The Guardian.co.uk is providing live coverage of the latest exit polls and election results from across the UK with Andrew Sparrow. The exit poll has Conservatives winning 305 seats, Labour winning 255, Lib Dems winning 61, and others winning 29. “There would be a hung parliament, with the Tories 19 seats short of a majority,” says Sparrow.
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In an update at 10:08, Sparrow says, “David Dimbleby is being very hesitant about this. If these figures are right, Cleggmania has achieved nothing – and the Lib Dems (who won 62 seats in 2005) have actually lost seats.”
Sparrow adds, “Under these figures, Labour and the Lib Dems would outnumber the Tories – just. David Cameron would declare victory and demand Gordon Brown’s resignation. But Brown would be within his rights to hang on, and to try to get a Queen’s speech through parliament with the support of the Lib Dems and other minor parties. Nick Clegg, who has said that the party that wins will have a mandate to govern but who would be more likely to support a Labour Queen’s speech than a Tory one, would have a dilemma.”
Now, Felix Dennis, one of Britain’s best known self-made entrepreneurs, told me back in the 1990s that “it takes leather balls to play rugby.” I was working for Ziff-Davis at the time and we were launching a new title that was going to compete with one of his magazines. He had just hired my PR agency out from under me a day before the press conference to announce our plans.
So, if the data in the exit poll holds up, then the leaders of all three parties will be playing a lot of rugby over then next few hours … and days. And it’s going to take leather balls.