(Big Ben Chimes)
PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE WIN
FORECAST UPA LARGEST PARTY IN HOUSE OF COMMONS WITH 129 SEATS
Jeremy Vine - Here we are again with the fourth BBC exit poll in four short years and again we are predicting a UPA victory on a greatly reduced majority - 129, down 43. National has increased their seats to 113, up 35. The Social Democrats on 81, up 13. The Centrists on 73, up 30. Unity on 36, down 41. RISE on 15, down 5. SNP on 15, up 6. Finally all other parties on 35. Well there you have it folks, if this exit poll is correct Bell gambled, and she’s lost. We now go over to Naga Munchetty for her analysis.
NM - Lyndon Johnson famously said the first rule of politics was to learn how to count, and the poll volunteers in town halls across the country have done a lot of counting! This is a big result, the People’s Alliance are still on top but with a deeply reduced caucus, instead of crushing the National Party, the Tories have actually rebounded somewhat. Now instead of being the only viable option for Prime Minister, Ms Ribeiro-Addy has opened the door for a right wing government.
JV - Yes, very bad news for the Alliance, National is within touching distance, and the Social Democrats - against the odds - have actually gone up. It’ll be hard to refuse Sadiq Khan’s calls for a formal coalition now the electorate have given him a mandate. A devastating night for Unity, it wasn’t long ago they were running posters with Alan Sugar as “the next Prime Minister” - now they are the weakest of the federal parties - in any talks with the other parties Unity will be at the back of the queue.
NM - The great coalition puzzle is even more complicated than it was in May, none of the issues this election was supposed to fix have been resolved. Even with the Social Democrats on board the People’s Alliance is still forty seats away from a majority. As I see it Bell has three options, a rainbow coalition of every tiny regional party, reaching out to the party’s of the right - or a fifth election. None of these options are very tempting.
JV - Yes will the UPA reach out to the recently vanquished Unity? Politicos may remember that the Greek Syriza Government went into coalition with the right-wing ANEL party so there is a precedent. Or she could even reach out to Colonel Tom for a grand coalition? With the violence in Scotland extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
NM - If Ms Ribeiro-Addy does enter Downing Street her reduced majority means the parties of the right will make her life a living hell. We’re looking at over 70 openly Mountbattenite MPs in the Commons now - I doubt they’ll be very helpful in removing the First Lord from Westminster Abbey, or relaxing abortion laws. Mr Cleverly is in a very strong position now - whenever a right-wing government was discussed the Centrists were always expected to be confidence vote partners, rather than full coalition members - but with such a strong result Cleverly has a mandate to demand Cabinet posts.
JV - It is interesting to note the Green Left Movement haven’t made it into our exit poll, we usually only include parties with ten seats or more due to margin of error issues. This means the GLM failed to break through the way some expected. It looks like Paul Mason’s new party had only hopped that electoral hurdle in one or two provinces - or maybe none at all! The GLM’s lasting legacy might be that it destroyed its mother party.
NM - Yes the Green Left was one of a thousand cuts the People’s Alliance suffered in this campaign - whether it was Owen Jones’ internal power plays, or the Socialist Alternative threatening to pull out of the Alliance - the main image the UPA has given to the voters is a party in disarray. But its biggest issue has been a decreased turnout, many younger UPA voters simply didn’t come out this time. They had voted in their droves in May with the goal of changing history and instead changed nothing.
JV - Yes my producers are telling me turnout fell by over 15% if our exit poll is correct, if not voting was a political party, they would have the biggest swing of tonight - assuming the majority of those staying at home tonight were People's Alliance voters, that apathy might have cost them the election.
NM - Yes lots of questions to be asked at the top of the People’s Alliance. It looks like Bell has one shot to get into Downing Street, I’m not sure if the coalition she built could survive another election, sources on the ground report a thoroughly exhausted and demoralised activist base. For the UPA the next few months will be do or die.
JV - Do or die indeed, Naga Munchetty thank you very much. I’m now joined by Mark Francois; he was the campaign coordinator for the Centrists. Ok Mr Francois name your price, an EU referendum? A Trump-style Muslim ban? What does Tom Tugendhat need to offer you to get you in the tent?