The Conservative party is likely to form the next government according to exit polls issued last night and early results from the votes counted so far, which is expected to be welcomed by retailers and end fears over the impact of political uncertainty on the economy.
An exit poll conducted by Ipsos MORI/Gfk NOP for BBC, ITV and Sky last night put the Tories on 316 seats, with Labour trailing on 239 as the SNP virtually wiped out their presence in Scotland. According to the exit poll, the Lib Dems could come away with just 10 seats, down from the 57 it had in the last government. The SNP will have 58 seats and Ukip two.
However, a revised BBC forecast at 8am today claimed the Conservatives had pulled ahead to 329, with Labour on 233, SNP 56, the Lib Dems eight and Ukip two.
A party needs 326 seats to command a majority. If the exit poll is correct, Conservative leader David Cameron will have two choices: to form another coalition or to lead a minority government. If the BBC forecast is right the Conservatives will have majority control of parliament.
Following yesterday’s vote, prominent Lib Dems including Vince Cable and Danny Alexander have lost their seats and party leader Nick Clegg is expected to make an announcement on his future shortly. Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls has also lost his seat.
Clothing and footwear retailers are likely to welcome the results of the vote; businesses Drapers spoke to this week before going to the polls said they backed a continuation of austerity measures in some form.
As the results began to emerge, sterling rose against the dollar to over $1.54.
The Conservatives’ key manifesto pledges:
- Tax-free minimum wage – people working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage will not pay income tax
- Working parents to receive 30 hours free childcare a week
- Creation of 3 million apprenticeships by the end by 2020
- Business rates review by the end of 2015 ‘to ensure that from 2017 they properly reflect the structure our modern economy’
- Eradicate employer exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts
- Triple the number of government loans for startups to 75,000
- Raise the minimum wage to £6.70 an hour by autumn 2015 from £6.50, climbing to £8 by the end of the decade