Nick Clegg loses his seat to Labour in mixed night for Liberal Democrats

Sheffield Hallam has gone Labour for the first time

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Indy Politics

Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has lost his seat to Labour, the nadir of a mixed night for the liberals.

The party made gains in Scotland and Bath, and returned former finance spokesperson Vince Cable to Parliament in Twickenham.

But they struggled in other areas of the country with leader Tim Farron narrowly avoiding losing his seat in Cumbria by just 777 votes.

Labour's Jared O'Mara is the new MP for Mr Clegg's Sheffield Hallam seat, the first time Labour has ever won the seat since its creation in 1885. Mr O'Mara won 38.4 per cent of the vote compared to Mr Clegg's 34.6 per cent.

It is thought that a surge of student votes in the university-heavy seat carried the day for Jeremy Corbyn's party.

Mr Clegg narrowly held on to Sheffield Hallam in 2015 by 40 per cent to 35 per cent after taking his party into coalition and facing a near wipe-out.

As the possibility of a hung parliament loomed the party ruled out doing a coalition or formal supply and confidence deal with either Labour or the Conservatives.

"Tim Farron made it very clear: he said no pact, no deal, no coalition. We’ve had our fingers burned by coalition, I don’t need to tell you that," former leader Sir Ming Campbell told the BBC early on in the night.

The liberals are expected to end up with at least a dozen seats, a small improvement on the eight they won at the 2015 election - which was itself a historic low. The party's best result was in 2005 under Charles Kennedy when they won 62 seats.

Other Lib Dems to return to Parliament include Ed Davey, former energy secretary, in Kingston and Surbiton.

Jo Swinson also won Dunbartonshire East from the SNP's John Nicholson, but Greg Mullholland lost out to Labour in Leeds North West.

The liberals may find themselves the kingmakers in a possibly hung parliament.