By Andrew M. Collins
The 2015 election is finally, mercifully over – the exit polls, as unlikely as some seemed, were proved generally correct – massive SNP gains, almost total, in Scotland, seeing swings of up to shocking 34%. A surprise Tory majority, albeit small, and equally surprising Labour losses including Ed Balls, Jim Murphy and the resignation of the leader Ed Milliband.
An astonishing comprehensive slaughter of the Lib Dems across the board, the price, perhaps, of being a minority in an unpopular coalition Government. They were all but wiped out in Scotland, only retaining one seat, and also saw humiliating losses to the Conservatives in the South West.
UKIP only managed to get one seat, despite winning some four million votes and producing swings of up to 18% swings in many areas. Nigel Farage failed to win the Thanet South seat, coming second to Craig Mackinlay (Conservative) and called for electoral reform, but stated “I have never felt happier”, referring to the burden of weight of leadership that has been lifted from his shoulders. A UKIP leadership vote will take place in September, but it is not certain he will run.
However, UKIP’s Duncan Carswell held on to his Clacton seat in Essex.
The Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland managed 8 seats, whilst the Greens only managed to hang on to their Brighton seat in the shape of Caroline Lucas.
George Galloway (Respect Party) took a beating, failing to successfully defend his Bradford West seat, only grabbing 8,557 votes to Naz Shah’s (Labour) 19,977.
Plaid Cymru scratched up three seats, whilst the Ulster Unionist Party secured only two.
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition votes barely registered, despite TV party political spots, whilst the Monster Raving Loony Party got a handful of the expected token protest votes, though provided a good bit of visual light relief in the somewhat turgid process of elections.
David Cameron, then, is back in No. 10, just within a whisker of enough seats needed to form a Government. Painful casualties for all the other parties; three party leader resignations declared – Nigel Farage, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband – quite a massive fallout.
A surprising, sometimes bitter 2015 election, but when it came to the crunch, it appears, in England at least, the vast majority have played safe and opted to stay in the two party game and keep the status quo. Disappointing, fear based decisions, but perhaps understandable.
FINAL NATIONAL RESULTS-seats
CON: 331 / LAB: 232 / LIB DEM: 8 / SNP: 56 / DUP: 8 / SF: 4 / PC: 3 / SDLP: 3 / UUP: 2 / UKIP: 1 / IND: 1 / GREEN: 1
BRIGHTON AND HOVE
Three seats were up for grabs in Brighton and Hove – two Conservative and one Green (Kemptown, Hove and Brighton Pavilion respectively). The results from all three seats were expected to be close, and two were (Hove and Brighton Pavilion), resulting in recounts for both, meaning the last declaration was at 8am this morning.
Peter Kyle (Labour) beat Graham Cox (Conservative) to the post, with a convincing 1,236 majority in the Hove seat.
The popular Green MP Caroline Lucas proved even more popular, more than trebling her majority seen in the last general election and keeping her Brighton Pavilion seat, consolidating her huge support here. After the results were declared, she was promptly swamped by the media who were almost falling over themselves to get a good shot as she gave live interviews to the main media channels.
Simon Kirby (Conservative) held his Kemptown seat with 41% of votes but only a lead of 690 votes, striking cheeky triumphant poses for the press up in the media gallery. Tired, as were all the candidates, but still full of fun.
A long and stressful day for all, but with the local election count taking place on Saturday, there are surely still a lot more surprises to come.
FINAL RESULTS FOR BRIGHTON AND HOVE
Hove : Peter Kyle (Labour)
(Votes: 22,082 / Majority: 1236 / % votes: 42)
Brighton Pavilion : Caroline Lucas (Green Party)
(Votes: 22,871 / Majority: 7967 / % of votes: 42)
Brighton Kemptown : Simon Kirby (Conservatives)
(Votes: 18,428 / Majority: 690 / % of votes: 41 )