It was the result no – one expected on a night that was supposed to be one of the most uncertain in the year. Yet it happened. A majority government. Yes after five years of a Conservative – liberal democrat coalition it’s all change at the top of politics; or nearly.
Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats faired particularly badly losing nearly 50 seats on a night where Clegg was lucky to keep his own seat in Sheffield. Labour failed little better losing 26 seats the majority of which were in Scotland. It was a much better night for the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon who gained 50 seats north of the border which means the party has all but three seats in Scotland.
The winner of the night was of course David Cameron whose Conservatives gained 24 seats in order to become the largest outright party in government with no need to form a coalition with any other party. Cameron thanked those who had helped him in the past few years and praised the work of both Clegg and Miliband and the principles they stood for. He emphasised the ability of his new government to achieve all the promises set out in his manifesto including the EU referendum.
After a long night of shocks and giant killings three party leaders fell in quick succession. First up was UKIP’s Nigel Farage who failed to win his target seat in South Thanet by a small margin. His was a promise though that he would try again but for now would step down from the party. He was followed by a visibly distressed Nick Clegg; it hasn’t been an easy time for Clegg as of late but no one (not even former party leader Lord Ashdown) could predict just how badly his party would fair. Finally, around lunch time, it was the turn of Ed Miliband; Miliband kept it brief. He took all the blame for his party’s losses and even managed to crack a joke about his Milifandom which he called one of the most unlikely cults of the 21st century.
With the Liberal Democrats gone Cameron has already begun to build up his cabinet once more with Osborne, May, Fallon and Hammond all staying in the top jobs. Speculation continues to mount as to where his other appointments will go with some saying that former Education Secretary Michael Gove will be heading for Justice.
All of this came after the shock and awe of the exit polls which almost exactly predicted the result that no one had thought possible even as the polls closed.