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Thursday 5th May 2011 | 14:24
19:40 NO WINS AV REFERENDUM. A sensational election in Scotland, England, Wales and AV. This blog will now end.
19:08 Why isn't more being made of the sensational night for the Conservatives against the Lib Dems in the south? Which now includes taking Norman Baker's council in Lewes and the Vale of White Horse. Conservatives gain 14 seats in each.
18:59 So on current trends, we can probably make some predictions that Brighton & Hove will go narrowly for "Yes", as well as Southwark, Hackney, Oxford, and perhaps Edinburgh Western and Southern - and that will be it.
18:38 It seems that urban liberal seats are the only ones to favour "Yes", with Haringey, Camden, Islington and Cambridge joining Lambeth. This "Yes" campaign directed squarely at these voters, who unfortunately for them, are not very numerous.
18:21 The devastation for "Yes" continues, and they do indeed look set to lose 70% to 30%. Glasgow Kelvin, a left-leaning student-heavy partially leafy seat, produces the strongest result yet for "Yes", with AV leading 59% to 41%.
18:07 Finally somewhere goes for "Yes", Lambeth votes 55% Yes vs 45% No. I hear similar things from Southwark and Hackney.
17:59: "No" has triumphed. John Curtice says they'll win by 70% to 30%. Closest results so far are in Shetland Islands and the Corporation of London, where "No" leads by just 55% to 45% and 54% to 46%. Common theme? No, me neither.
17:38 Two former Scottish Westminster MPs have just been elected to Holyrood on the Mid-Scotland & Fife list: the SNP's Annabelle Ewing (Perth, 2001-2005) and Lib Dem Willie Rennie (Dunfermline & West Fife, 2006-2010). Rennie will surely be a strong candidate to lead what remains of his party in Scotland.
17:29 Narrowest "No" lead so far in City of London, at only 54% to 46%. I suspect some inner London boroughs will go for "Yes", as tiny islands of purple on the map.
17:25: English Conservative worries that higher turnout in Scotland would skew the referendum towards "Yes" seem way off the mark this evening. Strathkelvin, Dundee (both seats) and Cowdenbeath go for "No" by more than 60%.
17:16: Huge margins for No to AV in all the results declared so far. I suspect No will win by more than the polls are showing - for reasons I outlined a month ago. Results include Southend, clearly they "don't like AV by the seaside."
17:05 Islands continue to vote No to AV with Orkney and Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) following the Isles of Scilly. Orkney and Scilly are both, interestingly, in Lib Dem held constituencies.
16:44 Delighted Sky News are going to announce the referendum result by local authority. Isles of Scilly go for NO (542 to 288). In our only other national referendum, in 1975, only the Outer Hebrides and Shetland Islands voted to leave the Common Market.
16:16 10 Labour gains in Newcastle-upon-Tyne gives them a comfortable GAIN from the Lib Dems. Again, Newcastle electing in thirds means Labour could easily repeat this in the same wards in 2012.
15:51 Michael Savage at the Times reports provisional AV turnout in 8 regions: Eastern 43.1%, London 35.4%, North East 38.7%, North West 39.1%, Scotland 50.7%, South West 44.6%, West Midlands 39.8%, Yorkshire and Humber 39.9%.
15:34 Greens should easily be able to to take overall control of Brighton & Hove next year, Brighton & Hove was in fact an all-up election, but Labour should be able to easily take control in Birmingham next year. This point again about councils that elect in thirds masking the scale of the win.
15:28 It seems obvious to say, but the fact Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool and Stockport elect in thirds masks the scale of the Lib Dem losses there compared to all-out councils like Windsor & Maidenhead and Chesterfield. The losses in the former set of councils should be tripled for a comparison.
15:23 Labour gain from Conservatives in Ipswich, a key marginal seat - but they need to be doing far far better across the Southern and Midlands marginals.
14:58 Chris Huhne's comments on BBC suggest Eastleigh has gone heavily for "No" in the AV referendum. Where else would he have seen boxes opened?
14:53 Labour are certain to take overall control of Newcastle from the Lib Dems, gaining even 'safe' and leafy Heaton North ward. The Lib Dems sensationally won this council in 2004, and it has since become their real urban flagship.
14:52 More on the quiet Lib Dem routing by the Tories in the South. I can only find four councils so far where the Lib Dems have increased their number of councillors: Bath, Eastleigh, Dacorum and Poole.
14:33 SNP gain in Kirkcaldy confirmed, as is an overall majority. We mused about the possibility of a pro-referendum majority on 21st April, but didn't think an SNP majority possible. I wouldn't put any bets on the result as, despite current polls, it will be presented as 'Do you want Alex Salmond or David Cameron as your Prime Minister?'
14:25 ALEX SALMOND'S SNP HAS WON AN OVERALL MAJORITY IN SCOTLAND (unless everyone at the Kirkcaldy count is fibbing about an SNP gain there)
14:16 Control of Bury council handed to Labour, apparently after a coin toss in the tied ward. Has this ever happened before? (Control, not just one council seat)
14:14 If the SNP take the last two constituencies to declare, Kirkcaldy (Gordon Brown's seat) and Clackmannanshire, they will have their overall majority in Holyrood, whatever happens on the list. Astounding result for Salmond.
14:08 Thumping for the Lib Dems by Conservatives in St Albans, which they lose to NOC. This district only elects in thirds, so losing 6 seats is a big deal. This may be a place where Labour voters refused to vote tactically Lib Dem to 'keep the Tories out'.
13:52 Very mixed results for Labour in the key Kent marginals. They pulled off a solid gain in Gravesham, taking 8 seats and the council from the Conservatives. Thanet goes to overall control with 6 Labour gains. Only 3 Labour gains in Medway leaves the Tories comfortable, and Labour actually manage to lose 3 seats to the Conservatives in Dartford, giving the Tories an even bigger majority in Dr Howard Stoate's former seat, perhaps they agreed they should "calm down" and vote blue.
13:43 Both Hackney and Southwark have AV turnouts of 34%, which is about what you'd expect in a stand-alone local election there. Source at Southwark count says Yes is ahead there by about 60% to 40%. Of course, left-leaning inner London is deeply unreflective of the country at large.
13:34 Sensational gain for the SNP from the Lib Dems in North East Fife (Menzies Campbell's seat) means former Dunfermline Lib Dem MP Willie Rennie must surely be off to Holyrood on the list. Would probably be a very popular choice for Scots Lib Dem leader.
13:29 One northern result clearly bucks the trend, or at least extremity of the trend - SkyNews have just one Lib Dem loss in Burnley, meaning they keep the council there (although it may be a gain from NOC after by-elections). Perhaps other urban Lib Dems need to be asking them how to do it! Good news for rookie MP Gordon Birtwistle.
13:21 Some shockingly poor results for the Lib Dems against the Tories in the South, particularly councils which elect in all-ups, rather than thirds, and where the Conservatives hold the MP. Three councils run by the Lib Dems until 2007: Waverley (Jeremy Hunt's seat), the Lib Dems now have no councillors, in Windsor & Maidenhead they lost 15 seats with 1 remaining and in Shepway (Folkestone & Hythe constituency) they lost all 9 of their seats.
13:15 Election live blog is back. More analysis to come.
06:36 Well folks, I'm going to take some shut-eye. Will be back around noon.
06:26 No seat for George Galloway or the Lib Dems on the Glasgow list. Lab 3, SNP 2, Con 1, Green 1.
06:08 Labour thought to be ahead by 68 votes in Cardiff Central - definitely in recount territory in what was the safest Lib Dem assembly seat.
05:54 Lib Dems hold Cambridge, but Labour win most wards (elects in thirds), especially in less affluent wards like King's Hedges. Labour also come very close in student-heavy Market, which has been Lib Dem since the early 70s.
05:38 Glasgow Anniesland, which sent Labour's late great Donald Dewar to Holyrood in 1999, has reportedly been gained by the SNP. Though Labour have won at least one constituency seat in Edinburgh, holding Edinburgh Northern by 595 votes.
05:15 First signs of Lib Dem losses to Conservatives in parts of the south, particularly where they don't hold the MP. 11 seats lost in Chelmsford (9 go to Tories), 8 lost in New Forest to Tories. Will this be a pattern? Is it due to refusal of Labour voters to vote tactically to stop the Conservatives?
05:05 Labour gain Warrington, taking seats off the Lib Dems in the key Conservative-held marginal of Warrington South.
05:01 BBC reports Conservative leader Nick Bourne may not be able to hold his list seat in the Welsh Assembly.
04:38 SNP may take every seat in Edinburgh, after a huge gain from the Lib Dems in Edinburgh Western, 35th on their target list.
04:34 Nick Robinson points to Lib Dem devastation in the north, but Labour underpermance so far in the South. Labour vote share nothing like it was when they were last in opposition.
04:29 As SNP gain Glasgow Kelvin, BBC say only one vote separates them from Labour in Glasgow Anniesland. Could Edinburgh and Glasgow both be SNP cities this year?
04:20 Former Conservative leader David McLetchie loses Edinburgh Pentlands to SNP and huge swing to SNP as they gain Strathkelvin & Bearsden constituency - up 20%.
04:11 More good news for the Lib Dems in Southern seats where they have the MP. They've held Portsmouth, losing just one seat to the Tories and Labour gaining none, and appear to have become the largest party on Bath & North East Somerset (where they're still counting), gaining seats from the Conservatives. Student-heavy Bathwick ward doesn't seem to have punished local Lib Dem candidates.
04:03 SNP gain Glasgow Cathcart on 6.5% swing, 13th on their target list. Being on Labour's Glasgow top-up list never looked like such a good gig.
03:54 One piece of good news for Lib Dems: Clean sweep for them in Chris Huhne's Eastleigh, taking everything up for election. Labour lose their one seat.
03:49 Triple SNP gain in Glasgow Shettleston, Cumbernauld & Kilsyth and Falkirk East constituencies. Glasgow Cathcart to join them, apparently.
03:38 Elections expert Lewis Baston makes the key point about Labour success, or lack of it, in key marginals: "Astonishing difference between Metro areas where Labour hitting historic peaks, and some mediocre results outside (Harlow, Tamworth)" and "Very anaemic Labour progress in Basildon (tho' a gain of a long-held LD seat). Change on 2010 in comparable wards C-0.5% Lab+6.6% LD -9.1%"
03:35 Big gain for Conservatives from Lib Dems in Montgomeryshire - this seat ejected Lembit Opik last year, Mick Bates AM stood down this time.
03:31 Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray HOLDS his East Lothian seat against SNP by 151 votes.
03:27 Labour hold on in Greenock and Inverclyde with a swing of 7% to the SNP.
03:21 Useful result for Ed Miliband in Lincoln. Labour gain one seat from the Conservatives to hand them control there. Hugely marginal parliamentary seat with council held by Labour 1982-2006.
03:15 Biggest swing yet (12.5%) as SNP hold Dundee City East.
03:07 BBC's Peter Henley says Lib Dems celebrating in Portsmouth, holding the council with perhaps their best ever result - are we seeing a completely different election in the South?
03:05 Nicola Sturgeon comfortably holds/notionally gains marginal Glasgow Southside with a 9.7% swing.
03:01 SNP gain marginal Airdie and Shotts on 5.5% swing - bundle check now likely in Iain Gray's East Lothian, according to BBC Scotland.
02:54 Worcester and Gloucester. Two seats Ed Miliband must win to be Prime Minister. Tories take the council in both with Labour losing seats. Trend of Labour over-performing against the Lib Dems and under-performing against the Tories continues, though they have just taken the council in hyper-marginal North Warwickshire.
02:47 BBC Scotland saying Jim Murphy expects Labour to notionally gain Eastwood from Conservatives, which boundary changes put the Conservatives 11% ahead.
02:38 Birmingham continuing to look good, but not amazing for Labour. Lib Dems hold Perry Barr (only a 4.3% swing to Labour needed on 2010) - which must be the best result in this kind of urban ward yet seen. Labour gained student-heavy Selly Oak.
02:36 Only council Labour has gained so far tonight, Hyndburn, is in a parliamentary seat they hold with a majority of over 3000 - much as it's a good result for them, it is not one of the places they need to beat Cameron.
02:24 Birmingham: More signs Ed Miliband not making huge progress against Conservatives. Labour needed a 3.1% swing on 2010 result to take Northfield ward, Birmingham. The Tories have held it by 54 votes. Conservatives have held Bournville (2.7% swing needed by Labour on 2010) by 276 votes. Labour have taken two Birmingham seats off Tories and two off Labour so far.
02:18 Rumour has it that the Lib Dems have held something... Orkney and Shetland (separate seats in Holyrood but not at Westminster)
02:11 SNP gain Clydesdale on 9% swing. Absence of a Lib Dem candidate seemingly produced the same result as if they'd stood - all Lib Dem votes moving to the SNP. is this a regional Lanarkshire phenomenon or nationwide? We'll find out soon.
02:03 Denton and Reddish MP Labour MP Andrew Gwynne says Lib Dems have lost Stockport Council - a key flagship for them with two MPs in the borough (Cheadle and Hazel Grove).
01:59 Perhaps the most important result yet for David Cameron. Council in key Labour-Conservative marginal of Tamworth comfortably held by the Conservatives. Only one gain by Labour. Grim reading for Ed Miliband on the 'real' fight.
01:51 Excellent point just made on BBC Scotland. Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray will lose his East Lothian seat to the SNP if the three results we've had so far are repeated. Gray himself says it's "looking tight".
01:39 Huw Edwards of BBC Good Morning Wales says Lib Dems in Cardiff Central are saying it's 'too close to call'. Very student-heavy seat, especially in Cathays, won by the Lib Dems in Westminster in 2005 - and by far their safest seat in the Welsh Assembly.
01:37 Reached hourly limit on twitter, just as pro-independence majority in Scotland looking more and more likely.
01:35 Pro-Independence majority (SNP plus Green) looking increasingly likely in Scotland. Huge SNP gain with 11% swing in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse: SNP up 18%.
01:26 Lots of rumours that SNP will have a sensational night in Edinburgh, including coming from fourth place to take Lib Dem Mike Pringle's Edinburgh Southern seat.
01:16 SNP GAIN East Kilbride on a 6.6% swing - again, direct switch from of Liberal Democrat voters to SNP.
01:05 BBC's Kierra Liew says Lib Dems have conceded Hull City Council to Labour - Lib Dem council leader leader not sure he's held his own seat.
01:00 Rutherglen was 46th on the SNP target list (notionally) and they came under 2000 votes from taking it. They look set for a very good night.
00:56 Labour hold Rutherglen, and theoretically big swing (7%) from Labour to SNP - but in fact Lib Dem vote collapses and goes directly to SNP (15% change for each).
00:52 BBC say Lib Dem leader in Manchester Simon Ashley has lost his Gorton South ward - another seat in the ward was lost to Labour last year on a big swing.
00:48 SNP may have taken East Kilbride from Labour - modest swing of 3.4% required.
00:44 Confirmed that Labour have taken out former Liverpool Lib Dem council leader Mike Storey in Wavertree ward on a vast swing. Follows on from Luciana Berger's strong swing to Labour in holding the Wavertree constituency last year.
00:40 SNP rumoured to have taken Glasgow Cathcart. Requires 3.5% swing from Labour.
00:32 Source in Bristol confirms Lib Dem collapse in more estate-filled wards like Lawrence Hill and Easton - but vote should hold up in more affluent university graduate wards like Cotham and Ashley. Source is however not at the count.
00:21 Michael Thrasher on SkyNews says 13% Lib Dem to Labour swing in Sunderland. Conservative vote stayed still, but Lib Dems voting Labour gave Labour their wins.
00:16 Lib Dems in Sheffield apparently expect Labour to take control very comfortably - how many of the Lib Dems' 15 seats will they hold? And how many, if any, will the Conservatives take in Clegg's Hallam seat?
00:11 Four Labour gains in Sunderland from the Conservatives and HOLD the council. This does not bring Ed Miliband a single step closer to Number 10.
00:04 Labour activist Tim Moore suggests Lib Dems set to lose overall control in Stockport - crucial to see if a move of Lib Dem voters to Labour helps the Conservatives win council seats. Why crucial? Two Lib Dem parliamentary seats are in the borough: marginal Cheadle and much safer Hazel Grove, both with Conservative in second.
23:50 Nowhere is likely to be worse for the Lib Dems than Liverpool and they're counting very quickly. Now ITN's Claire Ashforth reports from Liverpool that former council leader Mike Storey may have lost his Wavertree seat to Labour - he was ahead 70% to Labour's 17% when he was last up in 2007.
23:42 This is the start of Clegg's nightmare in the north. If Labour have gained Woolton ward, Liverpool - always held by the Lib Dems, and one they won 51% to Labour's 25% in 2010. The ward is affluent, with the Conservatives usually second to the Lib Dems, who were 3000 votes ahead of Labour in 2004.
23:33 Very sad news that Lib Dem candidate Neil Hamilton in Newcastle's highly marginal Westerhope ward has died after a day campaigning. This will, of course, mean a by-election.
23:25 First ward declaration, as far as I can tell - Pallion ward, Sunderland - comfortable Labour hold (1000 over Conservatives) with no Lib Dem candidate.
23:16 Boundary changes make SNP Deputy Nicola Sturgeon theoretically far more vulnerable in her new Glasgow Southside seat compared to Glasgow Govan, but everyone seems to think she'll be fine.
23:09 Lambeth Labour councillr Mark Bennett far too pessimistic. He tweets "Told London AV ref turnout about 10%". With much higher turnout in suburban London, it should be at least triple that.
22:57 Trish Law AM (Independent) not standing again in Blaenau Gwent gives Labour a certain gain there.
22:45 Exceptional Birmingham City Council 'background information' word document on the 2011 locals, showing just how hard it will be for Labour to take overall control - but how easy it will for them to become Birmingham's largest party, and then take control in 2012.
22:38 Labour apparently officially cautious about taking Newcastle-upon-Tyne from the Lib Dems. This is surely to downplay expectations. They took 7 Newcastle council seats in 2010, 6 from the Lib Dems - and they just need 6 for overall control, which the same churn in the same wards as last year would give them. Labour must be odds-on favourites to make a gain there.
22:30 Turnout also reportedly reasonable in Durham (33% to 40%), particularly amongst students - should be good for 'Yes' and no local elections. Wish people could tweet something from the true blue English shires.
22.15 In the English local elections, we're going to pay particular attention to the top 100 seats in Labour's target list. Gains in Sheffield and Newcastle don't bring Ed Miliband any closer to Number 10. Gains in Thurrock, Plymouth and Stockton-on-Tees most certainly do.
22:09 Upper Bann SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly reports on twitter of a 55% turnout on Garvaghy Road and a 20 minute queue to go and vote at Aghagallon polling station. If this doesn't include postals, turnout could be higher than in 2007 (Upper Bann 61% then).
22:00 Mansfield Labour mayoral candidate Stephen Yemm tweets "Around high forties turnout for Oakham.", Andrew Hawkins of ComRes tweets 45% turnout in his Exeter ward - again, places with local elections.
21:49 Further signs London AV turnout will mirror that seen in last stand-alone locals in 2006. Karen Triggs tweets 38% turnout at her polling station in Haringey, including postals. 2006 turnout across Haringey was 36%. Some of this will be AV, some of this will be the fact that some people, particularly older people, always vote.
21:38 Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson tweets "Iris and I voted in Dundonald Elim Hall tonight and then called into the polling station. About 50% turnout in both @ 9pm." Adding in postals, that may top his Belfast East constituency's 60% turnout in 2007. Huge differential with inner London, etc, obviously.
21:24 Getting reports of reasonably high AV turnout of students in Cambridge. Student wards in Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Leeds tend to elect Lib Dems on the back of votes from nearby residents, with very few students voting (and those who have have tended to vote LD). Will students, voting in the referendum, voice their anger at the Coalition by voting Labour or Green in the locals, when usually they don't bother.
21:06 First signs of Lib Dem disaster in working class urban areas. Reports of an almost certain Labour gain in Bristol's estate-heavy Lawrence Hill ward, in Stephen Williams MP's not-so-marginal Bristol West seat.
20:54 Turnout estimate 15%-22% in Wandsworth's Balham ward, again much much lower in inner London compared to the suburbs.
20:44 Some suggestion turnout in more Conservative outer London may be higher than Yes-ier inner London. Enfield Conservative councillor Tom Waterhouse (Chase ward) tweets that turnout at his polling district was about 30%, which when you consider postal votes, might not differ that much from the 42% turnout in his ward in 2006. Could London turnout be virtually the same as in a stand-alone local election, in which outer London turnout rates are much higher.
20:30 Conservatives in Newcastle reporting higher turnout than usual in their local election target wards, again pointing to local election voters swamping AV. Inner London has a much lower turnout in stand-alone local elections than most of the country anyway - this will be similar.
20:19 Mike Smithson says no YouGov exit poll. We should however know by the local turnout figures - and anecdotes from authorities doing verification tonight.
20:12 Pitiful turnout reported in referendum-only London, but important to remember inner city demographics are younger - and younger people tend to vote later - as seen by the 10pm queues at last year's election. London turnout will still be much lower than the rest of the country though.
20:10 Going to be live-blogging the results and analysis through the night. In the meantime, Paul Waugh has written an excellent blog piece on how the different campaigns were fought online.