Report amended with final result on May 9th
Prime Minister David Cameron won a stunning election victory in Britain, confounding poll predictions that the vote would be the closest in decades to sweep into office for another five years with a clear majority and his Labour opponents in tatters.
The sterling currency, bonds and shares surged on a result that reversed near-universal expectations of an inconclusive “hung parliament”, in which Cameron would have had to jockey for power with Labour rival Ed Miliband.
Instead, Cameron met Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace to accept a mandate to form the first majority Conservative government since John Major’s surprise victory in 1992.
Despite the unexpectedly decisive outcome, longer-term uncertainty looms over whether Britain will stay in the European Union – and even hold together as a country. Secessionists swept the board in Scotland, and Cameron repeated a promise to hold a referendum on membership in the EU.
With all results declared in the 650-seat house, the Conservatives held 331 and Labour 232 [a House of Commons majority of 12]. The centre-left Liberal Democrats, who supported Cameron in government since 2010, were all but wiped out, reduced to eight seats from 57.
Scottish nationalists won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats, up from just six five years ago.
The anti-EU, populist UK Independence Party (UKIP) surged into third place in the overall vote tally, but disappointed its followers by managing to place first in only one district to win just a single seat. Like Labour’s Miliband, Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage resigned as party leaders.
Sterling gained more than 2 cents against the dollar to rise above $1.55 for the first time since late February, and looked on track to enjoy its biggest one-day gain against the euro since January 2009.
Read it all and there is a report from the BBC