result, Douglas Alexander was not only the shadow foreign secretary but led Labour's campaign. His loss is a serious blow for Labour but demonstrates the party's wider predicament in Scotland.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has lost his seat in Paisley to a 20-year-old student Mhairi Black for the SNP

Shane Croucher on Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader, who has pinned the blame on the looming prospect of another Conservative-led government on Labour's "failure" to beat the Tories in England.

What she neglected to mention is her party's apparent destruction of Labour in Scotland, which is almost certainly the real reason Labour will not win a majority. But Sturgeon hasn't resigned herself completely to a Tory government -- she said she'll help lock them out if the seats arithmatic works out.

Liberal Democrats have held on to a Welsh seat in Ceredigion, winning its first tonight.

And Labour have lost their first Scottish seat in Kilmarnock, a 26% swing to SNP.

Liberal Democrats sources have told the BBC that the estimated 10 seats the party is forecasted to win could be correct.

If true, that would mean the Lib Dems would lose 47 seats and chalk up the worst electoral performance in its history.

Major names including Vince Cable, Simon Hughes and former leader Charles Kennedy could be among the casualties, sources suggest.

Ian Silvera on the Greens and Norwich South:

The Greens are in a bullish mood and the figures so far justify their attitude.

Natalie Bennett's party saw their vote surge by 7.1% in Newcastle Upon Tyne East after their candidate secured 8.7% of the vote.

In total, the left-of-centre party have won 4.4% of the vote in the first six seats declared. Are they set to take over the Liberal Democrats in UK politics? A Green spokesman told IBTimes UK that he thinks so.

"The Liberal Democrats will beat us nationwide but their complete decline makes it pretty clear that there is going to be a new force on the left of British politics and that's quite exciting," he said.

But on the BBC exit poll, which predicted the Greens to win two seats at the election, the spokesman was more reserved.

"I'm feeling very confident about Brighton Pavilion and I'm not really able to say on the other ones. We think it's very close in Bristol West and Norwich South, we may have overestimated in Norwich South."

Nuneaton stays blue. And a 3% swing from Labour to Conservatives, despite it being Miliband's 38th target seat. A bad result for Labour.

Who will take over from Farage if he loses South Thanet and stands down as Ukip leader? Here's what William Hill have the odds at.

But Douglas Carswell is a pro-immigration free market libertarian -- somewhat at odds with much of Ukip's ex-Old Labour support base. How could he square that circle?

Still not looking good for Nigel Farage, but we shall see.

This looks like it might be a terrible night for the Liberal Democrats. Orlando Crowcroft explains:

The Liberal Democrats have taken a beating in the first few seats to declare, down 14% in two Sunderland seats and a staggering 24% in Newcastle. One aspect to the story is of course the success of Ukip in the north east, but the second is the huge toll that five years of coalition has had on the party. At the latest count in Tooting the Lib Dems dropped 11 percentage points since 2010, beaten by the Green Party by 100 votes. Nick Clegg's own seat in Sheffield Hallam is believed to be a threat, with a concerted Labour effort to unseat the deputy prime minister, but Clegg is popular in Sheffield and Labour would need an 18% swing to get rid of him. But he will have some explaining to do if his party continues to suffer as the night goes on, candidates have already failed to secure even the 5% that guarantees a return of deposits in at least four seats.

Is Vince Cable in trouble? The Tories in his constituency think so. Would be a hammer-blow to the Lib Dems. Cable an influential and powerful figure within the party.

Ian Silvera is down in Brixton for the Lambeth count:

Jonathan Price, vice-chair of Dulwich and West Norwood Liberal Democrats:

"I'm always guided by the bookmakers. Last time I looked at Paddy Power they were saying 26 seats, I think that's more the sort of area."

Another coalition?

"Well, I think we've done a very good job in coalition and in restraining the Tories from the excesses. I like to think that we could do the same again - whether its with the Conservatives or with Labour. Speaking personally, I'm quite happy about the prospect of another coalition."

Nigel Farage is angry. Find out why.

Orlando Crowcroft has been working his way around the broadcast media coverage so far:

With all the major channels battling it out with blanket coverage of the election, viewers staying up until the bitter end are spoiled for choice. BBC and Sky News have wheeled out their political veterans David Dimbleby and Adam Boulton respectively and Channel Four is touting its 'alternative broadcast' featuring Jeremy Paxman and David Mitchell. Notwithstanding Nick Robinson rapidly losing his voice, the BBC is definitely leading the charge, with a resplendent Dimbleby – flanked by Laura Kuenssberg - hammering everyone from Natalie Bennett to Theresa May and already earning himself a rebuke from Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who accused the broadcasting veteran of trying to announce the election result. Channel Four's broadcast, on the other hand, is comparatively weak in its attempt to bring a Have I Got News for You-esque panel show approach to election night, and has been attracting some criticism on Twitter. Mitchell is unconvincing as a host and Paxman as yet lacking a roster of high-profile politicians to decimate.

Bradford West -- where George Galloway is standing for the Respect party -- has gone to a recount. Must be close between him and Naz Shah, his Labour rival.

Orlando Crowcroft:

The BBC is reporting that there is a recount in Bradford, where George Galloway is defending his Respect Party seat.

It could indicate that the result is close, but equally could have been requested for a minor candidate that may have come in at lower than 5% and wants to save their deposit

Galloway, expelled by the Labour party in 2003, won the seat in 2012 in a by-election with a majority of over 10,000. The result in Bradford is expected at 5am.

From our reporter Shane Croucher:

Theresa May, the Conservative home secretary, is doing her best to deflect BBC presenter David Dimbelby's questions about her leadership ambitions. She insists she's only focused on forming a new government and supporting her current boss David Cameron. There's an interesting line here. Senior Tories like May and Boris Johnson lust after the Tory leadership and must have been thinking that they'd make their move if Cameron does badly tonight. But the exit poll has underpinned Cameron's leadership and looks like it will set back the ambitions of his underlings -- much to their private dismay, I'm sure.

Here we have some reaction from Ed Balls, Labour's shadow chancellor who, if rumours are to be believed, may lose his seat this evening...

Balls also tries to play down the exit poll.

Bad news ahoy for Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy? Losing his seat to the SNP has been on the cards. Would be a big blow to Ed Miliband.

South Thanet staying blue?

We've heard it from Harriet Harman, Ed Balls and now Lucy Powell. Expect to hear it again tonight. Labour is clinging to hopes that the exit poll has got it badly wrong -- and pushing the line that the real story here is a collapse in the coalition's majority.

Over to our executive editor Orlando Crowcroft, who just listened in to an interview with Ukip's Clacton candidate (and Tory defector) Douglas Carswell:

Ukip are well placed to become the second party in British politics by 2020, Douglas Carswell, the party's lone MP for Clacton, has told Sky News.

"Between now and 2020 we want to replace the Labour party as an alternative to the Conservatives," he said.

He said that Britain's "dysfunctional" political system meant that the votes of as many as 5.5 million people who had voted for either Ukip or the Green Party were being ignored.

Carswell also said he believed that Ukip leader Nigel Farage would win his bid for parliament in South Thanet.

"We are looking at getting between three and four million votes, that's an extraordinary leap forward for Ukip," he said.

He said the fact that that support would not translate into seats in parliament, "raised profound questions about the nature of our political system."

Our reporter Ian Silvera reflects on Boris Johnson's brief encounter with the media this evening.

The BBC doorstepped Boris Johnson as the Major of London stumbled and mumbled his way to the Uxbridge and Ruislip count, where he is standing. The former newspaper man was almost lost for words. The Tory grandee argued that if the exit poll became reality tomorrow morning, it would be a "clear victory" for the Conservatives. But when he was quizzed on how such a victory for David Cameron would affect his own leadership ambitions, Johnson only offered some mutterings. A shy Tory?

Farage speaks out, briefly, as he enters the count at South Thanet where he's standing for Ukip.

Bullish final poll from Lord Ashcroft for the Conservatives. Supports the exit poll.

The markets like the exit poll showing a solid Conservative win: sterling is rallying against the dollar. Our story here.

More rumours abound: George Galloway is out of Bradford West. The divisive far-left Respect party candidate was elected in 2010 and has been accused of inflaming local tensions by playing off different parts of the Muslim community. He has fought a bitter campaign against Labour candidate Naz Shah, who he wrongly accused of lying about being pushed into a forced marriage when she was 15. Now people are saying he hasn't done enough to be re-elected and will fall short in the count. We wait and see.

Natalie Bennett spoke to David Dimbleby earlier, who asked her if she planned to stay on as leader following the election. She replied that she had been elected nine months ago to serve a two year term and she planned to see it out.

If we have doubled our parliamentary representation and we are sending perhaps Darren Hall in Bristol West to join the brilliant Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion as a strong group of Green MPs in Parliament - then that will be a good result for the Green party.

We covered Bennett's role in the failure of the Green surge that saw the party polling 10% a few months ago and at less than 5% this week.

One witty Twitter user has set up an account dedicated to Liberal Democrat deposit losses as the party gets annihilated in the north east.

It has now lost deposits in three seats by failing to secure 5% of the vote.

A video report on the first seat to declare tonight, Sunderland South

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe has told ITV News that the firm's odds have been "devastated" by the exit polls.

"Our previously favourite option for the next government, a Labour minority with odds of 7/4, has suddenly become five times bigger with odds of 10/1 - and there is a brand new favourite," he said.

"All three options involve the Conservatives which now means David Cameron is now 10/1 likely to become prime minister, so his odds have absolutely been annihilated. It's like buying money now to back him to be prime minister," he added.

The odds of Ed Miliband resigning before midnight tomorrow are now just 6/4.

Ed Balls is live on the BBC, lashing out at David Dimbleby for spending too much time on Twitter when challenged over rumours that he has lost his seat.

He said that the exit poll was a surprise and didn't fit with other polls in the run up to the election, which had Conservatives and Labour neck-and-neck.

"Even if it is right, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition majority has gone from 72 to zero and David Cameron's ability to hang on in Downing Street is on a knife edge," he said.

Another result from Sunderland and another comfortable win for Labour.

Sharon Hodgson has won Sunderland West with 20,478. Ukip have again come second with 7,321 to the Consevatives 7,033,

The Liberal Democrats have again dropped 14% and will lose another deposit.

With all the attention on the north east and the two Labour wins, it is easy to forget Scotland and the SNP's expected surge at the expense of Labour.

Graeme Mackay explained what is behind the surge over the past could of years in an article for IBTimes UK earlier this week.

Also don't forget that our colleagues are covering events north of the border on a sister live blog tonight, you can see that here.

Sunderland Central has now announced, Labour have held with Julie Elliot winning 20,959 votes.

The Conservatives are second on 9780, Ukip on 7.997 and the Liberal Democrats on 1,105.

Liberal Democrats have lost their second deposit of the day, dropping 14% since the last election.

Our colleague Shane Croucher on the rumours that Labour's Ed Balls could lose his seat in Yorkshire.

Big rumours early on this evening: Ed Balls will lose his seat. Twitter is glowing with despairing Labourites and gleeful Tories at the prospect that a Conservative candidate may have dethroned the shadow chancellor, someone David Cameron calls the most annoying man in politics.

He is well known for his bolshie style in the House of Commons, bellowing and gesturing at his opponents, staring them down with a psychopath glare as he tries to put them off while they speak.

Balls's seat is Morley and Outwood in West Yorkshire. He has a majority of just over 1,000, which is hardly insurmountable. But it would still be a big shock of Balls is scalped by his Conservative rival Andrea Jenkyns. And it will make a lot of Tories very, very happy indeed.

Lots of discussion about Paddy Ashdown's hat, after the Liberal Democrat veteran told Andrew Neil that he would "eat his hat" if the exit polls that suggest a massive Conservative lead turn out to be true.

Paddy Ashdown's hat even has its own Twitter profile, although its output has been a little too profane for a link here. It already has almost 3,000 Twitter followers.

More from our colleague Ian Silvera from Lambeth, this time on the first seat to be declared, Sunderland South

Another shock, this election is experiencing turbulence. Labour may have Houghton and Sunderland South but Ukip stormed into second place with more than 1,000 votes than the Tories. In fact, purple candidate Richard Elvin saw his share of the vote surge by a massive 18.8% on 2010. The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, have lost their first deposit of the night after only securing 791 votes, down from 5,292 in the last election. If the main narrative of the night is the Conservatives winning the most seats, could the second story be that Nigel Farage's party become the main opposition to Labour in the north of England?

Google trends suggest that not everyone out there is clear on what exactly an exit poll is...

It has been noted that despite being a safe Labour seat, Ukip came in second place with 22% of the vote in Houghton and Sunderland South, beating the Conservatives by over 1,000 votes.

The Liberal Democrats have fallen to 791, down 12% since the last election.

YouGov has spoken out on its 'exit poll', stressing that it is not actually an exit poll but a re-contact with voters that they had already canvased

Our colleague Shane Croucher has more on what the exit poll suggests for Ukip.

That shocking exit poll for the broadcasters only put Ukip on 2 MPs. Presumably those two will be the Conservative defectors who won two recent by-elections, Mark Reckless in Rochester and Strood and Douglas Carswell in Clacton, and are expected to hold on again.

Goodbye then, Nigel Farage. The Ukip leader has said he would stand down within ten minutes if he doesn't win the South Thanet seat he is contesting and, past polling suggests, he has a good chance of winning. But the exit poll suggests the opposite.

All is lost, suggest the Labour-leading Daily Mirror in the front page of its first edition...

All eyes on Sunderland South now - traditionally the first constituency to declare - where it looks like Labour's Bridget Phillipson has got 60% of the vote

This from our colleague Ian Silvera on the result, as he waits for the count in Lambeth.

The media and pollsters have been hit from left field after the exit poll predicted that the Tories will win the most seats at the election by quite some margin - 316 to Labour's 239.

The research, if right, also means that Ed Miliband's party could be wiped-out north of the border, leaving Labour and the Union in a state of almost disrepair as the SNP and Alex Salmond charge into Westminster.

The survey could be bad news for the Liberal Democrats as well, who are set to win just 10 seats. But, crucially, that would be enough to form a coalition government with the Tories.

Elsewhere, Ukip will be slightly disappointed. The party recently admitted that it was only targeting 10 seats after winning the European parliamentary elections in the UK last year and scoring as high as 18% in the opinion polls.

Douglas Carswell is odds on to win back Clacton but will the second seat, as is predicted, come from Nigel Farage in South Thanet?

Finally, a mention for the pollsters. The gurus had Labour and the Conservatives level-pegging, did they all have an off day? We'll find out in the morning when the actual results are in. Remember, this is an exit poll and not the real deal.

Meanwhile, Labour activists are expecting the worst...

Liberal Democrat veteran Paddy Ashdown has just said he would "eat his hat" live on the BBC if the exit polls that predict a large Conservative win are correct.

Curious exit poll from YouGov has completely different result, with Conservative gains far less...

And this from the Press Association...

A staggering result.

Both the Liberal Democrats and Labour will be seriously worried, both having performed far worse than expected.

The polls mean that the Conservatives could form a majority of 326 governing with the Lib Dems - they actually only need 323.

The SNP have gained more than 50 seats, wiping out Labour north of the border.

BBC exit poll has a shock result for the Conservatives, putting David Cameron's party as the largest. Labour have lost all but one of their seats in Scotland.

Conservatives: 316

Labour: 239

SNP: 58

Liberal Democrats: 10

Ukip: 2

That's it. The polls across the country are now closed and exit polls are expected imminently...

Reports of long queues outside polling stations as the witching hour aproaches.

Rules state that as long as you are in the queue by 10 pm, you will be allowed to vote.

Our colleague Ian Silvera is in Brixton, where counters are getting ready for the polls to close in just over 10 minutes.

A few words on the exit polls with 20 minutes to go.

The poll is commissioned by broadcasters BBC, ITN and Sky and relies on a survey of 20,000 British voters, conducted by 140 researchers at 140 UK polling stations.

Those results are then collated by a team of pollsters who use them to predict the overall election result.

With a margin of error of up to 4%, plenty are sceptical about the results, but The Independent noted that in 2010 the exit polls were almost spot on.

A slightly haggard-looking Nick Clegg speaks to British voters in a last ditch broadcast from the Liberal Democrats.

Clegg's own Sheffield Hallam seat will be declared at 4.30 am and we'll see whether Labour's attempt to unseat the Lib Dem leader have been successful.

Less than 40 minutes left to vote with exit polls coming in at 10 pm and giving some indication of how the parties have fared. Check out IBTimes UK's moments to watch out for.

It is worth bearing in mind, of course, that polls typically have a margin of error of between 3% and 4%, meaning that the real result could be very different from what is suggested in 40 minutes time.

In Scotland, police have warned polling stations across the country of "threatening behaviour" from radical nationalists they fear could enforce all votes are properly counted.

After claims of vote rigging at last September's independence referendum, Yes voters from last year want the electorate to take photos of their ballot paper to prove it was not tampered with.

Newsweek reported Police Scotland urged officers to be on the lookout for any signs that could lead to disruptive behaviour, including snaking queues outside polling stations.

It follows two arrests in Glasgow on Monday when Scottish Labour leader and party supporter Eddie Izzard were shouted down at an event.

Thomas Piketty
Thomas Piketty believes Labour would fight to keep Britain in the EU Getty

Labour's economic policies are better for Britain than the Conservatives', according to award-winning economist Thomas Piketty.

The author of best selling book Capital in the 21st Century told Newsweek Europe that Ed Miliband was better placed than David Cameron to "promote growth, equitable growth and more investment in education and public services and keep Britain in the EU."

Touted as one of the most influential economists of his generation, the Frenchman said inequality had risen in Britain under the Tories and that plans for a referndum on EU membership were "populist and very dangerous".


Long queues have reportedly been forming at polling stations across the country after voters finish work and head out to cast their vote.

At the 2010 election, turnout was just over 65% - have politicians done enough to mobilise more voters this time around?

Channel 4 economics editor Paul Mason shows Ed Miliband, or at least his supporters, does have a sense of humour:

With a number of political beasts either retiring or facing a challenge to keep their job, here is IBTimes UK's moments to look out for.

The ball will get rolling in Houghton & Sunderland South, where a winner is expected to be declared at 11pm, and finally St Ives should wrap things up at 1pm on Friday, by which point the political landscape will be clear.

Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson believes opposition party supporters were to blame for vandalising her mother's car.

She Tweeted a photo of the damage, suggesting it was caused as a result of the election campaign.

The East Dunbartonshire candidate faces a challenge to beat the SNP and regain her seat despite being one a Business and Equalities Minister in the coalition.

In February she told IBTimes UK that predictions of the Lib Dems' demise had been overstated while admitting she faced a challenge in winning her seat.

While there is a lull in news, here is recap on what has happened today:

  • Millions of voters have gone to the more than 50,000 polling stations to cast their vote in the general election
  • Party leaders appeared for their final photo op as they voted for themselves in their respective constituencies
  • Voters in Hackney were prohibited from voting after a computer hitch
  • Ukip's Darlington candidate David Hodgson's name was left off 89 ballot papers
  • Reports emerged of voter intimidation in South Thanet by Ukip supporters
  • Kent Police confirmed there had been four incidents across the constituency, where Ukip leader Nigel Farage is standing
  • London's Evening Standard backed the Liberal Democrats as prospective coalition partners for the Conservatives
  • The FTSE recovered from an afternoon blip to close election day down slightly at 6,886.95
  • In Scotland, Labour was confident it could win four seats in Glasgow
  • Two punters each laid £50,000 bets that Labour and the Conservatives would win the most seats
  • Police in East London were called to a polling station after a man encouraged Muslim voters to shun the ballot box with leaflets carrying a suspected Isis flag

George Galloway, candidate for Bradford West and one of Britain's rarest and most exotic species of cat has just been spotted casting his vote.

At a 2012 by-election, the former Labour MP won a landslide victory with 56% of the vote and is defending a 10,140 majority for Respect.

Police in east London have been called to a school after a man was seen handing out leaflets encouraging Muslims not to vote and to "reject democracy".

The man was seen telling Muslim residents casting their vote at Bigland Green Primary School in Shadwell, an area with a high population of Muslims, to shun the ballot box.

A Bethnal Green police officer said officers are attempting to translate the black flag at the top of the leaflet and could take action if it is proved to be that of terror group Isis.

The man was seen handing out leaflets professing that "legislation belongs to Allah only" and "Shariah is the way of life".

An eyewitness told IBTimes UK that four police officers attended the polling station and told the man to stop.

He responded it was his "right" to encourage Muslims not to vote before he was eventually persuaded to move further away.

Reject democracy Muslim leaflet
A man has been removed from outside a polling station after he was encouraging Muslims not to vote Elsa Buchanan

The FTSE 100 has closed at 6,897.69 - down 0.52%.

The index was dragged down by supermarket Morrisons, whose shares slid 6.55% to just under £1.77 after like-for-like sales contracted by 2.9% in the 13 weeks to 3 May.

A reflective comment from Duncan of Hothersall, of Labour Hame, who reminds everyone of the realities facing losing teams across the UK: "It's worth bearing in mind that when an MP loses their seat, all their staff also lose their jobs.

"It's a brutal, winner-takes-all system, and while we will all be cheering our respective teams this evening, it would be good to remember those for whom tonight will mean redundancy and a search for new employment."

More on the trouble in South Thanet. Candidate Nigel Farage has just confirmed on Twitter that one of Ukip's "higher profile" members had a plant pot thrown through their window in the early hours of the morning, news reported earlier by IBTimes UK

North of the border in Scotland, blogger James Kelly, author of SCOT goes POP!, reports that "Labour insiders" are claiming the party will hold onto four of the seven seats in Glasgow.

But, he says, "This has coincided with what looks to me like a concerted propaganda campaign on social media and in blog comments to convince us that Scottish Labour are doing better than expected."

When IBTimes UK visited Glasgow South last month the implications were that the SNP would depose Labour's Tom Harris.

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage has been accused of homophobia hours before his fate is sealed in South Thanet Daily Mail

Nigel Farage has found himself embroiled in a homophobia controversy hours before voting closes at the general election.

Footage obtained by the Daily Mail appears to show the Ukip leader refer to gay people as "fags" during his best man's speech at his brother's wedding in July 2001.

In the video Farage says: "The good news for us who are smokers is that we are far better off here than if we had been at Michael Barrymore's house.

"Because there they removed all the ashtrays on the basis that now they chuck all the fags in the pool."

It is a reference to the death of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, who was found dead in the entertainer's swimming pool.

Farage is fighting to take hold of South Thanet and was two points behind the Conservatives in the latest Lord Ashcroft poll.

Lola's Cupcakes in Canary Wharf got into the mood by baking these election cakes.

Either the owner is not a David Cameron fan, or bankers in the financial district had shown their support for the Conservatives with their wallets, because the store seemed to be out of Cameron cakes...

Election cupcakes
The general election cupcakes seemed to be missing a leader... IBTimesUK

And the first baby photo of the day goes to...NIGEL FARAGE! Who'd have thunk it?

Election bookmaker
One punter has put £50,000 on Labour winning the most seats at the election Getty

Two punters have wagered £50,000 each with bookmakers Ladbrokes that Labour and the Conservatives will win the most seats.

One London-based customer backed Labour at 4/1, the first heavyweight bet received on the Labour party.

Another punter matched the wager but alternatively on Conservatives to win the most votes at less profitable odds of 1/6.

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: "The first Labour big hitter has come out to play. That bet aside it is still one way traffic in the most seats market but now at least one large-staking customer seems to think Miliband and co will defy the odds."

Another £22,000 was placed on the Conservatives to win exactly 285 seats or more with odds at 5/6.

Meanwhile, both Miliband and David Cameron are 10/11 to be the next prime minister.

Evgeny Lebedev and Boris Johnson
Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev and Boris Johnson are buddies DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES

London's Evening Standard has backed the Liberal Democrats. Kind of.

The newspaper, whose Russian chairman and owner Evgeny Lebedev enjoys a close relationship with Boris Johnson, this week came out in support of the Conservatives but thinks the Lib Dems should be their coalition partners in the event of a hung parliament.

An editorial in today's edition said Londoners should not forget the party's "vital influence" on the coalition and the "compromises" they squeezed out of the Tories.

"Whatever the result, they can play a vital role in pulling politics back to the centre", it concludes.

More on the disturbances in South Thanet, where Ukip supporters have been accused of voter intimidation.

Kent Police have confirmed there incidents on four places across the constituency.

"Kent Police received reports of disturbances in Zion Place, Cliftonville and Prince Charles Road, Broadstairs on Thursday, 7 May," a spokesperson said.

"Initial enquiries have established no offences have taken place."

Despite a helicopter carrier making its way along the River Thames, suggestions the Navy is planning to stage a military coup are wide of the mark. It's probably unmanned, anyway...

General Election 2015
The election fires into life...almost Twitter

The FTSE dropped by 1.65% to 6,819.43 by midday today as investors await the outcome of the election. It has since recovered to 6,878.61.

Commenting on the possibility of a minority government, Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index, said there could be a "dramatic and aggressive" reaction from the City.

"The immediate focus of any minority government is to confirm a Queen's speech and pass its 2015 budget.

"A failure on either of these two fronts would leave the minority government in complete and utter limbo. And what's more, a minority government is weak and reliant upon seeding ground to win votes. It puts the power in minority parties on a vote by vote basis. This would hardly be the stuff of stable government."

"The reaction to a minority government in the GBP and UK government bond yields could be dramatic and aggressive."

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage casts his vote in South Thanet Getty

More on the alleged voter intimidation by Ukip supporters in South Thanet.

Party spokesperson Raheem Kassam says the claims are "utter b*******".

"I have visited nearly every polling station with Nigel this morning, in many of them we are the only party with tellers," he said.

"All of our tellers are either old ladies or old men. In St Mark's church in Ramsgate, we've got a blind guy and his dog. They tried this yesterday, it turned out the claimant was a Hope Not Hate activist.

"It's utter b******* and if you look at the evidence it's our guys who are being intimidated. We've had our people punched, stickers put on them, garages vandalised.

"It's the Labour Party playing their same old nasty politics. I've been to nearly all of them today and I can tell you with other confidence this is an outright lie."

Tension has reportedly spilled over in South Thanet, where Ukip leader Nigel Farage is standing, with Labour accusing supporters of the right wing party of voter intimidation.

A spokesperson for South Thanet Labour told IBTimes UK: "We basically had three or four polling stations where we had groups of Ukip people gathering outside and verbally abusing people, telling them who to vote.

"Of the four polling stations, at three of them were a handful of people, one of them was a larger group of around 10 people. I think it was telling people to vote Ukip.

"They've bussed people in from all over the country. People reporting via Twitter, Facebook and text that there was a big group hanging around at Broadstairs, around 10 people.

"Somebody else said in Ramsgate there's a big group of 20 or 30 Ukippers asking people whether they voted Ukip and calling them 'scum' and 'traitor' if not.

"One of our local councillors in the Beacon Road ward, Jenny Matterface, said that a man has been talking to people outside the polling booth, trying to influence them. I had a member of the public come to the office in Margate saying a Ukipper was trying to influence people there as well.

"Yesterday a Labour candidate was punched and we had other members, such as Marion Armstrong, was followed by a guy in a van with Ukip flags on, taking photographs of the Labour team. He followed them into a cul-de-sac, trying to intimidate them."

Kent Police has not yet responded to enquiries.

One man who won't be happy today is Ukip's Darlington candidate David Hodgson.

A printing error meant his name was missed off 89 ballot papers at one polling station in the borough before they were corrected.

A spokesperson for Darlington Borough Council said that voting in the general and local elections was continuing as normal.

"The name of one candidate, David Hodgson (Ukip) had been missed off ballot papers issued to one polling station in the borough.

"Approximately 89 ballot papers (0.1% of the total number of ballot papers printed) had been issued, but as soon as the issue was identified, corrected ballot papers were issued to the polling station concerned."

Election 2015

In every election since 1992, Sunderland has been the first to declare their winner, sometimes taking less than one hour to do so. IBTimes UK reporter Ewan Palmer has found out how they do it.

We've put together all of the data from last minute polls from the likes of YouGov, Survation and Ipsos MORI. The figures show that the Conservatives are just ahead, with a 0.1% lead. The pollsters conducted the fieldwork yesterday.

Poll of polls
Google drive/IBTimes UK

There's plenty of time to kill before we find out the result of today's vote. So why not check out this fantastic election gallery from award-winning photographer Chip Somodevilla, who is usually seen snapping politicians across the Atlantic. Guess who the fair haired Tory is below. Looks like they're missing a patch on top.

Boris Johnson
Getty/Chip Somodevilla

There have been media reports that some people are having trouble voting in Hackney, London this morning.

The council told IBTimes UK that officials are looking into 50 individual cases and have issued the following statement:

"Following media reports about electoral registration problems in Hackney, the council would like to assure residents that there is no widespread problem with electoral registration, and that there are only a handful of cases that we are aware of where voters who have tried to register have not been successful. Each of those cases is being investigated individually.

"We have also received reports of some residents not receiving poll cards. We have decided to do a hand delivery of additional poll cards this evening and tomorrow morning, but would like to remind residents that if they are registered they do not need a poll card to vote."

Scottish Labour supporter @dhothersall is down on the ground in Edinburgh East this morning.

He told IBTimes UK that it "feels like referendum day", rather than a normal general election. "Weather is dry and sunny so a pretty decent turnout should be anticipated," he added.

Labour's Sheila Gilmore won the seat in 2010 with a majority of more than 9,000. But the SNP surge could see the constituency go to Tommy Sheppard after today.

Ed Miliband

The leader of the so called "#milifandom", a group of social media users who fight against the "distorted media portrayal" of the Labour leader, has spoken.

Not much happening down at College Green opposite the Palace of Westminster. IBTimes UK reporter Lewis Dean was there early doors.

A simple guide. For a more detailed version check out this.

Nicola Sturgeon

We're also running a dedicated live blog on the election in Scotland. The SNP could hold the balance of power in Westminster after 7 May in the event of a hung parliament so it's a must follow.

Election 2015

How powerful is my vote? That is the question people will be considering as they go to the polls today. One person, one vote is a simple enough system. But how does it work out for you? Find out here.

Some of the party leaders have been snapped casting their vote this morning. It's going to be a long, long day for them all.

David Cameron (and 'Elmo')

David Cameron

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon
Lord Steel

Lord Steel, a former leader of the Liberal Democrats, is apparently privately urging his party to not form another coalition after the election. Instead, the Scot allegedly wants the yellow outfit to "recharge its batteries and values".

What used to be called Fleet Street, the notorious British press, have had their say on election. In the age of online media, how much influence do these newspapers wield? We've done a round-up of the front pages here and some analysis here.

The marginals
IBTimes UK

IBTimes UK visited six of the most marginal seats in the country in the run up to the election. These crunch constituencies are typically a good indicator of where the votes are going to go nationally. Keep an eye on them later today and tomorrow morning.