Deadlock In Britain
This just about sums up the state of play right now:
A hung parliament is virtually inevitable. With more than 500 seats counted, the BBC is predicting that the Conservatives will end up with 306 seats, Labour 262 seats and the Lib Dems 55 seats. The Conservatives are currently on 37% of the vote, Labour on 28% and the Lib Dems on 23%.
Gordon Brown has said that it is his "duty" to try to form a stable government. Constitutionally, he is right. Given that the Tories do not have a majority, he is entitled to form a government and to try to get a Queen's speech through the Commons. He only has to resign if the Queen's speech is voted down. (Effectively it's a confidence vote.) Although some reporters travelling with him think he seems gloomy about his long-term prospects, he claims to be "energised" by the result and Labour have started semi-public negotiations with the Lib Dems about a coalition. Ministers such as Lord Mandelson and Alan Johnson have indicated that they would like to do a deal over PR.
I can't imagine Brown taking this as a mandate to carry on. But the intrigue is just beginning. Latest results here.