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UK Election - Miliband: Difficult Night For Labour

Miliband: Difficult night for Labour

Labour leader Ed Miliband admits it has been a "very disappointing and difficult night" and apologised to MPs who lost their seats.



The party has haemorrhaged seats to the SNP in Scotland, but is also struggling in parts of England and Wales.

It has lost its election campaign chief Douglas Alexander, its leader in Scotland Jim Murphy, and failed to take a number of target seats.

Exit polls suggest Labour is far behind the Conservative Party.

The party had 258 seats in 2010, but is predicted to have 239. The Tories are expected to get 316 MPs.




Mr Miliband said: "This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour Party, we haven't made the gains we wanted in England and Wales and in Scotland, we have seen a surge of nationalism overwhelm our party.

"Now I want to say to all our dedicated and decent colleagues in Scotland who have lost their seats that I am deeply sorry about what has happened.

"The next government has a huge responsibility, it has a huge responsibility in facing the difficult task of keeping our country together."
Casualties

Mr Alexander lost his seat to a 20-year-old student after a massive 26.9% swing from Labour to the SNP in Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

Conceding defeat Mr Alexander said: "This, of course, has been a very difficult night for Labour.

"Scotland has chosen to oppose this Conservative government, but not place that trust in the Labour Party.

"It will be our responsibility to re-win that trust in the months and years ahead."

Mr Murphy said: "The party that has traditionally been the tireless champion of the underdog now finds itself in the position of being the underdog.

"Scotland needs a strong Labour Party and our fight-back starts tomorrow morning."

However, there have already been calls for Mr Murphy to resign.

Ian Davidson, who lost his seat in Glasgow South West, said: "Morally, as the man who has led us to the biggest ever disaster that Labour has suffered in Scotland of course he can't continue."

In the first declaration of the night, Bridget Phillipson did increase her majority in Houghton and Sunderland South.

However, it is outside of Labour's strongholds in the north-east of England that the exit polls suggest the party is struggling.

The party is taking a battering in Scotland where a surging SNP are expected to win 58 seats.

Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown's old seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath has fallen to the SNP along with a slew of other seats.

In Glasgow South West there was a massive 35% swing from Labour to the SNP as Christopher Stephens more than quadrupled the SNP vote to oust Labour.
National problem

But it is not just in Scotland that the party is struggling to make a breakthrough.

It failed to take its number one target seat, Warwickshire North, where the Tories increased their share of the vote.

Nuneaton in Warwickshire, which was 38th on its list of target seats, was a disappointing result for Labour as the Tories increased their majority by 2,813 to 4,882.

Ian Lucas was successfully re-elected in the safe Labour seat of Wrexham, but with a smaller majority as the Conservatives gained votes.

Labour had been pinning hopes on big gains in London, but again the early signs have been unpromising.

Sadiq Khan increased his majority in Tooting, but there was a swing of only 0.2% from Conservatives to Labour in the constituency.

Meanwhile in Battersea, one of the party's targets in the capital, the Conservatives actually strengthened their grip on the seat.

The party has also lost the Vale of Clwyd to the Conservatives.

But there was some good news with Labour gaining Ealing Central and Acton, Wirral West and Brentford and Isleworth from the Conservatives. They grabbed Ilford North from the Tories with a majority of 589.

Labour have also taken Burnley, Redcar, Brent Central, Simon Hughes' seat in Bermondsey and Old Southwark as well as Lynne Featherstone's Hornsey and Wood Green from the Liberal Democrats. Redcar was taken with a 19% from the Lib Dems to Labour.

Commenting on the results in Scotland, former Labour MP Dame Tessa Jowell said: "You can't lay all this on Ed Miliband.

"What's happened in Scotland to Labour hasn't just happened in the last three or four years, we don't need a new leader and this is not the moment to talk about whether we need a new leader or not."

She added: "It takes time to rebuild and that's the challenge to Labour in Scotland - to understand why the SNP have managed to sweep the country."
Power struggle

Former minister Lord Mandelson said "All the three main parties have lost this election, I mean some have lost it more than others, the Lib Dems in particular.

"But we seem to be heading towards an outcome in which no party has a majority."

In his analysis of the campaign, Lord Mandelson added: "I think the Labour Party has been squeezed by two nationalisms, obviously in Scotland by the SNP very severely indeed, but squeezed also in England by the nationalist frenzy whipped up by David Cameron and the Conservative Party.

"The Labour Party has found itself placed very uncomfortably between those two."

The exit poll predicted Labour would have even fewer seats than when Gordon Brown lost the election in 2010 after the banking crisis.

But senior party figures have played down the extent of the expected rout of Scottish Labour, with former spin doctor Alastair Campbell saying he would "eat my kilt" if the SNP get the 58 seats the polls predict.

Full results across the UK as they happen
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