Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brace Yourself: It's Going to Be a Long Night but You'll Be Watching History

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brace Yourself: It's Going to Be a Long Night but You'll Be Watching History

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

STOCK up your fridge, folks, we're in for a long night. The most thrilling general election for decades is coming to a climax and you seriously don't want to miss a single count.

Here is everything you need to make your predictions of what tomorrow's Standard splash headline will be when (fingers crossed!) a winner is declared.

If David Cameron's troops only scrape home in Battersea, then the Tory leader is in for a very bad night. Like Finchley and Croydon, it should be in the Tory bag with a pile of votes to spare. If not, Gordon Brown could stay put at No 10 with a much smaller majority.

Further along the scale, we are in hung parliament territory. If the Tories scrape home in Enfield North but fail to take Hendon, there's a nightmare ahead. That feeble swing of three or four per cent means you could find Labour with more seats but the Conservatives with a bigger share of the vote.

Take a deep breath and wait for some more results. Labour supporters can have half a cheer though, for Mr Brown has a chance of clinging on. Watch out for these two milestones: if Health Minister Ann Keen (aka Mrs Expenses) loses in Brentford & Isleworth and Tory Shaun Bailey takes Hammersmith, then David Cameron has broken through the critical 4.3 per cent swing that would make him leader of the biggest party -- and almost certainly Prime Minister.

The big question is whether he gets an overall majority. He needs a national swing of almost seven per cent, which is bigger than any Tory leader has managed since the war.

Keep an eye open for the result in Tooting, where Sadiq Khan is defending a majority of 5,169. If Tory Mark Clarke wins this seat --Labour since the Seventies, with some votes to spare then Cameron is on course for his majority.

Nick Clegg's amazing surge has made things more complicated. Ealing Central & Acton is a three-way marginal that the third party could win if the surge is as big as it looks on paper. …

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