Which constituencies to watch: a brief guide to results night
From Brighton Pavilion to Ynys Mon, the key seats to look out for and what they signify
Thursday 06 May 2010
So you've decided to sit up until the early hours, watching the results on TV, and for a long time nothing happens, then suddenly a flood of results pour in. When you hear that the Lib Dems have held Nether Wallop, or that the Tories have taken Coketown Central off Labour, what are you to make of it? Is it significant, or what was expected? As your guide to the confusion, here is a breakdown of when certain constituencies are expected to announce their results, and what they might signify.
11pm Houghton & Sunderland
Bridget Phillipson, for Labour, will be the first victor of the night, unless there has been an electoral earthquake in the North.
12am Lagan Valley
David Cameron is hoping this will be a victory for Daphne Trimble, wife of the former Northern Ireland First Secretary.
12.45am Birmingham Edgbaston
This was the first seat Labour took from the Tories in 1997. It could be the first they take back.p> 1am Basildon South & Thurrock
When Basildon stayed Tory in 1992, it was the moment Labour knew that they had lost. It is likely to be the same story tonight, unless Labour's Angela Smith clings on against the odds.
If the Conservatives cannot take this one, they can pack up and go home. Labour's majority in 2005 was 163.
This is Plaid Cymru's best chance of taking a seat from Labour.
1.30am Durham City
There has not been a non-Labour MP in any County Durham seat since 1992, but the Lib Dems hope to change that.
This is the Lib Dems' target seat No 3. Scene of "Bigotgate", so they should take it.
2am Dudley South
The Conservatives need a 4.5 per cent swing to take this off Labour. If they succeed, they are on course to be the biggest party in the new Parliament.
Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath
Gordon Brown will be the first of the party leaders to hold his seat.
2.30am Renfrewshire East
The Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy could lose this seat if there is a 7 per cent swing to the Conservatives.
This is a result to watch, because it is a Labour seat, but the Tories can take it on a 6.5 per swing. If they can achieve that across the country, they should have an outright majority in the new Commons.
3am Morley & Outwood
The Conservatives are hoping that this result will be the highlight of the night, because this is the seat being contested by the Education Secretary Ed Balls. The Tories would love to take it, but they could be disappointed.
Salford & Eccles
Hazel Blears will probably survive here, despite the expenses scandal, because it is a Labour stronghold.
3.30am Brighton Pavilion
If the results in recent council elections are repeated, Caroline Lucas will become Britain's first ever Green MP.
The Tories need a swing of less than 4 per cent to take Eltham off Labour. If they cannot manage that, they could well find that they are not even the biggest party in the new Parliament.
Historian Tristram Hunt ought not to have any trouble holding this safe Labour seat, but the party is so divided locally that there could be a substantial swing to the BNP.
The BNP leader Nick Griffin is challenging Labour's Margaret Hodge. If she wins, there will be cheers in all the other parties' headquarters.
Labour's most marginal seat, which they held by 37 votes last time, now a near-certain Tory gain.
According to some calculations, this is the decider. If the Conservatives take this seat off Labour, they will have an outright majority in the Commons.
Romsey & Southampton North
The Lib Dems' most marginal seat. They will be relieved if they can hold it.
4.30am Liverpool Wavertree
This used to be a solid Labour seat, but the new candidate, Luciana Berger, is under serious threat from the Liberal Democrats.
The former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is fighting gamely to hold on, but is likely to lose.
6am Hampstead & Kilburn
The former Oscar-winning actress Glenda Jackson will have a struggle holding this one for Labour. It will take a swing of only half a per cent to the Lib Dems to see her unseated.
7am North Cornwall
The last declaration of the night could be a cliff-hanger. It is a Liberal Democrat seat, but the candidate, Dan Rogerson, is new and he could be at risk from the Conservatives.
But if you are thinking of staying up to see whether the Speaker John Bercow can beat off the challenge from the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Buckingham – don't bother. It is one of 23 counts that are being postponed until Friday. The result is expected around 2.30pm.
For the same reason, the youngest MP in the last Parliament, the Conservative Chloe Smith, will have to wait to find out whether she has held Norwich North, which she took from Labour in a by-election.
As to whether Anne McIntosh has held Thirsk & Malton, in Yorskhire for the Tories – that one will have to wait until 27 May, because the Ukip candidate, John Boakes, died suddenly after his nomination papers had been submitted. However, you may put it down as a near-certain Tory hold.
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