Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP) have all but wiped out Labour in Scotland in a crushing defeat for Ed Miliband at the general election, who looks set to resign with the Conservatives on course to win an ultra-slim majority in the House of Commons.

With just one seat in Scotland left to declare at the time of writing, the SNP had notched up 55 of the 59 on offer, up hugely from the 6 the party won in 2010. Labour held on to one seat, Edinburgh West, as did the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Labour's collapse in Scotland and what looks to be a disappointing performance in England has all but opened the door to 10 Downing Street for David Cameron, the Tory leader. Paradoxically, the SNP – a staunchly anti-austerity and anti-Conservative party – have bolstered Cameron.

The SNP knocked out some of the biggest names in British politics. Among them was the Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in Renfrewshire East by the SNP candidate Kirsten Oswald.

"Tonight Scotland has lost so many great MPs from all across the country and I would like to pay tribute to each and every one of them," Murphy said, adding that he wished his SNP opponent well in her parliamentary career and complimenting her campaign.

"The fight goes on and our cause continues," he added, saying he would continue to lead Scotland's Labour party and "our fightback starts tomorrow morning".

Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour\'s leader, at the count shortly before he lost his seat to the SNP.

Douglas Alexander, Labour's shadow foreign secretary, was unseated in Paisley and Renfrewshire South by his SNP rival Mhairi Black, a 20-year-old politics student from Glasgow and the youngest MP in over three centuries.

And the SNP also knocked out a number of top Lib Dems. Jo Swinson, who was a consumer minister in the coalition government, was beaten in East Dunbartonshire by the SNP candidate John Nicholson. Danny Alexander, one of the most senior members of the coalition government as the Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury, was ousted by the SNP's Drew Hendry.

But there was also an old face coming into parliament rather than leaving it. Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader, won his battle for Gordon and looks likely to take up the mantle of Sturgeon's chief in Westminster. Sturgeon did not stand for election.

"It is an extraordinary statement of intent from the people of Scotland. The Scottish lion has roared this morning across the country," Salmond said in his victory speech.

Alex Salmond SNP
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND MAY 08 : Gordon SNP candidate and Former First Minister Alex Salmond makes a speech as he is elected to parliament at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on May 08, 2015 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to vote for a new government in one of the most closely fought General Elections in recent history. With the result too close to call it is anticipated that there will be no overall clear majority winner and a coalition government will have to be formed once again. Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The SNP has been boosted by the independence referendum, which invigorated the Scottish political scene. Though it lost the referendum 55-45, on a staggeringly high turnout of 85%, it won a number of concessions from the Westminster parties on devolution. More powers are now on their way to Scotland, a promise reiterated by Cameron in his victory seat after increasing his majority in the Oxfordshire seat of Witney.

And the SNP has also been lifted by a general anti-Westminster sentiment across the country that has also seen a rise in support for other smaller parties, such as the Greens and Ukip.

"It has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the 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," Ed Miliband, Labour leader, said after retaining his Doncaster North seat.

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

Miliband is thought to be preparing to step down as leader of the party once the electoral disaster has fully unfolded. Polls had suggested it was an even fight between Labour and the Conservatives, but a surprise exit poll for the broadcasters showed the Tories well ahead, the SNP nearly-wiping out Labour in Scotland, and a catastrophe for the Liberal Democrats who may only win a single figure number of seats, down from 57 in 2010.