Brown has first dibs at trying to form a coalition. This is interesting:
Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, is claiming that talks between Labour and the Lib Dems about forming a coalition government have already begun. The Tories will end the night with more seats, but convention dictates that the party currently in power gets the first chance to show it can form a new government.
But it's unimaginable that Brown would stay on - which is why the Tories' current message is that th election was a referendum on Labour and they lost. Could Clegg be PM and head a 'progressive' Lib-Lab government? Unlikely, especially after his party's poor showing tonight. But the results could still surprise us in the morning. The Telegraph again:
It's such a mixed picture. Tories are picking up seats they didn't necessarily expect to win, and failing to take some slam-dunks. The Lib Dem vote is - bafflingly - down in many places, but they've picked up a couple of seats. There has been a 12pc swing against Labour in some of their heartlands, but elsewhere they've gained vote share. Messy messy messy.
The knife-edge Tory-Lib-Dem marginal of Guildford, where my sister and mum live, swung strongly to the Tories:
The seat was No1 on the Lib Dem target list (they only needed a swing of 0.09pc) but Tory candidate Anne Milton increased her majority to 7,782. Tonight may be even worse for the Lib Dems than the dreadful early exit poll indicated.
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