Here are the key events from the UK's 2010 general election.
IN A NUTSHELL
With all election results declared, it emerges Britain has its first hung parliament since 1974. The Conservatives are the largest party, but will fall short of the 326 seats needed to form a majority government. Labour loses more than 80 seats, and the Liberal Democrats fail to make gains. Tory leader David Cameron says he hopes to begin talks with the Liberal Democrats as quickly as possible, but Gordon Brown says he too would be willing to speak to any of the other party leaders. Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is among those to lose their seat. The Electoral Commission is to investigate after hundreds of people across the country are prevented from voting. Voter turnout was 65.1% - up 4% from 2005.
• Gordon Brown holds
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
with a majority of 23,000 - up almost 5,000 on 2005. Returning to Downing Street, he says he is willing
to hold discussions on the future shape of government
with any party leader, with economic stability the top priority.
• David Cameron comfortably holds
winning 58.8% of the vote on a 6.3% swing from the Lib Dems. He says it is clear that Labour has
lost its mandate
to govern, and plans to make a "big, open offer" to the Lib Dems about forming a strong, and stable government, but does not rule out a minority Tory administration. Former premier Sir John Major says offering the Lib Dems seats in Cabinet was
"price worth paying".
• Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg increases his majority in
but admits it has been
a "disappointing night"
for his party. He said the Conservatives have earned the right to try to form a government.
PUBLIC ANGER OVER VOTING PROBLEMS
• The Electoral Commission announces a
after hundreds of voters were turned away from polling stations and police called to deal with queues as the 2200 voting deadline passed. In Hackney, east London disgruntled voters stage a protest sit-in. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg
to people at a polling station in his Sheffield Hallam constituency, who did not get a chance to vote.
• Overseas Britons also complain they have been
denied the chance to vote.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Northern Ireland's first minister and leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson loses
seat to Alliance deputy leader Naomi Long. The result, at about 0100 BST, is the first major scalp of the night.
Green Party's Caroline Lucas wins
becoming the party's first Westminster MP.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith
heads a list of high profile Labour casualties, losing her
seat, defeated by the Conservatives' Karen Lumley, who secured a majority of 5,821 on a swing of 9.2%.
• Another former Labour Home Secretary
narrowly loses his seat in
to the Lib Dems.
Former Communities Minister Shahid Malik
loses his seat in
to the Conservatives.
• However, Education secretary Ed Balls
by just over 1,000 votes in his
Morley and Outwood
seat, despite a concerted campaign to oust him.
• A big victory for the Conservatives in
where Lib Dem Lembit Opik loses
Glyn Davies wins with a swing of more than 13%.
• Another high-profile Lib Dem casualty is former front bencher Evan Harris in
Oxford West and Abingdon.
• Richard Taylor, the
in Worcestershire, loses his seat to the Conservatives. He was elected in 2001 on the issue of saving Kidderminster Hospital services.
• Among notable gains for the Conservatives is
in south-west London, where
multi-millionaire Zac Goldsmith polled 4,091 more votes
than former Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer.
• The British National Party
increases its share of the vote
- but win no seats. Leader Nick Griffin
• Speaker John Bercow
fights off a challenge
from Nigel Farage, of the UK Independence Party, in
Gloria De Piero defends
the former seat of ex-Labour minister Geoff Hoon with a majority of just 192 votes, despite a 17.2% swing to the Lib Dems.
Louise Bagshawe takes
for the Conservatives from Health Minister Phil Hope, after a 3.4% swing from Labour to the Tories.
AROUND THE UK
• In Wales,
the Conservatives more than double their tally of MPs,
taking their representation at Westminster from three to eight. However, there is relief for Labour who hang onto several seats while Plaid and Lib Dems face disappointment.
• Labour regain the south Wales
after previously losing the seat to an independent after a big party argument.
• In Scotland, the Conservatives
fail to advance,
ending up with just one seat - David Mundell, who held
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.
Labour take 41 out of 59 seats.
• Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond hails the party's performance as
for their best result
for 30 years.
to declare is
Houghton and Sunderland South
at 2252 BST, making the city the first to declare in the last five general elections. Labour's Bridget Phillipson is elected with a majority of 10,990.
• Results are coming in from the 164
held in England on Thursday, at the same time as the general election.
• A 14-year-old boy is believed to have
filled in a ballot paper
Wyre and Preston North
• The new parliament will see
the highest number
of new MPs arriving at Westminster for decades - and they face a daunting challenge.
• Newly-elected Tory MP Nicola Blackwood
fulfils her promise to sing live on BBC Oxford radio,
after scraping a victory in the Oxford West and Abingdon seat.