Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 19:00 UK

The Full Story: Brown's reshuffle

Watch the whole of Gordon Brown's media conference

By Jon Kelly and Justin Parkinson

Headlines: Alan Johnson is home secretary. Alistair Darling still chancellor. Andy Burnham is health secretary. Ben Bradshaw is culture secretary. Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary John Hutton and Europe minister Caroline Flint quit. Projected general election vote share: Tories: 38%, Libs: 28%, Lab 23%

1841 What a day. It has taken in ministerial resignations, the news of an impending by-election, the transformation of Sir Alan into Lord Sugar and big Conservative gains in parts of the country where Tory canvassers would have feared to tread just a few years ago. But if Gordon Brown faces nightmarish election results and the possibility of revolt from his own back benches, he is, as he said himself, still prime minister. That ends our live text coverage. Please join us again on Sunday from 1930 BST for our live coverage of the European election results.

David Cameron
1830 Up in Lancashire - having hot-footed it from Devon - David Cameron is in bullish mood. "We are winning in every part of the country," he says. "We have won every council that we could possibly have won. People can see a strong, united, positive alternative."

Harriet Harman
1828 Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, tells BBC News: "We have got to listen to what these results are saying, but I think we already know that voters are worried about the economy and furious about expenses."

Nick Robinson
1821 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says: Gordon Brown is stronger than he was, but not by much. Ministers face a choice, as one told me, between a slow, lingering death if they keep him, and instant death if he goes.

Peter Hain
1820 Peter Hain, who is returning as Welsh secretary, is full of praise for his boss: "I think Gordon Brown is the towering figure in British politics - there's nobody who has his stature." Interestingly, outgoing minister Tom Watson used the word "towering" to describe Mr Brown earlier on.

Iain Watson
1815 BBC political correspondent Iain Watson says: Labour rebels who planned to send a round robin email calling for the prime minister to go say they were wrong-footed by the early reshuffle. But they are still prepared to press the "send" button.

Peter Hain
1810 First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan congratulates Peter Hain on his return as Welsh secretary. Mr Hain, he says, is an "outstanding public figure". But shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan calls the appointment "another sign of Labour looking to the past when what we need is a fresh start".

MikeSnos tweets:Caroline Flint really sticks the knife into Gordon Brown and accuses him of using her as "window dressing". Ouch! Read MikeSnos's Tweets

1803 The Spectator's political editor, Fraser Nelson, says that for Mr Brown to survive cabinet unrest, backbench plots, an economy in recession and abysmal election results, he must be a "Terminator prime minister. It seems like nothing can kill him."

David Cameron
1801 Tory leader David Cameron is in Lancashire, where his party has won control of the county council. He says he has seen "more calm and ordered riots" than Mr Brown's reshuffle. Really?

Glenys Kinnock
1756 UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage is not happy. He says: "This appointment of Glenys Kinnock as Minister for Europe is totally inappropriate. The political and financial loyalties of the Kinnock family are to the European Union and not to Britain."

Alan Johnson
1753 Alan Johnson, who has been promoted to home secretary and is tipped by many as a possible successor to Mr Brown, is playing it cool. He says: "I am flattered that people think highly of me. I want them to think highly of me as a home secretary in a Labour government serving under the prime minister."

1744 Ms Flint says Mr Brown has "strained every sinew" of her loyalty to the government. She says she is not prepared to attend cabinet "in a peripheral capacity" - meaning she wanted a promotion.

Spiceskull tweets: They really are dropping like flies and the council map is so blue... Read Spiceskull's Tweets

James Landale
1738 BBC chief political correspondent James Landale says: It's been a mini-reshuffle. Over half of the cabinet are in the same jobs. There are only six new entrants. It's not a substantial injection of new blood.

1737 The attack goes on. In her resignation letter, Ms Flint says Mr Brown leads a "two-tier government: your inner circle and the remainder of the cabinet".

Caroline Flint
1735 Ex-Europe Minister Caroline Flint hits out at the prime minister after resigning from the government, accusing Gordon Brown of treating her as "female window dressing".

1730 The press conference comes to an and. With the reshuffle complete, the BBC's Jon Sopel notes that tomorrow might be the anniversary of D-Day, but this has been the prime minister's longest day.

sassalynne tweets: I am in business and I don't see what Mandelson has done for me. Read sassalynne's Tweets

Dave from Alnwick says: How about Gordon Brown extending the scrappage scheme to himself and the government. Have Your Say

Lord Mandelson
1727 A bit more on Lord Mandelson's new mega-ministry. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will be a merger between his old old Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. Phew. Got that?

1723 "Nobody lays down conditions when they come into government," insists the prime minister.

1720 Glenys Kinnock will be elevated to the Lords.

Lord Mandelson
1719 Lord Mandelson has been given an "enhanced role", says Mr Brown, "as I believe is right given both his experience and his contribution".

Lee Dauphin from Wigan says: Gordon Brown seemed safe a week ago. Now he seems doomed, and this is very sad. The IMF recently praised him for policies that tackled the recession. Have Your Say

1717 Asked about Caroline Flint, the ally of Hazel Blears who has resigned from the government, Mr Brown replies: "Caroline was and has been a very good minister". He says he asked her if she would take on a "job attending the cabinet, but she didn't see it that way".

Glenys Kinnock
1716 Glenys Kinnock is a long-serving Euro MP, who has stood down from the job. This will mean the Kinnocks are a two-peerage family. Unless, of course, she wants to contest the Norwich North by-election after the seat is vacated by Labour's Ian Gibson. Highly unlikely.

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Simon, from West Midlands says: We need a general election to clear the air if nothing else. Do the right thing Mr Brown and go see the Queen. Have Your Say

1712 Mr Brown invokes his Presbyterian heritage. "I've always been brought up to believe that you have got to act with integrity at all times." He recalls the advice given to him by his father, a Church of Scotland minister: "Always be honest."

Caroline Flint
1711 Europe minister Caroline Flint - a close friend of Hazel Blears, who resigned so unexpectedly on Thursday, has also quit the government. She will be replaced by Glenys Kinnock - wife of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. Now THAT is a surprise.

JamboTheJourno tweets: I think Brown's acceptance of responsibility potentially gives him the opportunity to start afresh. Read JamboTheJourno's Tweets

1705 The prime minister says he "will not waiver and will not walk away". He adds: "I admit there have been full mistakes made and I accept responsibility."

Gordon Brown
1703 In response to a question from a reporter, Mr Brown denies he wanted to sack the Alistair Darling, who he insists is a "great chancellor".

Kaonix tweets: Gordon Brown looks tired, nervous and utterly unconvincing. Read Kaonix's Tweets

1700 Some further cabinet posts confirmed. Leader of the Lords is Baroness Royall. Tessa Jowell is minister for the Cabinet Office, keeping responsibility for the Olympics. Nick Brown remains chief whip. Oh, and as well as continuing as business secretary, Lord Mandelson is elevated to "First Secretary of State".

1657 Emotion audible in his voice, Mr Brown declares: "I believe in never walking away from people in difficult times." He continues: "Yes it was a difficult night, but we fight on for what we believe." He adds that "if I didn't think I was the right person leading the right team", he wouldn't carry on.

Ekibyogami tweets: Brown started off sounding like he was going to resign. Disappointed that he didn't continue on that tack. Read Ekibyogami's Tweets

Gordon Brown
1653 At his Downing Street press conference, the prime minister insists: "We need to create a decent, honest politics in this country." He promises a new independent regulator for MPs. He also says the government will examine the way the UK elects its MPs.

1651 UKIP has won a total of three seats in Staffordshire.

Lord Adonis
1650 Lord Adonis, who has served as an education and a transport minister, has been promoted to the cabinet as transport secretary. He replaces Geoff Hoon, who resigned from the government earlier today.

Tony McNulty
1645 Employment minister Tony McNulty - who has always insisted he did nothing wrong by claiming second-home expenses on a London house where his parents live - has resigned from the government.

Ian Gibson
1642 Ian Gibson says he has had "hundreds" of emails suggesting that he fights a by-election in his own constituency as an independent. But he says he will call for a Labour vote in his soon-to-be-ex-seat. "It will be strange," he admits, "but I'm prepared to make the argument that Labour has done well."

1636 It looks like Paul Murphy - the outgoing Welsh secretary, who is to be replaced by Peter Hain - is leaving the government altogether.

Chris Grayling
1635 Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling notes that Alan Johnson will be the fourth home secretary in four years: "It's no wonder there seems to be so little coherent strategy to deal with anti-social behaviour, knife crime and a general rise in violence."

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Jane Ellen Griffiths from Manchester says: Although a lifelong Tory, I actually believed that Brown was the one to lead us through the current financial crisis and was prepared to give him a chance sorting out the current expenses scandal. However his slow reaction, denial and lack of dominance in responding to the situation makes me seriously doubt his capabilities. Simply not good enough Gordon - you've let us down!

Have Your Say

1630 Labour MP Paul Flynn compares the party's situation to 1983, when it "had a greatly loved and respected leader in Michael Foot". Who then, of course, steered the party to a crushing defeat. Mr Flynn suggests that the time has come to depose the Gordon Brown, but "we should do it as gently as we possibly can".

Tom from Nottingham says: Can we get back to policy? It's a sad state when the government of the day is decided upon the likeability of the prime minister. Have Your Say

Ballot box
1625 Just when it all appeared to be going well for the Tories, Tim Stoddard - leader of the Conservatives on Cumbria Council - loses his seat to the Lib Dems by 14 votes.

1623 The Conservatives snatch Warwickshire from no overall control.

Harriet Harman
1622 Harriet Harman will stay in post as leader of the House of Commons, BBC political correspondent James Landale has learned.

1621 The Tories hold Worcestershire.

1620 Ex-minister Denis MacShane doesn't have much to say about Ian Gibson's resignation. "I think that's Ian's personal decision," he tells the BBC through gritted teeth. Mr MacShane suggests British politics currently looks as if flamboyant Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi were writing the script. "We're going to see some surreal results on Sunday, with some very fruity parties emerging," he predicts.

text message
Christoph from York texts: It seems to me a lot of the Tory back-slapping isn't deserved. They aren't doing well because they're attractive to voters or because of anything they've done. It's just that Labour have been so awful. 

1613 Ian Gibson explains why he is quitting and provoking a by-election: "I do feel angry that I've been singled out without knowing why."

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Barry from Falkirk says: I give it less than six months before we have a general election and Brown has to go. The resignations today and council results make his position untenable. Have Your Say

1611 North Yorkshire stays Conservative, too.

Ballot box
1610 Back to the local elections. The Conservatives hold Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

1609 The BBC's James Landale says Dr Gibson - who had been referred to a Labour disciplinary panel - felt he had been harshly treated by his party, as he always insisted he had not broken any rules.

1608 Mr Gibson is another casualty of the ongoing saga over MPs' expenses. He claimed for a flat which his daughter and her partner lived in rent-free - and then sold it to them for less than market value. It will be an interesting by-election in Norwich North.

1605 The Tories hold Surrey. It looks like Labour has been marginalised even further in the county - retaining just one of its two seats.

1603 Ian Gibson, the Labour MP for Norwich North, is to stand down with immediate effect, triggering a by-election, he tells the BBC.

1600 Andrew Lewer, the new Conservative leader of Derbyshire County Council, sticks the boot in. The result, he says, shows Labour is in "terminal decline".

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Stefan from Hereford asks:Is it cool to be a Tory again yet? Have Your Say

1558 Now it looks like Hilary Benn will be staying at environment. That's another minister staying put. Isn't a reshuffle meant to involve some shuffling?

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Garry Porter from Huddersfield says: At long last the country has woken up. New Labour is dead. Have Your Say

1555 A press conference by the prime minister is expected very soon.

1553 The BBC's John Hess says: The Conservatives are now just one seat away from taking control of Nottinghamshire. In some seats, the swing from Labour to the Tories has been as much as 15%.

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Joe from Ipswich says: In yesterday's local elections I voted for the only candidate who could actually be bothered to put a flyer through my door outlining their policies. Politicians and journalists often talk up the effects of so called "voter apathy" but what about candidate apathy? Have Your Say

1550 Margaret Beckett is no longer housing minister, the BBC understands.

1549 The Tories now run Lancashire for the first time since 1981.

Ben Bradshaw
1549 Ben Bradshaw will be promoted to the cabinet as culture secretary, the BBC has been told.

1547 Shaun Woodward - despite being widely tipped for promotion - will stay in post as Northern Ireland secretary, the BBC understands.

Nick Griffin
1546 BNP leader Nick Griffin is very happy about his party claiming two county council seats in Leicestershire and Lancashire. "We're very pleased with that because growing in British politics is about being on the ladder and we've already taken seats at the lowest levels of local government and county council is a level we hadn't got to," he says.

Ballot box
1543 More cheer for the Conservatives. They have held Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

1541 The Tories have now formally taken control of Derbyshire. It's a massive scalp for the party.

1540 The BBC's Arif Ansari in Preston says: The Conservatives are just one seat away from taking Lancashire County Council.

Liam Byrne
1539 Liam Byrne is the new chief secretary to the Treasury, moving from Cabinet Office minister, the BBC understands.

1536 After the surprise of Mr Hoon's resignation - of which we'll let you know more as soon as we hear it - we learn that Douglas Alexander, an ally of the prime minister, will remain as international development secretary.

Charlie in Wolverhampton texts: In 30 years not a single candidate has ever knocked my door campaigning for either local or national elections.

Geoff Hoon
1532 Another cabinet minister has gone . The BBC has learned that Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has resigned from the cabinet.

1531 Ex-minister Tom Watson has published his resignation letter. He is downright florid in his praise of Gordon Brown. "However spitefully your character is traduced and your triumphs degraded by Labour's enemies, they can never erase the towering achievements to your name," Mr Watson tells the prime minister.

Nick Robinson
1528 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says: I think the Tory party will be relieved that Gordon Brown seems secure. Alan Johnson would have been a more formidable electoral threat, they believe. But they know that their own result was not as good as it might have been.

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Adam Geraghty from Preston says: I'm very disappointed in all the major parties at the moment. The expenses, the political civil war. What has happened to doing what is best for Britain? Why are the Conservatives keeping their manifesto a secret. If they've got a plan I'd like to be able to know what it is before casting any kind of vote for it, local or national. Have Your Say

1525 Derek Davis, one of the few Labour county councillors now left in Staffordshire, admits the result in his area is a "complete wipeout". Where did it all go wrong? "I think there's been a lack of loyalty from some of the MPs. I think the press has got at us. I think the prime minister may well have got at us - it's all sort of things that's going wrong," he sighs. "We've got to straighten ourselves up."

1523 Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University says: One key figure that will bring particular comfort to the Conservatives is that their vote is up by six points in wards where they started off second to Labour, compared with five points across the country as a whole. In addition, the Labour vote is down by as much as 15 points in Labour/Conservative contests compared with 12 points on average across all our key wards. If these patterns were to be repeated in a general election - that is, if the swing from Labour to Conservative was above average in seats where the Conservatives were challenging Labour - the swing that the Conservatives would require for an overall majority would be somewhat reduced.

1520 More on that Doncaster mayoral result. It has been won by Peter Davies of the English Democrats - a significant breakthrough for the party, which campaigns for an English parliament.

Willmill82 tweets: Those people who say the Tories can't win seats in the north, where are you now? :-p Read willmill82's Tweets

1509 Poor results for Labour - is there any way back for the party? Justice Secretary Jack Straw thinks so. "I also very powerfully believe that the way we get through this is by being united. We happen to owe it to the millions who have supported the Labour party - but above all to the country - to get through this," he tells BBC Radio 4.

1508 Labour's failure to hold the Doncaster mayoralty means that the party is likely to end up without winning any of the councils or Mayoral contests which were up for election yesterday.

1458 Peter Hain is returning to the government as secretary of state for Wales, the BBC learns.

1456 Andy Burnham is the new health secretary, the BBC understands.

1455 The Conservatives have gained Warwickshire from no overall control.

magnifying glass
1454 The smaller parties had high hopes for these elections. How are they doing? With just over 300 key wards declared, the Greens are averaging 12% of the vote. Their vote is up five points on 2005 in those wards that they fought this year and last year. The UK Independence Party is averaging 14% of the vote and their vote is up nine points in wards that they also contested in 2005. However, their average share of the vote is the same as they achieved in 2004. The British National Party are averaging 11% in wards they've fought so far, which is down five points down on their figures for 2004. However, they have won two headline-grabbing seats in Leicestershire and Lancashire.

1453 The BBC's Jeremy Vine has been crunching the numbers. If these results were spread across the whole country, Labour would take 23%, the Conservatives 38%, the Liberals 28% and other parties 11%.

1450 The Conservative manifesto is "drafted and ready to go", Tory chairman Eric Pickles tells the BBC election special. But he won't reveal its contents. "It's above my pay grade," the normally deadpan Mr Pickles chuckles. What a tease.

1449 Labour has lost overall control of Derbyshire - a county it has ruled for 30 years. The Tories need another eight seats to take charge of the council.

1449 Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, accepts his party's share of the vote actually dropped in Bristol - even though it was their biggest win of the day. But Mr Huhne says it is simply a question of making the best of the electoral system. "If your rivals are falling faster than you, then you gain," he says bluntly.

text message
Brendan from the Isle of Wight texts:It doesn't help the politicians when they talk globally. The average bloke is just concerned with the local and national problems.

1448 The Tories have now officially taken control of Staffordshire County Council, snatching it away from Labour.

1446 Ed Miliband will remain climate change secretary, the BBC learns.

1446 Tony Lloyd, chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, does not believe backbench rebels will be able to collect the 70-plus signatures they need to trigger a leadership election. "Bluntly and brutally, I don't believe they can get anything like those numbers," he tells the BBC's election special programme currently running on BBC One and the BBC News Channel.

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Ollsbols from Horsham says:I am a member of the Conservative party. However I'm not keen on an election right now. We need a period of political stability to allow the parties to gather their thoughts, work out their policies and tell us about them so everyone can make up their mind who they are going to vote for. As it stands a vote now is a protest, based on emotion and press coverage which could throw out all sorts of odd results and is not right for the country. Have Your Say

Mrcakey tweets:If Nick Clegg can't make serious gains against background of the main parties defrauding us, what hope do we Lib Dems have? Read mrcakey's Tweets

1440 The BBC's Arif Ansari in Preston says: The Labour party has lost 16 seats so far on Lancashire County council - including their group leader - which means they will lose control of the council. In one seat in Skelmersdale, a Labour majority of 1,300 has been turned into a Conservative majority of 165.

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Bob Stevenson from Montrose says:The problem Brown has is that he always has to be pushed into action. He is a backroom boy not a leader. Other than his convoluted proposals as Chancellor none of which have actually delivered anything, what has he actually done? Hope his last finger nail breaks and we get an election.
Have Your Say

1421 Bob Ainsworth is the new defence secretary, the BBC understands.

1418 Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror says Lord Mandelson played a crucial role rallying support among ministers for Gordon Brown ahead of the reshuffle. "He is almost the PM's deputy now," Mr Maguire tells the BBC.

1415 With 265 key wards now declared, the change in the share of the vote for each party in the BBC's key wards now sees the Conservatives up four, Labour down 12 and the Lib Dems down two.

1412 Shadow Chancellor George Osborne says it is clear the Tories have done "spectacularly well" and even though minor parties may have eaten into their tally, it will not hinder the Conservatives at the general election, he believes. "Our vote share is going to go down but our lead over Labour will remain," he adds.

1410 The British National Party has won a council seat in Colville, Leicestershire - their first in the county. The BNP won 1,039 to the Conservatives' 953 and Labour's 840.

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Richard Lavill from Birmingham says:Labour and the Conservatives are just as bad as each other. My only hope is that the fringe parties will come to the fore now and show the old guard that there are real politicians out there, not just career politicians like Blair, Cameron, Blears and the like. Have Your Say

Bensholto tweets:BNP Burnley victory is a bad day for British politics. All MPs to blame for this, irrespective of party. Read bensholto's Tweets

1407 The UK Independence Party have pushed Labour into fourth place in the Eastleigh, Hampshire, the BBC's Peter Henley reports. Labour now have just one seat on Hampshire county council, down from four.

1404 Former Labour minister Mark Fisher tells the BBC Radio 4's World At One that in spite of his reshuffle, Gordon Brown should resign as soon as possible. "Now it is quite clear that there is no stability in Government whatsoever," he says. "The time is right for him to stand down". Mr Fisher said he would like to see a caretaker government - Alan Johnson "would do a very good job", he believes - and after "a period of stability" there should be a general election.

comment from blogger
1403 Labour deputy Harriet Harman - who has spent the week touring the studios to sing the prime minister's praises - denies that a leadership contest will take place. "I don't think there will be, but I don't think there should be," she tells the BBC.

Harriet Harman
1348 Labour chairman Harriet Harman, who has been criticised by former deputy prime minister John Prescott over the party's local elections campaign, tells the BBC it is "not a time to be blaming each other". There is a need for "steady nerves", she adds.

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Eve Clark from Immingham says: I was once a member of the Labour party. Sadly, no more. They have abandoned ordinary people and for a long time gave us no real choice between themselves and the Tories. Now all that has changed. The Conservatives spoke out and took action about the scandalous expenses claims. They seem concerned about what is happening and have a will to change things. Have Your Say

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Andrew Russell from Greenwich says:I would be happy to see the Conservatives get back into power with the Liberals gaining more seats in the House of Commons. When a government is in power for more than 8 years corruption and lethargy sets in. Let them all go and rest and let some young stars have an opportunity. Have Your Say

Ballot box
1338 The Conservatives have gained Devon County Council from the Liberal Democrats. Meanwhile, from results known so far, the party has taken six more seats in Derbyshire. If Labour loses five seats it will lose overall control of the council.

1329 More on the elections. With five seats to declare on Somerset County Council the position is: Conservatives 30, Liberal Democrats 21, Labour two. The Tories have won.

William Hague
1323 Shadow foreign secretary William Hague says the Tories are dealing cautiously with the results so far from Thursday's council elections. He tells the BBC: "We never take the next election for granted. We're never ever confident about that whatever the results, but clearly we are doing very well here."

Alastair Campbell
1317 Tony Blair's former spokesman Alastair Campbell agrees with ex-deputy PM John Prescott's criticisms of Labour's local elections campaign. On his blog he writes: "JP's rage is that of a man who knows a thing or two about campaigning and who thinks the battle is still there to be won, but looks back at recent weeks and fears the fight for it wasn't there. The ministers being appointed now have been given a last chance to prove him wrong."

Lord Mandelson
1311 Business Secretary Lord Mandelson pops up in Downing Street to defend Mr Brown's changes. Some "good people" have left but some more will come in. He tells the BBC News Channel that Sir Alan Sugar is "one heck of a man".

Sir Alan Sugar
1307 On the subject of Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar's appointment as an enterprise "tsar", David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, says: "It will be interesting to see how the 'you're fired' mentality goes down in government and the civil service in particular."

1301 There is no indication yet as to who will become health secretary and defence secretary. A few names are being floated about. Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward is being mentioned in relation to the defence brief and Europe Minister Caroline Flint in relation to the health brief. But this is just Westminster speculation at present.

Gordon Brown
1256 Time to catch some breath. For those of you just joining us, it's been quite a morning at Westminster - yet again. Following the shock resignation of Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell last night, ministers have been lining up to support the prime minister. The BBC's David Dimbleby says to shadow foreign secretary William Hague that "Houdini's done it again". Is there a growing feeling that Mr Brown is looking a little safer than might have been expected overnight? Mr Hague disagrees, describing him as "weakened".

Nick Clegg
1250 Discussing early council election results and counts which are still going on, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says his party is having a disappointing time in parts of south-west England but is doing "spectacularly" in some other areas.

Ed Balls
1247 The BBC has learned that Ed balls is to remain in his post as children schools and family secretary. A close ally of the prime minister, there had been rumours that he could become chancellor, but Alistair Darling is staying put.

Nick Robinson
1241 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says: Although there are some interesting shifts in the cabinet, the top names will look remarkably similar. The attention now moves to the backbenchers. But even if there is a leadership contest, Gordon Brown might fight it.

Ballot box
1233 And the first results from Cumbria are coming in - in Barrow-in-Furness Labour have held just three out of 11 seats. The Conservatives have gained five and held one, independents have taken two and the People's Party has taken one.

Liam Fox
1232 Outside the Houses of Parliament, shadow defence secretary Liam Fox contrasts the government's travails with Conservative gains in the English county council elections. "This is a dysfunctional prime minister reshuffling a dysfunctional cabinet today," he says. "We are making big gains from Cumbria to Devon."

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Tony from Hastings says: Please would those who think there should be a general election stop declaring that it is what all of us want, or the majority want. You know neither. And how the expenses scandal seems to be blamed on Gordon Brown is beyond me. It demonstrated that some MPs of all parties are either dishonest or too happy to play the system. Have Your Say

Yvette Cooper
1227 The reshuffle continues. Yvette Cooper is the new work and pensions secretary, the BBC understands.

1225 Brent East Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather - who snatched her seat from Labour in a 2003 by-election - says the governing party is finished. "The public have stopped listening to them," she says. "The public know there's nobody governing the country and we've got to have a general election."

1223 Labour MP and former Foreign Office minister Meg Munn says it's time for Gordon Brown to go. "He started off very well as prime minister. He's done a great job on the economy, but the other issues are not being put across well," Ms Munn says. "We're not seeing the sort of leadership which I think this country now needs".

1220 Speaking about MPs' expenses, the Crown Prosecution Service says that "unless evidence is available which shows individuals deliberately misled the [House of Commons] fees office, it is highly unlikely that there could be a successful prosecution".

James Landale
1215 Speculation that the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills will be merged with the Department of Children, Schools and Families is "wide of the mark," the BBC's James Landale has been told. The old Department for Education and Skills was split into two in 2007 when Gordon Brown became prime minister.

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John from Maidstone says: Yesterday I surprised myself by delivering a protest vote against the morally void current Parliament. I voted therefore for parties whose views I would not normally share. Had Gordon Brown offered us a general election now, I would not have experienced this sense of disenfranchisement. Have Your Say

James Landale
1209 BBC political correspondent James Landale says: The big question now is who gets health and who gets the Department for Work and Pensions - John Denham had been tipped for both. We've yet to see any echo of what James Purnell was saying. Everyone seems to be falling into line.

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Mohamed G. Asaria, Stanmore, Middlesex, says: In my opinion there has never been a clever, straightforward, intelligent and sincere prime minister like Gordon Brown. I have always voted Conservative but next time I will vote for Gordon Brown. I am sure he will be around in spite of corrupt enemies and glory-seekers digging his grave.

Have Your Say

John Denham
1205 John Denham is to be communities secretary - not health secretary, as the BBC was previously given to understand.

1203 Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh - who has been agitating for a leadership contest - says some of the ministers who back Gordon Brown publicly are telling a different story away from the cameras. She tells the BBC that "some of the cabinet who have expressed that view don't believe it in private". She urges: "People have to decide about making a stand."

Ballot box
1158 Labour says it has lost overall control of Staffordshire. The party had a majority of just one seat in the authority before Thursday. It has virtually been a clean sweep for the Tories in the county, although UKIP appears to have picked up a seat.

1152 Mr Hutton tells the BBC's Nick Robinson that his decision to leave the cabinet and stand down at the next general election is "no big deal". Mr Hutton insists that he has been discussing his decision with Gordon Brown "for some time". He adds: "I'm absolutely committed to supporting Gordon as prime minister and getting a Labour government elected."

John Hutton
1146 John Hutton, who has just resigned as defence secretary, will stand down as an MP at the next election, the BBC understands.

1143 Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell says all of the major parties should be worried about the emerging results of the county council elections - not just Labour. "I'm particularly concerned about the increase in the vote for the BNP," he says. "This is a concern to all the mainstream parties."

1141 Punters take note - William Hill have cut the odds that Gordon Brown will be out of Downing Street by the end of 13 June from 4/1 to 5/4. Alan Johnson has gone from 6/4 to even money favourite to take over.

1140 John Denham will be the new health secretary, the BBC understands.

1134 The Tories are doing well in Labour-controlled Staffordshire County Council. They've so far gained 11 seats, with 19 out of 21 results in so far.

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Spirit of Iona, Aberdeenshire says:As a former party member who didn't get a say in GB's election to leader, I have to say he only has himself to blame. He has never had the support of the Labour movement only the parliamentary party, who to be frank have been exposed in the expenses scandal. Have Your Say

e-mail sent in by reader
Another reader says:I have not voted Labour since we went to war with Iraq, but yesterday I voted Labour as a sign of support for Gordon Brown. I did this because he is refreshingly straightforward, modest and businesslike in his dealings. He has not had a single stroke of luck in his premiership, but nevertheless remains calm in his determination to steer the country through difficult times. Have Your Say

e-mail sent in by reader
Cestius says:I think we're seeing the mirror image of what happened to the Tories after Margaret Thatcher left - except that Gordon Brown isn't even up to the standard of John Major. Unless they find a new and dynamic leader soon, and get rid of some of the other liabilities in the Cabinet, I think they could face a decade or more in opposition. Have Your Say

Hazel Blears
1133 Gordon Brown is getting through this reshuffle. But he'll have to address the gender imbalance in his cabinet after Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears quit. Yvette Cooper is expected to rise up the ranks and we'll see what happens with Caroline Flint, who backed the prime minister last night.

1131 Yet another frontbencher standing down - but it's from the Tory benches this time. Paul Goodman says he will quit his Wycombe seat at the next election. Writing for his local paper, the shadow communities minister predicted MPs would become "cowed and toiling drudges" as a result of the expenses scandal, and claimed: "Parliamentary elections threaten to become Dutch auctions of self-abasement." He stresses this has nothing to do with his personal expenses, which the Daily Telegraph said were "modest" - although he paid a council tax bill late.

1129 Shadow Communities secretary Caroline Spelman insists it the Conservatives who are making advances in local government. She notes that the Tories have just snatched Somerset council from the Lib Dems and was mopping up the "rump of what Labour have in their own heartland". Ms Spelman adds: "People are choosing to vote Conservative."

e-mail sent in by reader
Matt from Lincoln says:How convenient for Gordon that we are all talking about an uneventful reshuffle instead of Labour's disastrous election results. Have Your Say

Richard Evans from Maidenhead, Berks says:Isn't it terrible - no matter who wins they are all as bad as each other! Can't we focus on getting people back into work and the cogs of industry turning rather than infighting?
Have Your Say

e-mail sent in by reader
Drew Turner from Bangor says:We do not need a election. What we do need is a united government who will get us out of this economic crises rather then infighting. Cameron is not helping by trying to keep attention on this rather then the economy. Have Your Say

Nick Clegg
1127 Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is in Bristol, where his party have taken control of the city council. He says his party - which also controls Liverpool, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield - is on the march in the UK's cities. Mr Clegg adds the victory is "a sign to come of an increasing switch from Labour to the Lib Dems".

Nick Robinson
BBC political editor Nick Robinson says: Johnson, Miliband and Hutton - each could have helped Mr Brown down. Each chose not to. Many Labour backbenchers who were ready to call for a change of leader will now be asking themselves: "If they're not willing to act to end this, why should I?" More at Nick Robinson's blog

Dreaming_aloud tweets:Ken is wrong. All MPs came off badly in the expenses scandal. Labour lost votes by creating unsustainable levels of debt. Read dreaming_aloud's Tweets

e-mail sent in by reader
David Price from Birmingham says:I'm no fan of Brown's. But how is it that the one thing that is clearly not his fault, is the one thing he is supposed to quit for? MP's are saying "It's outrageous, you let us fiddle our expenses,you should be sacked!" Have Your Say

e-mail sent in by reader
John from Llandudno says:I smell 1979 and 1997, the story always ends the same. Still they know they are going to be unemployed in a year, they are going to hang onto the last day they are allowed. Have Your Say

1110 David Miliband will be staying as foreign secretary, the BBC understands.

1108 It seems Sir Alan Sugar may receive a peerage as well as being named enterprise Tsar. Apprentice wanabees take note: it may not be "Suralan" for much longer.

James Landale
1108 BBC political correspondent James Landale says: Ex-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has been expressing his frustration about the shenanigans of the Labour leadership. His criticism is pretty stinging - but note it's not a direct criticism of Gordon Brown. Mr Prescott is carving out an interesting niche as a vocal voice of the Labour grass roots.

e-mail sent in by reader
B Davies says:Gordon doesn't want Sir Alan Sugar, he needs Paul Daniels the magician. He's good at pulling rabbits out of a hat & illusions. Have Your Say

Ascylto from Manchester Kingdom says:Sugar as Tsar? Let's have Ross Kemp as Defence Minister, George Clooney as Health Minister and Lady Penelope at Transport! Have Your Say

1106 The expenses row isn't just hurting Labour, it seems. In the Bromsgrove constituency of Julie Kirkbride, who has said she will stand down as an MP over revelations about her allowances, the Conservatives have lost Wythall ward to Wythall Residents Association. But in the ward of Halsdon And Woodbury, Exmouth, the Conservatives appear to have benefitted from the collapse of the Labour vote from 13% to 5%. If this were repeated across Devon, the Tories could take the council from the Lib Dems.

1055 The expenses row isn't just hurting Labour, it seems. In the Bromsgrove constituency of Julie Kirkbride, who has said she will stand down as an MP over revelations about her allowances, the Conservatives have lost Wythall ward to Wythall Residents Association. But in the ward of Halsdon And Woodbury, Exmouth, the Conservatives appear to have benefitted from the collapse of the Labour vote from 13% to 5%. If this were repeated across Devon, the Tories could take the council from the Lib Dems.

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David from Scotland texts:I can't believe the number of people writing/emailing/texting in to support G. Brown and Labour in general! Open your eyes! Time for a general election.
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Dickster from Shropshire texts:We were promised an end to the spin & celebrity politics when Brown took over as PM, so what do we get? Alan Sugar as 'enterprise Tsar' in a populist move based on his appearances on a glorified game show!

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Another reader texts:We don't need an election or change of PM. We need firstly politicians with integrity. This is our priority.

1048 Ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone is typically blunt about the local and European election results, laying the blame squarely on the expenses scandal. "Labour's had an absolute pasting," the north London newt-fancier drawls. "It's because ordinary Labour voters have discovered that people they respected have had their snouts in the trough."

Sres tweets: Alan Sugar Enterprise Tsar? What next, Simon Cowell as chief whip? Read sres's Tweets

NeilAdam tweets:Gordon Brown, you're fired Read NeilAdam's Tweets

Tsoceallaigh tweets: This is an absolute joke. It smacks of the desperate levels that Brown seems to be willing to go down to. Read Tsoceallaigh's Tweets

1046 Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell hopes that after the "turbulence of yesterday and today", the government will see that "the temperature will drop, the frenzy will drop". Well, weather forecasters have been predicting a cold snap. Political forecasters have been suggesting otherwise.

Sres tweets: Alan Sugar Enterprise Tsar? What next, Simon Cowell as chief whip? Read sres's Tweets

Nick Robinson
1044 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says: John Hutton was one of those ministers who could have helped bring the prime minister down. He has decided not to do so. There are people who have had real doubts about Gordon Brown, but simply do not agree with James Purnell that now is the time to change the leader of the Labour party.

1034 Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy - freshly confirmed in post - insists the newly-resigned John Hutton will not be a destabilising force after quitting as defence secretary. "John Hutton, if this news is confirmed, will be a loyal Labour member of parliament from the backbenches," Mr Murphy insists.

1022 BBC Radio 5 Live chief political correspondent John Pienaar: John Hutton, the defence secretary, will be leaving office. Mr Hutton had been a critic of the prime minister within the cabinet. But there will apparently be loyalty from Mr Hutton, and his departure will be described as a personal decision.

EmilyRG tweets:We don't even have a functional government anymore, we just have a mess. We need a general election! Now! Read EmilyRG's Tweets

Atlashill tweets: Brown's retaining Darling & Johnson accepting a new role shows that Labour has no backbone to push for much-needed reform. Read atlashill's Tweets

MUSICFANSMIC tweets:Johnston shouldn't be accepting such a big position in such an unhealthy government, he deserves to be the next leader Read MUSICFANSMIC's Tweets

1020 Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy is staying put, the BBC understands. So Alan Johnson is still the only minister so far to switch chairs.

1019 Time for a quick recap. Here's what we know so far: Alan Johnson is the new home secretary, Jack Straw is staying at justice and Lord Mandelson at business. David Miliband won't be resigning and Sir Alan Sugar will be the government's new enterprise tsar. Early results from the English county council elections show the Conservatives took the new unitary Central Bedfordshire council, where Labour didn't win a single seat. The Liberal Democrats have taken control of the city council in Bristol. Oh and John Prescott has launched a blistering blog attack on Harriet Harman over the election campaign (see entry at 1006 for more detail)

Sir Alan Sugar
1019 No wonder Sir Alan Sugar was singing Gordon Brown's praises earlier - the businessman - who was best known for his Amstrad computers but who is now better known as the key man in the BBC television series The Apprentice - has just been offered a job as "enterprise Tsar", the BBC understands.

e-mail sent in by reader
Fraser from Stirling says: This is not a re-shuffle merely patch repairs to a sinking ship. There is nothing fresh here only changes that had to be made after losing ministers in key roles. We need a general election to clean up politics and get a fresh perspective Have Your Say

e-mail sent in by reader
Tom Irwin from Wimborne, Dorset says:This is beginning to look a bit like a hatchet job - if Cameron and Clegg aren't careful there will be a u-turn and more people will start supporting Brown. Remember, the fickle British public loves an underdog Have Your Say

1011 BBC Radio 5 Live's chief political correspondent John Pienaar: Gordon Brown was keen to move Alistair Darling from the Treasury. Ed Balls was far more of his way of thinking. The prime minister offered new jobs to Darling, who didn't want them. So Darling stays put.

1006 Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott launches a stinging attack on his successor as Labour's number two, Harriet Harman, and other cabinet ministers who he says were "resigned to defeat" in the European Parliament and English county council elections. "The people responsible for this non-campaign - and make no mistake there was no campaign - were Harriet Harman, Caroline Flint, Douglas Alexander and yes, our former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears," Mr Prescott writes on the Labour Home website.

Grncurmudgeon tweets:Governments die when they become more interested in themselves than their people. This one is dead Read thatbobsy's Tweets

CliveM tweets: Time for this government to call the election. This farce cannot continue. Read thatbobsy's Tweets

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Rob from London texts:We don't need or want the same people from Labour. We need a whole new parliament.

Mark from Leeds  texts:Labour need time to give them any chance. Changing leader would require an earlier election. The rebels are turkeys voting for Xmas.

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Jonathan from Haslemere texts:I am reminded of the image of someone rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic in an effort to avoid disaster.

1001 Foreign Secretary David Miliband - a close friend of James Purnell - says he will not be following his erstwhile colleague out of the cabinet. "It's a big loss to the government," Mr Miliband says of Mr Purnell's departure. "However, I don't share his judgement. Today is a day for working, not resigning."

comment from blogger
0959 Lib Dem blogger Helen Duffett, of the Liberal Voice website, has a playful analogy for the recent spate of cabinet resignations. "It's like a game of Jenga," she chuckles. "Just pulling them out until the top topples."

0955 The chairman of James Purnell's Stalybridge Hyde Constituency Labour Party, Peter Robinson, is backing his local MP's decision to resign from cabinet. "We need a leader that is very pro-active. We need a strong leader," Mr Robinson says. "I'm backing James 100%." BBC

0948 The best scenario for the Conservatives, Times political columnist Daniel Finkelstein tells the BBC, would be if the Labour rebels threatening to overthrow Gordon Brown "wound him but fail to kill him". But wonders if Labour backbenchers will be "spooked" a second time by bad election results and renew their plotting.

e-mail sent in by reader
Austine Olukayode says:The media is clearly on an agenda against Gordon Brown, and the public sees that. The question is why? He his doing a fantastic job that neither the talkative Cameron nor Clegg can ever think of doing. The resigning ministers are going to be dropped in the cabinet reshuffle anyway. Labour needs to rally round the Prime Minister now! Have Your Say

e-mail sent in by reader
Okezie Ezeronye says:As Labour supporter, am deeply saddened Mr Purnell have resigned. When your house is leaking, you put it in order, not pack out. This is coming at a time the Government is trying to steady our economy. People like Mr Purnell are driving Labours' supporters and voters away. Have Your Say

Thatbobsy tweets: Brown won't call an election while the constitution doesn't require him too. He'll stick it 'til next May if he can. Read thatbobsy's Tweets

0941 Lord Mandelson is expected to stay on as business secretary, the BBC's James Landale understands.

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Aaron Dance from Wimbledon texts:Gordon Brown must promote new blood from back benchers who have waited for a chance to move up the ladder. Well done Gordon. Stick to your guns...

Another reader texts:If Purnell were truly interested in Labour winning, why try to damage the party? 

text message
Aaron Dance from Wimbledon:Gordon Brown must promote new blood from backbenchers who have waited for a chance to move up the ladder. Well done Gordon. Stick to your guns...

Lord Mandelson
0935 Lord Mandelson warns Labour what happens to politicians who engage in in-fighting. "We've just come through, as a party, three significant election victories," he tells reporters. "We won these not by turning in on ourselves."

Iain Watson
0931 BBC political correspondent Iain Watson says: One of the organisers of the round robin e-mail calling for the prime minister to go has said the early reshuffle has made their tactics "far more difficult" - they may delay until after council election results are known and "may not send the letter around at all".

0927 Senior Labour backbencher Barry Sheerman - who has called for Labour MPs to vote on whether Gordon Brown should stay on as leader - says a ballot would bring the party "back to life". He tells the BBC: "I came into the Labour Party as a party of fraternity and good fellowship... I don't feel it now."

e-mail sent in by reader
Gavin Love says:I think it is very difficult for either the Conservatives or the Labour parties to organise themselves until they set out a plan to clean up the expenses mess with a set date for completion. No one trusts any MP at present until they can demonstrate that they are neither crooked nor greedy. A cabinet re-shuffle is only moving MPs we don't trust anyway so it is a mute point. Clean up first! Have Your Say

0925 Treasury sources are confirming that Alistair Darling will stay as chancellor - as sources told Nick Robinson earlier.

0923 Rhondda Labour MP Chris Bryant is staying loyal. Knocking doors in his constituency last week, he insists, "a lot of people were saying they just want Gordon Brown to get on with the job". We'll find out on Sunday how this mood translated into votes for the European parliament.

James Landale
0920 From BBC political correspondent James Landale: It's a natural fit. Clearly the prime minister decided Alan Johnson was the man to smooth over the cracks within a department where they crop up intermittently.

e-mail sent in by reader
Chris Kennedy says:At last. After 12 months of hide and seek, a senior Cabinet Minister finally wakes up to reality and declares that Gordon Brown has had a disastrous effect on the Labour party and the country as well. The Labour MPs must ditch Brown and install an elected leader such as Jack Straw in his place. Have Your Say

e-mail sent in by reader
Nick Gledhill says: Gordon Brown must not quit. The three resigning cabinet members, who have quit, have shown the true credibility of most politicians. All should have stood behind him, showing unity and strength. Have Your Say

0916 Alan Johnson - widely tipped as a possible replacement for Gordon Brown - is the new home secretary, Downing Street confirms.

Nick Clegg
0911 Well, one politician says he isn't excited by the flurry of events - Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. "Whether Gordon Brown stays, whether Gordon Brown goes, whether someone replaces him, it's all irrelevant, because the Labour government has run out of road - it's finished," Mr Clegg says.

James Landale
0910 From BBC political correspondent James Landale: This is a reshuffle taking place in extraordinary circumstances. Downing Street had hoped to keep his reshuffle until Monday, but James Purnell's resignation forced the government to act now.
Eric Pickles
0902 Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles looks as cheerful as can be about his party's performance in yesterday's English local government elections. "It looks very black for Labour," he says. "This government is discredited. It has run out of its mandate."

0859 But Mr Brown has a big task ahead of him today. There are three jobs we know that need to be filled in the cabinet after James Purnell stood down as Work and Pensions Secretary, Hazel Blears stood down from communities and Jacqui Smith announced she was leaving the Home Office.

0857 You're hired! Gordon Brown may be on the ropes, with minister after minister resigning from his cabinet - but he still has the backing of The Apprentice's Sir Alan Sugar. "You couldn't have a better person in place, as far as I'm concerned," barks Sir Alan on the BBC News Channel. "From what I understand, he is resolute in his position."

David Cameron
0854 Outside his home, Conservative leader David Cameron tells reporters that the government has "completely forfeited the right to govern". He adds: "We really do deserve better than this, and I believe that all roads now, fairly, should lead to a general election."

0853 Jack Straw will be keeping his job as justice secretary, the BBC's James Landale understands.

Nick Robinson
0851 From BBC political editor Nick Robinson: I've been speaking to someone very close to Gordon Brown, who indicated that Alistair Darling will be keeping his job as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The likelihood is that Alan Johnson will be go to the home office, although I'm told that he would have preferred to have stayed at health.

James Landale
0847 And they're off. BBC political correspondent James Landale has been told that the reshuffle has begun. Cue a procession of ministers to Downing Street as the prime minister tries to regain the political initiative after a truly dreadful few weeks for him.

Gordon Brown
0845 Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of what looks like being a crucial day for Gordon Brown's future as prime minister. Days don't get much bigger than this at Westminster. Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell has quit, urging the prime minister to follow him; Labour fears it took a drubbing at yesterday's election; and the prime minister is trying and reassert his authority with a cabinet reshuffle. We'll be bringing you all the developments as they happen and the reaction and analysis from the BBC's correspondents and guests on the our television and radio output.

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MEP Seats

  Votes MEPs
Party % +/- % Total +/-
EPP 33.4 -1.4 264 -18
Socialists 23.2 -4.1 183 -26
Liberal 11.0 +1.6 84 +5
Green 7.4 +1.3 50 +9
Left 5.3 -0.6 34 -2
UEN 3.4 +1.6 28 +2
Ind/Dem 2.7 -1.8 21 -15
No Group 13.6 +3.4 72 +3.4
0 of 27 countries declared.

UK Total MEP Seats

Party Votes MEPs
% +/- % Total +/-
CON 27.7 1.0 *26 1
UKIP 16.5 0.3 13 1
LAB 15.7 -6.9 13 -5
LD 13.7 -1.2 11 1
GRN 8.6 2.4 2 0
BNP 6.2 1.3 2 2
SNP 2.1 0.7 2 0
PC 0.8 -0.1 1 0
OTH 8.5 2.4 0 0
SF 1 0
DUP 1 0
72 of 72 seats declared. Vote share figures exclude Northern Ireland as it has a separate electoral system to the rest of the UK
* Includes UCUNF MEP elected in Northern Ireland
BBC political editor Nick Robinson Nick Robinson
Follow the BBC Political Editor's assessment of developments
Harriet Harman on the big screen on the Breakfast set Harman defends 'dismal' result

David Cameron Cameron 'delighted' with results

Nick Clegg Clegg: Results 'a good platform'

Nick Griffin Jubilant BNP hails 'great victory'

Nigel Farage UKIP: A hell of an achievement


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