Despite winning just one seat, it seems the British Green Party might be the big winner in the UK general election. Perhaps that's a stretch but they, at least, have something to celebrate as the Green Party in Britain elected its first MP from a constituency in Brighton Pavilion. The victory in Brighton ends Britain's status as the only major European country never to elect a Green MP.
Otherwise for Britain's other parties, the May 6th general election likely left them wanting. The 2010 general election has resulted in a hung parliament with the Conservatives winning the most seats with 294 overall, but that's still short of the 326 needed for a majority. Labour won 251, while the Liberal Democrats fared poorly winning just 52 seats. Six other minor regional parties have between them 26 seats in the new Parliament. It was bad night for independents as well with just one independent MP retaining her seat. With just 28 races remaining undecided, mathematically no party can secure a majority in its own right. A coalition government now looms in Britain for the first time since the 1970s.
As the dust settles, this election is likely to leave the three major parties on the dissatisfied side. Despite gaining at least 93 seats for the Conservatives, Tory leader David Cameron failed to secure a governing majority for his party; Prime Minister Gordon Brown leading Labour into a general election for the first time saw 88 seats vanish under his hapless watch; while Nick Clegg, despite a robust performance in Britain's first ever debates, saw his Liberal Democrats actually lose five seats including a high profile one in Wales.
The Guardian has more on what happens next but constitutionally speaking Gordon Brown remains Prime Minister until another party can prove that it has the confidence of Parliament by mustering sufficient votes to ensure passage of legislation.
Like starlings on the Ot Moor, Britons have flocked to the polls to elect a new Parliament. Early exit polls point to a Tory plurality but a hung parliament according to a BBC/ITV News/Sky News exit poll.
The poll gives the Tories 307 seats, Labour 255 and the Lib Dems 59. The results, if accurate, will leave the Conservatives 19 seats short of the majority. For all the noise the Liberal Democrats seemed to have garnered during the campaign, this poll predicts a loss of three seats for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems.
Updates as we hear them. An all things British open thread.
Here's a live real-time feed from the BBC:
Update (10PM EDT): Current projections: Conservatives 305, Labour 255, Liberal Democrats 61. So 120 races have been decided. The Tories have gained 12 constituencies, Labour have lost 11 and the Liberal Democrats have lost one. According to the BBC, so far there has been a swing from Labour to the Tories of 4.1 percent in terms of the popular vote. If there is a surprise, it is the poor electoral showing for the Lib Dems.
Should these results hold then per British custom, Queen Elizabeth, the British head of state, will ask Gordon Brown to form a government. According to the BBC, David Cameron, the Tory leader, will not challenge Gordon Brown's right to try to form a government.
With Prime Minister Gordon Brown battling for his political life in Britain's upcoming general elections now scheduled for May 6, the British Labour Party has set its campaign themes: "'The Road Ahead'. Britain is at a crossroads - Let's secure the recovery with Labour" and "A Fair Future for All."
Tomorrow in the West Midlands, Prime Minister Gordon Brown will unveil Labour's platform for what would be an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office for the party. Though Labour still trails in the polls, the gap has closed considerably in recent months. Once trailing in the mid-teens, a recent ICM poll showed the Tories (Conservative) at 39 percent to Labour's 37 percent with 19 percent opting to the Liberal Democrats. As it stand now, there is a real chance of hung Parliament with no party securing an outright majority.
Learn more about Labour's campaign at their website.