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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK

The story of the night

The resignation of the Conservative leader, William Hague, caps a miserable night for the Tories. But for Labour and the Liberal Democrats, there was much to celebrate.

Watch the key events below.


0730 BST

A night of triumph for Labour sees a crushing defeat for the Tories. William Hague steps down as party leader following the result. "No man is indispensable. No man is more important than the party," he says.

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0545 BST

Tony Blair thanks party workers and staff in London, saying, "We have to remember...that now is the time that the people of our country want us to serve them (and) do the things we promised we would do."

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0425 BST

Tory leader William Hague increases his majority in his Richmond seat - a rare moment of good news for the Tories. He says there is much to reflect upon and describes his party's election defeat as "deeply disappointing".

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0310 BST

Labour contemplates a general election triumph in Scotland as the Tories show only one gain.

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0230 BST

Labour romp to a second term. Tony Blair describes his party's victory as "historic" after William Hague phones him to concede defeat at 0317 BST. The Liberal Democrats say it was their best ever night at the polls.

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0230 BST

An Independent candidate, retired doctor Richard Taylor, wins a huge majority after campaigning on the single issue of trying to save Kidderminster hospital from closure.

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0230 BST

Shadow Chancellor Michael Portillo wins a comfortable victory in Kensington and Chelsea. He says he wants William Hague to continue as leader, but that the Conservative party would have to "reflect" if they suffered a major defeat.

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0210 BST

Charles Kennedy hails an "historic" night for the Lib Dems as he is re-elected for Ross, Sky and Inverness West, saying that it is a verdict not just on the government but on the opposition.

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0145 BST

Peter Mandelson holds Hartlepool, declaring "I am a fighter not a quitter". In his victory speech, the former Labour cabinet minister says his political adversaries underestimated him when they claimed his career was in tatters.

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0130 BST

Tony Blair's press secretary, Alastair Campbell, says the party will focus more on strategy in a second term because they have "won the arguments" on policy.

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0130 BST

Speaking after re-election in Sedgefield, Tony Blair says the Labour Party stands on the verge of an historic second successive full term of office. He tells supporters that he accepts the mandate from the country with "humility and pride".

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0115 BST

Tory defector Shaun Woodward is elected Labour MP for St Helens South, despite local activists' anger that he was selected at the last minute after sitting MP Gerry Birmingham quit.

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0115 BST

The far-right British National Party records its best-ever general election result in Oldham West, a constituency that has recently suffered racial unrest.

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0020 BST

Lib Dem candidate Adrian Sanders holds onto his party's most marginal seat, Torbay, with a majority of more than 6,000 over the Tories - a sign of what was to come later in the evening.

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2300 BST

In his victory speech, Chancellor Gordon Brown says Labour will build on the foundations of economic stability.

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2245 BST

The first candidate to be returned from the 2001 election campaign is Labour's Chris Mullin, who holds Sunderland South. Voter turnout was 10% lower than in 1997 - and turnout was to become one of the most important issues of the night.

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2200 BST

Labour was heading for a second landslide, according to the BBC's exit poll. Published when voting ended at 2200 BST, it suggested that Labour had taken 44% of the vote, the Conservatives 32%, the Liberal Democrats 17% and others 7%.

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