Exit polls predict Conservative win – but without majority

Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha.
Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha.

DAVID Cameron looks set to remain Prime Minister with Conservatives the largest single party in the new Parliament, according to an exit poll released as ballots closed in the General Election.

In what would be a disaster for both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg if borne out by results, the joint BBC/ITN/Sky poll put Conservatives on 316 - just 10 short of the magic number of 326 needed to command an absolute majority in the House of Commons.

Labour were forecast to secure just 239 - 17 fewer than their tally at the start of the election campaign - with the Scottish National Party almost achieving a clean sweep of 58 of the 59 seats north of the border.

Liberal Democrats were predicted to be reduced to a rump of just 10 seats - enough to form a viable coalition with Tories.

Ukip were predicted to secure two seats, their first ever in a General Election.

The exit poll of around 20,000 voters is dramatically at odds with polling during the election campaign, which suggested right up to the last day that Conservatives and Labour were heading for a dead heat.