Election Night as it happened

  • Counting is continuing to take place in the UK general election and English local council elections.
  • The Electoral Commission says it will be undertaking a "thorough review" of what happened in constituencies where people were unable to vote. Hundreds of people were turned away.
  • Jacqui Smith, who had to stand down as home secretary over her expenses, has lost her Redditch seat to the Conservatives
  • The Greens have gained their first MP at Westminster - party leader Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion
  • Embed the BBC election night special programme on your own website
  • Live text reporter: Victoria King

0640Referring to the likely hung parliament, the Lib Dem leader says people should "take a little time" to get the sort of "good government" they deserve.

0639Mr Clegg says it's been a "disappointing night for the Lib Dems" after a campaign "full of optimism and hope".

0638 The Deputy Editor of the Wall Street Journal in Europe, Iain Martin, tweets: Can Clegg survive as LibDem leader? All those expectations he built up... and to actually go down in seats? Read Iain Martin's tweets
Twitter graphic

0638Mr Clegg says he shares the "bitter dismay" of his constituents who were unable to vote last night. It's "just not right", he adds.

0637Nick Clegg gains an increased majority of 15,284.

0635Nick Clegg keeps his Sheffield Hallam seat.

0631The newly elected Conservative Nicola Blackwood has sung live on radio to celebrate. She had promised BBC Oxford she would sing if she won - after fellow Tory MP Ed Vaizey revealed she's a trained opera singer. Ms Blackwood took the Oxford West and Abingdon seat from Lib Dem Evan Harris by 176 votes.

0628 Andrew Curphey writes: I've woken up to the worst possible result thanks to our electoral system. I fear that people did try to vote tactically or they bottled out from how they wanted to vote at the last minute. Now we have a mess.
Envelope graphic

0625Winning Labour candidate in Barking Margaret Hodge tells BNP to "get out and stay out" of the east London constituency, the BBC's Dominic Hurst reports. In her victory speech she says Labour has "smashed" the BNP's attempt to win there and calls it a victory over "fascist politics". The BNP came third and the Conservatives second.

0623There are fewer than 100 seats to declare now. Among them is Poplar and Limehouse, where Respect's George Galloway is attempting to repeat his 2005 feat of taking a safe Labour seat. But might he split the Labour vote and help the Conservatives?

0620Caroline Lucas, the UK's first Green MP, says people are sick of the "tired old political system". She says she will judge issues on a case-by-case basis, when asked how she would work with the main parties in Parliament. Ms Lucas took Brighton Pavilion from Labour a little while ago.

0620 Richard Shaw from New Zealand writes: As the only Westminster jurisdiction with significant experience of proportional representation, we could pass on a few lessons about governing under minority conditions. It's really not that scary: governments negotiate confidence and supply agreements, then get on with the business. Down here, at least, the sky hasn't yet fallen.
Envelope graphic

0619Labour's Jon Cruddas takes a 2,630 majority in Dagenham and Rainham, but with a swing to the Conservatives.

0617Labour's Jon Cruddas holds Dagenham and Rainham.

0615Nick Clegg isn't even an MP yet. The result in his Sheffield Hallam constituency hasn't been announced.

0613There are 104 seats still to declare, with the Conservatives currently 58 short of a Commons majority.

0611Gordon Brown hasn't got quite enough seats yet to try to form a government but, if a few results go his way, he might, says BBC political editor Nick Robinson.
Nick Robinson graphic

0606The BBC predicts that the eventual outcome in England will have the Conservatives on 299, Labour on 194, Lib Dem on 39 and others on 1. That gives David Cameron a clear overall majority in England, but would deny him a UK-wide majority by the outcome in Wales and Scotland.

0600Labour's Margaret Hodge has held Barking with 24,628 votes - a hugely increased majority. Among those she defeated was Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, who came third with 6,620.

0558The Greens' victory in Brighton Pavilion is the first achievement by a small party all night, says Prof Vernon Bogdanor, of Oxford University. There had been much talk of people - in a disgruntled post-expenses era - reacting against the three main parties and going for small names or independents instead, but that hasn't happened.

0556Zac Goldsmith, Conservative Party candidate, has won in Richmond Park gaining the seat from the Lib Dems. Cue whooping and cheering at the count from his supporters. The turnout was a whopping 77% and the swing from Lib Dems to the Tories was 7%. He converted from being a non-dom to a dom during the campaign, says the BBC's Nick Robinson.

0552The Green Party's Caroline Lucas wins Brighton Pavilion, becoming the party's first Westminster MP. She says the people of the constituency have made history. "Thank you so much for putting the politics of hope above the politics of fear."

0549"We always said this election was going to be a challenge because of the point we were starting from," says shadow home secretary Chris Graying.

0547There seems to have been a sharp difference in the swing from Labour to Conservative depending on the ethnic minority population of the constituency, says our analyst Prof John Curtice. On average, where the ethnic population is less than 2%, the swing from Labour to Conservative has on average been 5.1%. In contrast, where more than 25% belong to an ethnic minority, the average swing is just 1.7%.

0543"Labour has been negotiating on screen with the Lib Dems," writes Gary Gibbon, from Channel 4. "Lord Mandelson on the BBC the moment the polls closed, Alan Johnson even more blatantly and seeming to put himself in the frame as a passionate loather of the current voting system, so it would be surprising if there weren't private approaches being made to them behind the scenes too," he says.

0539The Tories have taken Reading West with one of the biggest, if not the biggest, swings we've seen all night - 12.1% from Labour.

0536The BBC's Jeremy Vine has his first formal prediction of the end result. He puts the Tories on 306, over that important threshold of 300, but still 20 short of an overall majority. He puts Labour on 262 and the Lib Dems on 55.

0534Danny Alexander, Nick Clegg's chief of staff, says his party has "fallen slightly short" of winning a number of seats, adding: "It's disappointing in some constituencies we just haven't had quite enough to get over the line." On the subject of any possible deals, he adds: "All along we've said we want the people to speak first and we want to hear them in full."

0531Labour have held Hammersmith, despite a ferocious challenge from the Conservatives who will be desperately disappointed, says Nick Robinson. Shaun Bailey, the Tories' black, working class candidate, was seen as the embodiment of the new Conservatives under David Cameron and his defeat will be a bitter blow.
Nick Robinson graphic

0528On current figures on seats declared so far, some two million more people have voted for the Conservatives than have voted for Labour.

0526Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome blog, says he "no longer believes a Tory majority is possible".

0524Peter Kellner, YouGov supremo, says at the moment it looks like we're heading for about 310 Tory seats. We're also heading for about 310 Labour and Lib Dem seats combined. With things that close, every seat lost by one party and gained by a rival is very significant.

0520Liberal Democrat Lord McNally tells BBC Radio 4 "the electorate have left the Lib Dems standing at the altar". He goes on to say: "A lot was promised and it's very difficult to say this wasn't a very bad night for us."

0517Ed Balls, fresh from his fairly narrow victory in Morley and Outwood, tells the BBC that Gordon Brown is waiting to see how things unfold. "I would say that we need to see the full result first and, as the prime minister, he will then consider the next step, as is his prerogative," he says. Asked if the Tories would have the moral right to govern if they won more than 300 seats, Mr Balls says: "That's not our constitutional system."

0516To sum up at 5am, our analyst Prof John Curtice says we're looking at a hung parliament in which the Conservatives are the largest party. But he says it remains unclear whether they will win enough seats to command power in the Commons just by doing a deal with Unionists in Northern Ireland - or whether more allies than that will have to be sought.

0515John Prescott says on Twitter: Good to see #BallsIn. No Portillo moment tonight, Tories. Move along now. Nothing to see!"
Twitter graphic

0513Defeated Lib Dem health spokesman Dr Evan Harris has reacted on Twitter to his loss: "Sorry that you guys have to share my disappointment. Thanks for the messages. I'm Ok and will come back from this and re-win."

0512Jaki Booth (@parboo) says on Twitter: Big swing from Jacqui Smith - should have done the right thing with expenses"
Twitter graphic

0512Hazel Blears, who stood down from the cabinet following the expenses scandal, holds her seat in Salford and Eccles.

0510Former home secretary Charles Clarke has spoken after his defeat: "I am very proud in what I have achieved. I respect the decision of the people of Norwich which they are absolutely entitled to make."

0509Sky News are suggesting that Esther Ranzten has lost her deposit in Luton South. She got 1,872 votes, but needed to get 5% of the total, around 2,100, to avoid having to kiss goodbye to her cash.

0503Lord Ashcroft, the man whose money funded much of the Conservatives' fight for marginal seats, is speaking to the BBC's Andrew Neil. He thinks the TV debates completely changed the playing field of the campaign. On his own tax status - he already admitted being a non-dom a few months ago - he says: "That's a good debate and I'm sure that will continue, but I think it's a bit academic now." He says any kind of negative publicity surrounding a party has an "adverse" effect for a while, but he doesn't think it made any real difference.

0500As night edges towards dawn, "every aspect of the antique British political system" seems to be "creaking under the strain", writes Jonathan Freedland, of the Guardian. "Perhaps the most dispiriting evidence of ancient machinery that couldn't cope came from those places where would-be voters were denied the right to cast a ballot, turned away or locked out of polling stations."

0456Former home secretary Charles Clarke narrowly loses his seat in Norwich South. A consistent critic of Gordon Brown and Ed Balls, he's fallen to a 4% swing from Labour to the Lib Dems.

0452Ed Balls has indeed held his seat. As David Dimbleby says, the Tories have been denied their "Portillo moment". After the result, Mr Balls acknowledges it was "quite close" and pays tribute to his Conservative opponent for fighting a "straight" and "decent" campaign.

0449We're hearing that Schools Secretary Ed Balls has held onto his seat, albeit with a reduced majority. We'll bring you confirmation as soon as possible.

0445Both of the previous parliament's Independents have lost their seats. Richard Taylor, who's been MP for Wyre Forest for the last two terms, and Dai Davies, who was the incumbent in Blaenau Gwent, have both gone. It looks like we might not have any Independents at all in the new House of Commons.

0445Local government minister Shahid Malik has lost his seat to the Conservatives in Dewsbury. Earlier, health minister Phil Hope and defence minister Bill Rammell both also said goodbye to theirs.

0444Esther Rantzen, who lost in Luton South says the past year spent in the seat has been the "most fascinating year of my life".

0442Ms Smith is speaking after her defeat. She says it's been "an immense honour" to have served and "I'm obviously sad that's come to an end tonight". She says it's important to take part in elections "when you fear you're going to lose, as well as when you think you're going to win".

0439The problem Jacqui Smith had was that she became synonymous with expenses abuse - remember those pornographic films - even before the Daily Telegraph got hold of that now infamous computer disk and set the whole scandalous ball rolling, says the BBC's Nick Robinson.
Nick Robinson graphic

0437Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has lost her Redditch seat. She looks extremely upset. That's a major loss for Labour.

0432Bookmakers William Hill and Betfair are now offering odds of 11/2 on no overall majority. Not sure how many people are placing bets at 4.30am, but maybe I'm wrong!

0429Esther Rantzen fails in her bid to become Luton South MP. She got 1,872 votes, but Labour won with more than 14,000. Oh well, that's life.

0427 Some thoughts from those who were staffing polling stations... Laura1961 writes: "I've been a poll clerk today. The rules are very clear, no ballot paper is to be given to any elector after the close of poll at 10pm." And Nick Baldev writes: "I am a presiding officer and would like to say that some of the blame for today's lines must be directed to the voters themselves."
Envelope graphic

0426Evan Harris, controversial and feisty Lib Dem MP, has lost his seat. The constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon has been taken by the Conservatives. After Lembit Opik's loss, that's another big blow for the Lib Dems.

0423I think we can safely say we've fallen a few short," says the SNP's Alex Salmond, with a wry smile. His party hasn't done as well as they'd hoped. But Mr Salmond says they have, however, substantially increased their majorities in the seats they already held, and did get their best overall number of votes for more than 30 years.

0419BBC reporter Colin Pemberton in Redditch is quoting party sources who say Jacqui Smith has lost.

0419Henry Macrory, head of press for the Conservative Party, has tweeted: "Jacqui Smith in trouble". He's talking about the former home secretary who's fighting Redditch, in Worcestershire.
Twitter graphic

0416David Monks from SOLACE - the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives - has defended returning officers' actions despite those polling station problems. "This 10 o'clock deadline is an absolute. We don't have discretion on it," he tells the BBC. He says the chaos was caused by "a late surge" of people going to the polling stations after 9pm.

0413BBC Newsnight's political editor Michael Crick is in the constituency Morley and Outwood where Schools Secretary Ed Balls is the incumbent. He says things are very close indeed - we're eagerly awaiting the outcome of that one. Mr Balls is one of Gordon Brown's closest allies.

0410Just past the half way mark - 330 seats declared, 319 to go. Those of you still awake, hang on in there with us. We're starting to look more firmly in hung parliament territory, says the BBC's Nick Robinson.

0407Former GMTV reporter Gloria De Piero has scraped home to become Labour MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire. She won by less than 200 votes after a recount and strong challenge from the Lib Dems. The seat used to be held by former defence secretary Geoff Hoon.

0404The Times highlights one of the night's firsts: "At a stroke, Britain now has its first two Asian female MPs."

0402Bloggers are poring over the results as they come in and The Staggers in the New Stateman wonder if the election might not be quite the game-changer for the Lib Dems that many thought it would be.

0400David Miliband is very clear that any Lib Dem call for Gordon Brown to step down as prime minister is not a condition the Labour Party should accept, the BBC's Bridget Kendall reports. In other words, she says, Mr Miliband does not seem to be putting forward himself as an alternative, nor as someone to be directly engaged in any Lib Dem talks. He says he intends to spend the weekend up here in his constituency with his family. Our correspondent also says she got a sense also that he suspects he may not be foreign secretary much longer.

0356Schools Secretary Ed Balls says: "The voters have spoken, but we have not quite heard what they have said yet."

0353With just four seats left to declare in Wales, this is the BBC's prediction of how the share of power is going to go. Labour on 26, down three. Conservatives on eight, up five. Lib Dems on three, down one. Plaid Cymru on three, unchanged. And finally, "others", zero, down one.

0351LibDem @DrEvan Harris has just tweeted from Oxford West: "I'm in a recount folks!"
Rory Cellan-Jones

0350Labour have held Rochdale - in spite of "Bigotgate". There was a theory, David Dimbleby says, that the women of Rochdale would rise up in Gillian Duffy's defence and punish Gordon Brown, but apparently the sisterhood were more forgiving than that.

0349"We are the government until such time as that changes," says Chancellor Alistair Darling. "What happens, and who forms the [next] government, will depend on what the House of Commons looks like," he adds.

0343There's no doubt at all that Nick Clegg will be hugely disappointed with the way things are going, says the BBC's Nick Robinson. Nevertheless, the Lib Dem leader may be about to determine - or at least have a big say in determining - the next government. Mr Clegg personally may well have a role in it. That's a lot of power for someone who's party is actually doing pretty badly.
Nick Robinson graphic

0340The Guardian's Paul Lewis, also on board Gordon Brown's plane to London, has a different take on the mood among his team. "They are by no means down," he says. "They've reminded us a few times that his 'strong, stabled and principled' speech was a nod toward an intention to do deals in the event of a hung parliament. No coincidence that he singled out electoral reform in that speech. Brown's team is also genuinely shocked as the failure of Lib Dems to pick up seats. They seem to think there is something to play for here."

0336Rolling Stone Bill Wyman says he really hopes the Tories win. Speaking on the BBC election boat, he says he grew up in a working class family, but "Labour did nothing for me".

0336Just to sum up a bit. Our analyst Prof John Curtice says that at this stage, it's looking like we've got a real cliffhanger on our hands. It seems unlikely the Tories will have enough support by just relying on the backing of nine or so democratic unionists in Northern Ireland. But equally, it isn't at all clear that Labour and the Lib Dems would have enough seats combined to be able to outvote everyone else either.

0331Just looking at Nick Clegg leaving his home to head to the count in his Sheffield constituency.

0329One of the problems facing the Tories is that the Lib Dem vote is holding up particularly well in the more marginal seats they're defending. Our analyst Prof John Curtice notes that in constituencies where the Lib Dems were first and Tories second in 2005, the Lib Dem vote is up on average up by five points.

0326The biggest question tonight is what is in David Cameron's mind about a coalition, says Nick Robinson. Personally, Mr Cameron is perfectly willing to pick up the phone to Nick Clegg, but whether he can persuade his party to agree to that is an entirely different matter. The issue of electoral reform - something Mr Clegg has demanded and the Tories, including Mr Cameron, have opposed, will be critical.
Nick Robinson graphic

0324Prof Vernon Bogdanor, our governance expert, also happens to be one of David Cameron's former university tutors. He says the younger Dave was one of the ablest students he's ever taught, but more importantly he has absolutely the right temperament for a politician - cool and calm under pressure.

0321 We've also been hearing about problems for voters overseas. holly_rad writes: "I wasn't able to vote because the Iceland volcano ash cloud completely messed things up" and Kevin writes: "We registered for a postal vote before we left the UK last autumn, but never received our ballots. We've heard similar stories from many others, as well as on some ex-pat blogs." Have you had problems voting from overseas?
Envelope graphic

0318Defeated candidate Lembit Opik tweets: It's a very sad day for democracy if being characterful means you can't be in parliament.
Twitter graphic

0316The BBC's John Simpson is on a plane with Gordon Brown, waiting to take off from Edinburgh airport bound for London. He says there's a strange and increasingly deflated mood among the Labour entourage. Mr Brown won't give up until the game gives him up, but hope is definitely fading, our correspondent adds.

0313In contrast to UKIP and the BNP, the Greens are only averaging about 1.5% of the vote. Their share is actually down by about 1.5% in seats where the party also ran in 2005. If Caroline Lucas is successful in Brighton Pavilion she could be a lone high point for the Greens.

0312The pound has fallen back a little, losing some earlier gains, reports the BBC's Hugh Pym. Government bonds have eased as well, but are still up since the opening of trading at 1am. Traders seem to have taken on board the uncertain picture as to whether a majority government will emerge.

0311A glum looking Alan Johnson has just left his count after being re-elected in Hull West, says the BBC's Tim Iredale. Asked if Labour still had a mandate to govern, the home secretary replied: "Yes, but we will see how the night progresses."

0307There was a great sense of uncertainty in what Mr Cameron said, thinks the BBC's Nick Robinson It's not clear what the Tory leader would try to do in the event that he doesn't secure a majority. But he's acutely aware how difficult it'll be for him to be prime minister anyway in these tough times, let alone if he's in a minority administration.
Nick Robinson graphic

0305"It's already clear that the Labour government has lost its mandate to govern this country," says Mr Cameron. It looks as if the Conservatives are on target to win more seats than they have for some 80 years, he says. "It's clear the country wants change and that change is going to require new leadership". He adds: "Whatever happens, we will do all we can to bring about that leadership."

0301David Cameron says an early task for a new government should be "to get to the bottom of" what has happened at polling stations across the UK and "make sure it never happens again".

0258David Cameron has held the constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire - rather comfortably - with 33,973 votes.

0257The UK Independence Party are winning an average of 3% of the vote, and in seats where they stood in 2005 as well, are on average up by 1%.

0254A Labour agent in Luton South is predicting they'll hold seat with a 5,000 majority, reports the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan. That's the constituency, you might remember, that's being contested by TV personality Esther Rantzen. We mustn't forget this is a Labour Party calculation and we've got no way of verifying it, but interesting stuff nonetheless.

0252Just getting news that there's a recount in Birmingham Edgbaston. The BBC's Nick Robinson says that if the Conservatives don't win there they'll be very disappointed.
Nick Robinson graphic

0251"I'm really quite disappointed that I lost," says defeated Lib Dem Lembit Opik. He admits he was "beaten fair and square" but tells the BBC: "It's a sad time for me."

0248Gordon Brown has been at a private party with Labour activists in his constituency. He's just left now and on the way out, was asked if he'd be calling Nick Clegg later this morning. The response? Mr Brown just smiled.

0246Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne holds Eastleigh with an increased majority, a swing to the Lib Dems from the Conservatives of 3%. The Lib Dems have also taken Eastbourne from the Conservatives - we'd thought that they hadn't managed to do that, but we stand corrected!

0241Despite Nick Griffin's pessimism over his chances in Barking, east London, our analyst Prof John Curtice says evidence is growing to suggest that the BNP are putting in their best ever performance in a British general election. Looking at the nine seats declared so far tonight in which the BNP also stood in 2005, it appears they're up by an average of two points.

0236Speaking on the BBC election boat, property guru Kirsty Allsopp says she thinks David Cameron will become prime minister, but doesn't want to work for him. There's been talk that she could be chosen as a celebrity peer in a Cameron administration, but she says there "quite enough people working in government already" without her joining them.

0234Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, tells Sky News that the defeat of the DUP's Peter Robinson is a "shock", but Sinn Fein's vote is "strong". Mr Adams says they won't change their policy about not taking their seats in Westminster, even if there's a hung parliament, adding that he wants more powers transferred to Stormont.

0233Basildon South has fallen to the Conservatives with a 7.5% swing, a seat that was symbolically important in 1992, when everyone thought the Tories would lose but they didn't. But the Tories have failed to take Bolton North East, something Nick Robinson thinks they'll be worried about.

0228Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, tells Sky News he thinks Labour's Margaret Hodge will hold the seat he's contesting in Barking, but he'll come second. Mr Griffin also says the BNP are "making progress", but it's "a long haul".

0227 Here's a summary of stories so far from people who have struggled or been unable to vote

0225A big victory for the Conservatives in Montgomeryshire - Lib Dem Lembit Opik has lost his seat. With a swing of more than 13%, Tory candidate Glyn Davies has won. The BBC's Nick Robinson says it's like an asteroid has hit Mr Opik - a result that's come from nowhere.

0223The police in Northern Ireland say the car left near a county centre in Londonderry did contain a viable explosive device. Around 500 people were moved out of the centre and the count was suspended while the car was examined by bomb disposal experts. They carried out a controlled explosion and the device was defused.

0221The whole Labour strategy of a coalition with the Lib Dems depended on the latter taking some seats from the Tories, but that hasn't happened, says YouGov's Peter Kellner. For example, in Eastbourne the Lib Dems only needed a 1% swing to take control, but they didn't get it - and that will upset both Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown.

0220A bit more on those bonds. The BBC's chief economics correspondent Hugh Pym says the price of government bonds - or gilts - has moved up strongly in trading in the City. Dealers seem to be anticipating a Conservative majority, he says.

0219The former Conservative candidate and Big Brother star Derek Laud says this is the first general election since 1987 where he hasn't played a significant part, according to the BBC's Tim Masters on the BBC boat. Mr Laud said: "I've been a bystander like 44 million other people. I suspect that David Cameron might just form a majority to govern without a coalition." And on Big Brother and the Labour Government he adds: "I think they have both their time. I shall be delighted when it's all over."

0216SNP leader Alex Salmond tweets: "We haven't made the breakthrough we were hoping for against the Labour party"

0215Earlier, we heard that some 600 people had been unable to vote in Chester, but we're now being told that's not quite the case. Figures are not clear, but the three main parties say some who registered on the last day got to the polling stations this morning to find their names weren't on the list. Officials phoned the town hall to check they were registered and they were allowed to vote. Some, who didn't have time to wait, went away and came back later.

0213Labour has taken back Glasgow East - a seat they lost to the SNP in a by-election following the row over the 10p tax rate. Prof John Curtice says Labour will take pleasure in the scale of the SNP's defeat.

0213The Lib Dem councillor for Birkdale in Southport has collapsed from exhaustion and been taken away from the count in an ambulance.

0203Bond markets have rather unusually opened in the middle of the night and the BBC's business editor Robert Peston explains why. He says the confidence of the markets depends on there being a credible plan to tackle the UK's deficit - and that depends on the government that's elected. As soon as there's an inkling of what that government might be, traders in the City want to start buying and selling government debt to hopefully get a bargain or turn a profit.
Robert Peston

0202Hackney Town Council has made a statement on those problems at polling stations. Returning officer Tim Shields said there was a high turnout and extra staff were deployed, but he added: "Legally, we cannot allow voting to continue after the 10pm deadline. We share residents' frustrations but we must work within the law."

0201 @thomaswright08 says on Twitter: "Astonishing news from East Belfast. NI First Minister Peter Robinson defeated by Alliance Party. Stunning result with major implications"
Twitter graphic

0200 A huge cheer went up in the press room here at Labour HQ from Labour staff when Sadiq Khan retained his seat, says the BBC's Jane Hill. The first audible reaction of the night.

0154Speaking after being re-elected, Gordon Brown said: "My duty to the country coming out of the election is to play my part in Britain having a strong and stable and principled government. Able to lead Britain into a sustained economic recovery and able to implement our commitments to far-reaching reform to our political system upon which there is a growing consensus in our country."

0152Prof John Curtice says the Battersea and Tooting results are interesting. The 6.5% swing in Battersea is a bit lower than in some other seats, but is high for a London seat with a non-trival ethnic minority population. That suggests a Tory majority is possible. But then in Tooting, Labour's hold. Although expected, makes it seem like that majority is still on a knife-edge.

0150The Lib Dems have failed to win their number one target seat of Guildford. The Tories have held on comfortably - their vote has gone up 9% with a 72% turnout.

0147Here's a significant win for the Tories, they've taken the London seat of Battersea with a swing of about 6%. Minutes later though, Labour hold nearby Tooting, with a majority of just under 3,000

0142 Rory Cellan-Jones tweets from the BBC studio: Students who say they were denied a vote by chaos at a Sheffield polling station have set up a Facebook group
Envelope graphic

0142The BBC's Nick Robinson says Gordon Brown's "eyes spoke of defeat" during his victory speech. David Dimbleby remarked that Mr Brown seemed to be "wrapping up his career as leader of the Labour Party".

0137In his victory speech, Mr Brown talks about there being "no greater privilege than to serve in parliament the people you have grown up with.

0135Gordon Brown is safely back as an MP after holding onto his Kircaldy seat with an increased majority of nearly 5,000 votes.

0133 Based on e-mails, tweets and Have Your Say replies to us so far, areas we know that have been affected by voting problems are Hackney in London, Withington in Manchester, Sheffield Central, Ranmoor in Sheffield, Weybridge in Surrey and Liverpool. If you've been affected, send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124
Envelope graphic

0132Counting has resumed in Londonderry following a security alert. Around 500 people were moved out of the count centre at Templemore Sports Complex after a hijacked car was abandoned in the car park. Army bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion.

0131Alastair Campbell, with a little less of the bombast we're used to from him, says: "We've lost a lot of seats, there's no doubt about that. And Kingswood was a bad result." The former Labour spin doctor says it's still too early to make firm calls, but adds: "Even I'm not going to tell you that Labour will form a majority government in the morning."

0130Prof John Curtice says Justine Greening's victory in Putney, south west London, is important. At 10 points, the swing from Labour to Conservative is greater than we expected in a London constituency with a non-trivial ethnic minority population. If this continues in other ethnic minority constituencies then the expectation is that the eventual Tory tally will begin to increase.

0124On the BBC election boat, Lib Dem supporter and kids TV legend Floella Benjamin says: "Young people are totally engaged for the first time. I hope the election won't disappoint them and make them think it wasn't worthwhile. I really hope we can get a clear outcome."

0122Prof. John Curtice says the Labour/Cooperative hold of the Scottish seat of Rutherglen is crucial. It shows a swing from Conservative to Labour, and suggests the Tories will fail to make much progress north of the border. The SNP, meanwhile, are only up by two points, suggesting the nationalists will also not make major gains. The Lib Dems are down six points in the constituency and confirms predictions that they will lose votes in Scotland.

0121Prof. Vernon Bogdanor, expert on governance at Oxford University, says the Lib Dem hold in Torbay, in Devon, is the first indication of a possible setback for the Tories. If they can't take seats from the Lib Dems in south-west England, they'll have to take even more from Labour in order to get that elusive majority.

0120The newspapers' front pages tell the story of the night so far. The Independent's main headline is: "Britain goes to the polls - but some can't vote". The Daily Mirror refers to Labour's hopes of staying in power being boosted by the prospect of a hung parliament and goes with the splash: "On a swing and a prayer". The Telegraph has: "Cameron on course for victory, says exit poll" and the Guardian opts for: "Brown digs in as Tories claim they have won the right to govern."

0116Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee tells Sky News that the problems at polling stations are "an absolute scandal", reminiscent of "all the countries we're always teaching democracy to" such as Afghanistan or Iraq.

0114A spokesman for Gordon Brown has dismissed speculation that they have a settled position on coalition talks, saying: 'It's too early to say."

0113Bruce Forsyth tells the BBC's Colin Paterson he's worried about a hung parliament. "A hung parliament would destroy us. We are in a very bad situation." Brucie didn't want to say who he voted for: "Look at the colour of my tie - it's neither red nor blue nor yellow. It's a sort of mauve!"

0112We're getting word that the crucial seat of Basildon South has fallen to the Conservatives - will bring you confirmation if and when we get it.

0107Kingswood in Gloucestershire is the Conservatives' first gain of the night. The winner, Chris Skiddmore, says the result is proof that British people "have voted for change". It's a swing of 9.4% - and the seat was only 135th on the target list. The BBC's Nick Robinson says they'll be delighted with this result and will be "cracking champagne at Conservative cental office".
Nick Robinson graphic

0104The Press Association is reporting that Downing Street sources say the prime minister will try to form a coalition government in the event of a hung parliament.

0101Pint supped, David Cameron has now arrived at the count in his Witney constituency, pregnant wife Samantha at his side.

0059Peter Robinson is speaking after his defeat in Belfast. He says people will "draw their own conclusions" about the result. He says he will continue to carry out his work in the assembly as first minister and it's vital for Northern Ireland that all concerned continue the work that's been started.

0057The BBC's Justin Rowlatt says the word is that Caroline Lucas has won in Brighton Pavilion. If that's true, she'll be the Green Party's first Westminster MP. We'll have to wait until about 2am to find out.

0054The defeat for Peter Robinson has real implications for power sharing in Northern Ireland, says the BBC's Nick Robinson. As first minister. Mr Robinson was crucial in getting powers devolved to the Stormont assembly and it does raise questions about the future. The defeat must have something to do with the scandal that surrounded him and his wife which caused him to step down temporarily as first minister in January.
Nick Robinson graphic

0049Peter Robinson, leader of the DUP, has been defeated in Belfast East. The first major scalp of the contest.

0049Gordon Brown is "very concerned" about the reports of people being turned away from polling stations and "would support a thorough investigation into them", according to his spokesman.

0047On the BBC election boat, singer and musician Imogen Heap says she's discussed the future of the creative arts with Nick Clegg: "I heard him talk about the creative arts as a big part of bringing us out of debt because music and art is one of our biggest exports."

0043BBC reporter Danny Carpenter in York says hundreds of postal ballots have gone missing in the city. The problems are being blamed on a printing error and a temporary closure at the local postal sorting office. In York Outer, the Lib Dems had a notional majority of just 203, meaning the missing votes could have a significant impact and pave the way for a losing party to challenge tonight's result in the courts.

0041Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, is talking about the problems at polling stations around the UK. She says the commission has said for some time that the "system is at breaking point" and "clearly the law will need to be reviewed and changed". She says individual returning officers in constituencies are "legally accountable" for running things and they will have to answer to the commission about how they handled the day. Ms Watson says that when it became clear earlier in the day that turnout was high, these officers should have been reacting to that and putting more resources in.

0036Just looking at shots of David and Samantha Cameron going into a pub in the Tory leader's constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire. They're heading to the count later, but he obviously fancies a pint first. He's said before that Guinness is his tipple of choice.

0034Liverpool City Council says that "due to an unprecedented and unexpected high turnout in the Wavertree constituency, a small number of polling stations ran out of ballot papers in the early evening". But the council says "additional ballot papers were delivered swiftly to these stations" and "every elector who wanted to vote had the opportunity to do so before polls closed at 10pm".

0031 Sam Shore writes: I can't believe that in a supposedly civilised and democratic country it is actually possible for a citizen such as myself to be denied the right to vote
Envelope graphic

0029"The one certainty is that Gordon Brown has been removed from office," shadow business secretary Ken Clarke tells the BBC. He thinks it would be "a travesty" if the PM tried to hang onto power.

0027Henry Macrory, the head of press at the Conservative Party, says on Twitter: "Breaking: Conservatives set to gain Battersea". It's a key marginal, but we'll have to wait and see if he's right.
Twitter graphic

0025The Guardian's Henry McDonald in Northern Ireland reports: "Lady (Sylvia) Hermon is expected to be re-elected by a landslide in North Down. She rejected David Cameron's overtures to join the Ulster Unionist-Conservative alliance and her victory will be seen as a major setback for the joint party project."

0025"What a tragedy that, after a campaign which engaged and energised many who were previously cynical about politics, tonight's story may be being overshadowed by the extraordinary revelation that Britain cannot competently run the most basic part of the democratic process." Read Nick Robinson's blog
Nick Robinson graphic

0023Gordon and Sarah Brown arrive in a flurry of flashbulbs at the count in Kirkcaldy. As the BBC switches to show viewers the moment, a rather dismissive Ken Clarke, being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman at the same time, says grumpily: "Oh you can't miss a picture of Gordon Brown arriving at his count."

0022Acting royalty backs David Cameron on the BBC's election boat. Down on the Thames, a very glamorous Joan Collins tells our own Andrew Neil she's a big fan of Mr Cameron and thinks he's "for the family" which is very important to her.

0017Counting at a centre in Londonderry has been officially suspended following a security alert. About 500 people have been moved out of the Templemore Sports Complex after a hijacked car was abandoned in the car park. The gymnasium where the count was taking place has been closed and the doors sealed. Army bomb disposal experts are on the scene.

0013The BBC's Kirsty Wark says she spoke to Nick Clegg's wife Miriam a short while ago and she expressed disbelief that such problems could be allowed to occur at polling stations.

0010It's clear to me that if the Tories were above 300 seats in the House of Commons they could easily get their business done, albeit with the help of some ad hoc deals where necessary, says the BBC's Nick Robinson. If they end up with a figure much below that though, the Lib Dems and Labour might be in a stronger position to say, "No, we can do better."
Nick Robinson graphic

0007Sky News is showing footage of a dispute between would-be voters and election officials in Islington South, after dozens were turned away when polls closed at 10pm. There are also reports that some failed voters in Sheffield are blocking roads around polling stations to stop ballot boxes being removed.

0005The Electoral Commission says it will be undertaking a "thorough review" of what happened in constituencies where people were unable to vote.

0002 BBC News website readers have been telling us about their problems voting. Graham Williams writes: "When I finally got inside the building to vote I along with at least 50 other people where informed that we would not be able to vote as the poll would close at 10pm" and custardpowder, who lives in Nick Clegg's constituency writes: "As I eventually got to the table a student was almost in tears as she thought I was going to take her place and she told me she had queued for two and a half hours!" Did you experience problems voting?
Envelope graphic

0000In Chester, a marginal seat, Labour is claiming that more than 600 people were turned away when they tried to vote because the list of voters hadn't been updated, so their names weren't there.

2357Foreign Secretary David Miliband has just arrived at the count in his South Shields constituency. A round of media interviews and a strong message to all: "If no party ends up with a majority, then no party has a right to a monopoly of power." There's then "an injunction from voters on parties to talk to each other", he adds.

2354Lib Dem peer Shirley Williams tells BBC Radio 4 that exit polls indicating that her party would win 61 seats were "very shaky indeed", predicting that they would win "80 to 90" instead.

2351So far, results confirm what our exit poll predicted, that the Lib Dems have surprisingly not made much advance on 2005, says Prof John Curtice. We're now awaiting crucial results from Birmingham Edgbaston and Battersea. Not only are these key marginals, but they also have significant ethnic minority populations, among whom we expect the swing to the Conservatives to be smaller than in Sunderland.

2347The BBC in Merseyside has been taking calls from people saying they couldn't vote because polling stations had run out of ballot papers. Stations affected were Taggert Avenue and Dovedale Road in Wavertree, Dunbabin Road and Rudstone School in Childwall, and Ambergate Road in Grassendale.

2346The BNP saved their deposit in Washington and Sunderland West. Prof John Curtice says he estimates that probably represents a doubling of the BNP vote in the constituency from 2005.

2144Next result - Sunderland Central - Labour win

2339The pound strengthened sharply after the first constituency result suggested the Conservatives may have secured a large enough swing for an overall majority. Sterling rose by nearly a cent to 1.482 dollars, and also climbed back above 1.17 euros.

2338Lib Dem Simon Hughes says he saw the problems at polling stations coming - he says he phoned his agent earlier and urged him to do all he could to mobilise resources.

2332 stairforce writes: So it looks like we are heading for a hung parliament, just when a steady, confident hand was needed on the economic tiller. Why is this? We are like rabbits caught in the headlights. As we stand in the tattered remains of our economy, we don't know what to do.
Envelope graphic

2331A swing of 11.6% from Labour to the Conservatives in Washington and Sunderland West is massive, especially in a seat where you wouldn't expect the Conservatives to put any effort in, says Nick Robinson. If it's reflected nationally, our exit poll is wildly out - that's a bigger swing than Tony Blair got in 1997.
Nick Robinson graphic

2330Harriet Harman, Labour deputy leader, tells BBC Radio 4 some results "may be challenged" because of people not being able to vote. She also says "the Electoral Commission need to get their act together on this".

2329Nick Clegg has gone to personally apologise to voters in his constituency who were denied the chance the vote because the doors to their polling station were closed in their faces, says the BBC's Nick Robinson.
Nick Robinson graphic

2328Ex TV presenter Esther Rantzen, who is standing as an independent in the constituency of Luton South, says she's "excited" about the forthcoming results, adding that she will move to Luton if she wins.

2327Next result in Washington and Sunderland West - Labour win.

2326The BBC is beaming the election results live onto the side of St Stephen's Tower in central London - better known to most of us as Big Ben. If you're out and about in the capital, take a look.

2324 Kathy Murray writes: Manchester City council have obviously underestimated its people. 1 person handing out ballot papers for Manchester Withington. I'm disgusted! We live round the corner from the polling station. We went at 1800 - it was too busy we went back an hour later - still big queues. We went back at 2100 but still couldn't vote. I estimate 200 were turned away. In 2005 there were more polling stations open.
Envelope graphic

2322 Neil writes: If the Tories get in this country is finished. Personally I think we should have proportional representation. That way the politicians would have to work a lot harder to win our vote. I don't think a hung parliament's a bad thing, because in the end they'll have to agree on something just like other countries with coalition governments.
Envelope graphic

2321"The test for investors of a minority government - or a coalition government - is whether the weight of votes in the Commons would be behind a credible plan to cut spending and raise taxes, so as to reduce the UK's record public-sector deficit. So a slim majority for any party could well be viewed as a disaster by markets, if any deficit reduction plan was viewed by a powerful intransigent opposition as fair game to vote down." Read Robert Peston's blog
Robert Peston

2317Harriet Harman, Labour party chairman, is asked about problems at polling stations on Sky News: "I'm concerned that everyone who turned up to vote before 10pm should have their votes counted," she says. When asked about who's responsibility it is, she adds: "That's a matter not for government, but for the Electoral Commission."

2316Former Tory MP Michael Portillo tells the BBC that the exit poll "certainly isn't the comfortable place you would like to be" if you were David Cameron. He's worried about how the financial markets are going to react to all this.

2315A senior aide in the Brown camp has just emerged from the prime minister's house "to get some air". He says the mood is pretty relaxed inside, despite the result of the BBC/Sky/ITN exit poll. There is some sceptism that the poll is accurate.

2312"Already senior Labour and Tory figures are rehearsing what could turn out to be the major argument of tonight and tomorrow over who has the right to govern if there is a hung parliament." Read Nick Robinson's blog
Nick Robinson graphic

2311The BBC/Sky/ITV News exit poll has been revised. The outcome remains the same - hung parliament, Tories the largest party - but the figures are now: Conservatives 305, Labour 255, Lib Dems 61 and others 29.

2310The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones tweets: One @quercuskids reports: "Sit-in at hackney polling station as people not being allowed to vote."
Twitter graphic

2310Prof Vernon Bogdanor, from Oxford University, tells the BBC that if the swing of 8.4% in Houghton and Sunderland South is repeated across the country we will not have a hung parliament - we will have an outright Conservative victory.

2307Labour election co-ordinator Douglas Alexander says it's still "very early in the evening, so let's wait and see". He refuses to be drawn on whether Gordon Brown would try to stay in Number 10 if the exit poll is correct. Though he does add that "of course I'm not satisfied" with the projected number of seats.

2306 Presenter Richard Madeley tells the BBC: "We were told by the polling officer at our station in North London that it was the busiest polling day he could remember - and he's been doing it for 25 years. He said it was absolutely rammed in the first two hours. I think early results based on exit polls are probably wrong. I think the volume vote is going to tell us something quite different. I think this election has been defined by the X Factor quotient: these debates... meant that the leaders burst out of the corral of protected politics and were seen just fleetingly as the men that they are. I think that changed things dramatically."

2303Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Lib Dems, says exit polls are almost always "inaccurate". He says "this doesn't take into account the postal votes" and they account for" 25% of the vote in my old constituency". Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock also says the figure for the Lib Dems is "almost certainly wrong".

2302The BBC's Sian Lloyd in Cardiff also says results aren't expected from Wales before midnight, but all eyes will be on whether the Conservatives can make any significant gains.

2302The BBC's Mark Simpson in Belfast says he doesn't expect results from Northern Ireland until at least midnight, but he says the DUP is very excited about exit polls and thinks it may improve on its nine seats from 2005.

2301The BBC's Carole Walker quotes a Conservative spokeswoman reacting to the exit poll, saying: "If true, this poll is a decisive rejection of the Labour government. Conservatives gaining most seats for 80 years and biggest swing for 80 years. We will do what we need to do to provide stable government for Britain."
Carole Walker

2257Our analyst Professor John Curtice says the result in that first seat is consistent with our exit poll, but if anything the swing is slightly bigger to the Conservatives from Labour - 8.4% - than we'd expected. Nevertheless, Labour hold on with a big majority.

2255Labour candidate for Sheffield Hallam Jack Scott says he's angry that people may be denied the chance to vote, but wants to find out more about what happened. He says he knows it's happened in at least four polling stations in his area and says it may leave the result open to challenge.

2252The first result is in - Houghton and Sunderland South - Labour win.

2250Nick Robinson says the first result from Houghton in Sunderland will give us a sense of whether our exit poll is accurate - although we're still firmly expecting a Labour victory there. Anything else would be a big shock. It'll also give us an idea of turnout.
Nick Robinson graphic

2248Police officers at a polling station in Brockley in Lewisham, south-east London, tell a BBC camera crew that voters are still being allowed to vote at 10.30pm. But the returning officer for Sheffield is apologising after people were unable to cast their votes there because of huge queues at polling stations. John Mothersole admits they were caught out.

2249 No more boom and bust writes: I think we're in for a long night. But whatever the outcome, no one wants Brown to lead this country forward. The question is will he go tonight or hang on by his fingernails again; arrogantly.
Envelope graphic

2248The BBC's Jeremy Vine says our exit poll suggests the swing from Labour to the Tories in England is about 7%, but there may have been a small swing of 1% in the opposite direction, towards Labour, in Wales and Scotland.

2247California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has telephoned David Cameron to congratulate him after the exit poll results were announced. On his Twitter feed, Mr Schwarzenegger wrote: "Just called @davidcameron to congratulate him on the victory. Even though results aren't in we know the Conservatives had a great day."

2246Very confusing situation about what happens to those still queuing to vote at 10pm. According to the Birmingham City Council website: "You can process votes if people are in the polling station before the poll closes. We understand there were two 'lock-ins' in Birmingham. More details when we get them."

2245 Adam writes: I hope for a Labour majority. If not then the Lib Dems need to seriously reflect on splitting the left vote and letting the Tories back in to ruin the country.. yet again!
Envelope graphic

2243Labour sources admit they expect Phil Woolas to lose Oldham East and Saddleworth to the Liberal Democrats Saddleworthnews tweets
Twitter graphic

2242"It's hung parliament territory, it's not conceding defeat territory," says Home Secretary Alan Johnson. He says he has "no problem at all" about working with the Lib Dems if need be,

2241Police have been called to some polling stations to move on people who wanted to vote but couldn't because they were still queuing outside at 10pm. In the Manchester Withington constituency, about 200 people were turned away. A spokesman for the returning officer for Manchester said: "The law states that the doors to polling stations must be closed at 10pm exactly, and no-one may be issued with a ballot paper after 10pm."

2240Police have been called to polling stations in Sheffield to move people on who've queued for hours to vote and not been able to. Former Hillsborough MP Helen Jackson says the situation is disgraceful and potentially leaves it open to legal challenge if results are close.

2237BBC Sussex understands that in the Brighton Pavilion constituency the Green Party are gloomy about their prospects for Caroline Lucas becoming the party's first MP. Sources there say Labour's held a massive doorstep campaign in the last 24 hours targetting Green supporters.

2235The counting is absolutely frantic in the Sunderland constituency of Houghton South, which holds the record for the fastest declaration. Officials there were trying to beat last year's time of 2242, but think it might be a few minutes later this time because the turnout is higher than they expected.

2234Editor of the Conservative Home blog Tim Montgomerie says the Tories expect better results than the exit polls indicate - "probably a small working majority" and David Cameron as prime minister. He also thinks the Lib Dems will do better than predicted, winning as many as 100 seats.

2230The BBC's Andrew Neil is on the Thames in our election boat with a number of commentators. Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan says he doesn't believe the poll because he can't believe the Lib Dems have "gone down".

2229When asked by Jeremy Paxman on BBC One how he'd feel about Labour doing a deal with the Lib Dems to stay in power, Lord Mandelson says "I have no problem in principle".

2226The BBC producer in Barking, where Nick Griffin is standing for the BNP, says there's a heavy police presence at the count. But so far there is no sign of any anti-BNP protest. Council sources say the turnout in both Barking and neighbouring Dagenham and Rainham is high.

2225More than one million Facebook users have used the "I've voted" button to tell their family and friends that they've taken part in the general election. The button does not show how or where users have voted.

2224The BBC's Kirsty Walk is outside Nick Clegg's home in Sheffield. She says an angry woman has just pulled up in her car saying that queues of people have been turned away from nearby polling stations at 10pm. They're very upset that they've been unable to place their vote.

2223Home Secretary Alan Johnson has arrived at his Hull count claiming that "Labour is bracing itself for a fourth term", says the BBC's Tim Iredale.

2221The BBC's John Simpson is at Gordon Brown's house in Kirkcaldy. He thinks there'll be some relief inside. Most in Labour had already accepted that they wouldn't win, but he says, there'll be real relief that those predictions about the Lib Dems being the second largest party haven't materialised.

2221"The exit poll projection that will surprise most people is for the Liberal Democrats to lose seats. If, in fact, they make gains from Labour and/or the Tories that will help determine who makes it to Number 10." Read Nick Robinson's blog
Nick Robinson graphic

2220There appears to be some confusion about whether the polls will remain open after 10pm. The BBC has taken calls from voters in the Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency in South Yorkshire who have been told by officials at their polling station that if they had not voted by 10pm the doors would close. This contrasts with those in queues elsewhere who had been told as long as they were queuing by 10pm, their vote would count.

2216"Exit polls in the past have sometimes given us rogue results so we need to treat it with caution," says shadow schools secretary Michael Gove. "But I think it's another piece of evidence that there's a comprehensive rejection of Gordon Brown and a vote for change."

2215Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable tells the BBC that the exit poll result is "very strange". But he says such polls have been "horribly wrong" in the past, not least in 1992 when a Labour win was predicted but failed to materialise.

2210"The country hasn't turned overwhelming towards the Conservatives," says deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, giving her thoughts on our exit poll. It predicts that the Tories will be largest party in a hung parliament. "It's obviously going to be very close, that's clear," Mr Harman adds.

2208In Sutton Coldfield, in the West Midlands, our reporter says there were plans to lock voters inside the Mere Green Polling Station at 10pm as the queues were so long. This is on the basis that anyone who turned up before 10pm was entitled to vote even if they were stuck in a queue

2205With the numbers suggested by our exit poll - if they turn out to be accurate - the Conservatives could probably govern successfully with a minority government, says the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson. There is a margin of error, however - they are based on uniform behaviour across the country - and if that doesn't happen we're in for an even more interesting night.
Nick Robinson graphic

2202We're getting reports of very long queues at polling stations across the UK. In Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency there are reports of some people waiting for three hours to case their vote. In Leeds too, many are playing the waiting game, and also in Newcastle.

2200Exit poll for BBC, Sky and ITV News predicts a hung parliament with the Conservatives the largest party. The poll puts the Conservatives on 307 seats, Labour on 255, the Liberal Democrats on 59 and others on 29.

2153The BBC's Jeremy Vine will be coming over all technological using some new-fangled graphics and a revamped swingometer to show you how things are shaping up through the night. He'll even be walking down a virtual Downing Street - paved with marginal seats. As the night goes on each slab will be assigned to the winning party in that constituency

2133How are the leaders whiling away these nervous hours? Well, according to the Press Association, Gordon and Sarah Brown had lamb stew for dinner before the prime minister went off for a nap at about 8.30pm. David Cameron, meanwhile, spent two hours chopping logs.

2127We'll be bringing you the result of the joint BBC, Sky and ITV News exit poll at 10pm. It's the first time the broadcasters have ever got together to do a joint survey.

2107Less than one hour remains before the polling stations shut in the 2010 general election.

2000There are two hours before polling stations close. Live coverage of the results will begin at 2155 on BBC One and the BBC News Channel, with a results programme also broadcast on the BBC in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Radios 4 and 5 live are also going to broadcast through the night with their own results programmes. And for in-depth coverage online, be sure to log on to the BBC News website from 2200.

1930Voters have two and a half hours to get to a polling station. The weather map looks dry over most of the UK at the moment.

1907Voters have just under three hours to get to a polling station. The BBC will begin live coverage of the results at 2155 BST on BBC One, BBC HD and the BBC News Channel. Viewers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can watch a results programme on BBC One for their nation. Radios 4 and 5 live are also going to broadcast through the night with their own results programmes. There will be in-depth coverage online throughout the night on the BBC News website.

1830Polling stations aren't just schools and pubs. Other venues include a house and store. They will stay open until 2200 BST.

1754Who will be first to declare a result in the 2010 general election after polls close at 2200 BST? Odds-on favourite is Sunderland. The city made history in 2005, by declaring the first three results on the night. And it would appear, according to the BBC's Claire Kendall, that nothing is being left to chance this year either. If you want to know how Sunderland fares, tune in to BBC TV and radio from 2155 tonight - or log on to the BBC Election 2010 website.

1731Just a reminder that there are now less than five hours to go until the polls close across the UK at 2200 BST. If you're not sure quite how the whole voting thing works, why not check out our handy guide here. And for everything you could possibly want to know about how those votes are counted, then read on here.

1700Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who was involved in a light aircraft crash earlier today, has said he was "lucky to be alive".

1648My colleague Paul Sargeant over at BBC Radio 4's A History of the World has been looking at some interesting global events in the field of elections and voting. Did you know, for example, that Britain's first secret ballot box was used in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in 1872? No, me neither. You can read more in his blog by clicking here.

1627Have you seen the main BBC set for election night yet? Based in studio 1 at BBC Television Centre, the second-largest TV studio in Britain, it'll be the nerve centre for live coverage of the results and analysis of what it all means. You can have a look behind the scenes by clicking here and get David Dimbleby's thoughts on hosting his eighth election programme here. And if you can't get to a TV tonight, do not fear, we will have full live coverage in text and video on the BBC Election 2010 website. Join us straight after polls close at 2200 BST.

1550Back to Slad in Gloucestershire, where the local pub is doing its thing for British democracy, by hosting the village's polling station. Our correspondent Jon Kay is there - upright - and says turnout by Slad's 200-strong electorate has often hit 100%. Why do you think that might be, he asks.

1545The Labour candidate for Bootle on Merseyside has had the tip of his finger bitten off by a dog while out campaigning. Joe Benton, 77, was taken to hospital after the animal bit him as he pushed an election leaflet through a letter box. Mr Benton has been unable to vote for himself as a result and will not be able to attend tonight's count.

1534The head of the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, has paid tribute to the workers who will be up all night counting votes. LGA chairman Dame Margaret Eaton said: "It is thanks to the many, many people who will be in town halls until the early hours processing ballot papers that many more of us can spend the night comfortably on our sofas, watching the results roll in." If Dame Margaret is considering an election night party, she could always download the Magazine's kit to get her going.

1509With less than seven hours to go until the polls close across the country at 2200 BST, here's a reminder of how the BBC will keep you updated with the results as they come in. BBC One England, BBC HD and the BBC News Channel will go live with Election 2010 at 2155 BST. Viewers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can watch a results programme on BBC One for their nation. Radios 4 and 5 live are also going to broadcast through the night with their own results programmes. And for in-depth coverage online, be sure to log on to the BBC News website from 2200.

1444More on the plane crash involving UKIP MEP Nigel Farage. His agent Chris Adams told the BBC that Mr Farage has been moved from a hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire, to the John Radcliffe in Oxford. The decision was "a precaution", Mr Adams said, and he hoped he'd be "on the mend". The condition of the plane's pilot is "more severe", Mr Adams added.

1357Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader of Plaid Cymru, cast his vote this lunchtime for the general election in the town of Llangefni in the constituency of Ynys Mon, north Wales.

1350Ever wondered if it's OK to dress as a pirate when you head to the polling station to exercise your democratic right? For a list of the things you can't do in a polling station, have a have a read of this.

1321Our colleagues on BBC One are gearing up for a marathon session of post-polling broadcasting. On air from 2155 BST this evening, David Dimbleby and the team will be live at BBC Television Centre in west London, bringing you all the results and analysis - along with the world famous Swingometer. Find out how the BBC will bring you the best of Election 2010 in your nation of the UK by clicking here.

1300With nine hours to go until the polls close at 2200 BST, it's worth sparing a thought for the 50,000 council workers in England and Wales who will be counting votes overnight. More than 96% of constituencies will begin tallying ballot papers almost immediately after the polling stations close.

1248 Martin Peston from Romford, Essex, writes: An outright winner may not be clear but rest assured whoever gets in will face the greatest economic and social challenges for a generation.
Envelope graphic

1224Plenty of unusual places being used as polling stations today. The BBC's Jon Kay is in the Gloucestershire village of Slad, where local people are using the Woolpack pub to cast their votes. The pub, which featured in the novel Cider with Rosie by Cotswold author Laurie Lee, is open and the bar serving as normal says our correspondent, but through in the snug there are a couple of booths. The polling station is expected to be busier tonight, as people head out and vote before retiring to the bar. But what would the turnout be across the country if everyone voted in a pub, our man asks.

1200In MacDuff, Banffshire, Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has been to the polling place there. Mr Salmond stood down as a Westminster MP at this election.

1132All three main UK party leaders have now voted in the general election. They're among 44 million registered voters able to take part in today's poll. Polling stations are open until 2200 BST across the country. For more on what to expect once inside the booth - check out our handy guide on how to vote.

1118And the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, is on his way to vote at a polling station in Sheffield Hallam. His wife Miriam is not able to vote in the general election, because she is a Spanish citizen. Polling stations close at 2200 BST.

1112Prime Minister Gordon Brown has arrived to cast his vote at the North Queensferry Community Centre in Fife. He was accompanied by his wife Sarah.

1108Are you planning on throwing an election night party? Short of building your own Swingometer, why not download the BBC News website's very own party pack? Those clever people at Magazine have done all the hard work so you don't have to. Get your kit and make the night go with a bang, by clicking here.

1036Conservative Party leader David Cameron has voted at a polling station in the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney. Polling stations close at 2200 BST tonight.

1014BBC South political editor Peter Henley has updated his blog, following the plane crash involving UKIP Euro-MP Nigel Farage. You can read Peter's latest by clicking here.

0958More on the light aircraft crash involving the UKIP MEP Nigel Farage. It is understood Mr Farage was a passenger in the plane when it came down near Brackley, Northants, just after 0800 BST. Mr Farage was taken to hospital in nearby Banbury, while the pilot has been sent to University Hospital in Coventry. A UKIP spokeswoman said the Euro-MP is "going to be fine".

0940Reports are coming in that the UK Independence Party Euro-MP Nigel Farage has been involved in a light plane crash at an airfield near Brackley in Northamptonshire. Mr Farage, who is standing in the general election, is understood to have suffered non life-threatening injuries in the incident.

0925With a little over 12 hours to go until polling closes at 2200 BST tonight, the BBC's Election 2010 website will be the place to log on to for live coverage of the results in text and video, as well as all the analysis and number-crunching you need.

0856There are also elections today for 164 local councils in England, including London's 32 boroughs, 36 metropolitan authorities and 20 unitary authorities. Polls for these elections also close at 2200 BST tonight.

0830If you're heading to the polls and are uncertain about how it all works, you can check out our handy guide to voting by clicking here. Voting ends at 2200 BST.

0810There are now less than 14 hours to go until polling ends across the UK at 2200 BST. Don't forget you can catch all the results and analysis here on the BBC. Our special Election 2010 programme, hosted by David Dimbleby, gets under way at 2155 BST on BBC One, BBC HD and the BBC News Channel.

0730Voting is under way across the UK for the 2010 general election. The weather forecast suggests a generally dry day with occasional showers outside of south-eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Voting continues until 2200 BST.

0000The campaign is over ahead of Thursday's general election. Polling stations in 649 constituencies across the United Kingdom will open at 0700 BST and remain open until 2200 BST. As well as the general election, there are elections for 164 local authorities in England.



Print Sponsor



MOST POPULAR ELECTION STORIES NOW
ELECTION FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
But now comes the difficult part - making it work
Why has Eton College produced 18 British PMs?
Frantic talks on who will form the next government

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific