Election 2015: Live results blog

Mike Freer holds Finchley and Golders Green, Matthew Offord holds Hendon, Lee Scott beaten in Ilford North, Luciana Berger increases majority



Good morning - if you are just waking up, here are the key points from the night's coverage:

● Mike Freer (Cons) holds Finchley and Golders Green

● Matthew Offord (Cons) holds Hendon and increases majority

● Lee Scott (Cons) loses Ilford North to Labour's Wes Streeting by 589 votes

● Luciana Berger (Lab) remains Britain's youngest Jewish MP and increases her majority in Liverpool Wavertree

● Lynne Featherstone, the most senior Jewish Liberal Democrat minister, loses her Hornsey and Wood Green seat

● Ivan Lewis (Lab) holds Bury South

● Bob Blackman (Cons) holds Harrow East

● Gareth Thomas (Lab) holds Harrow West, beating Jewish Tory candidate Hannah David

● In Bradford, Lib Dem David Ward and Respect MP George Galloway are both defeated

● The Conservatives are likely to be the biggest party and David Cameron is expected to remain as Prime Minister

● Labour leader Ed Miliband comes close to conceding defeat

● Labour routed in Scotland, with the SNP taking dozens of seats

● The Liberal Democrats suffer heavy losses, including key figures such as Vince Cable and Danny Alexander


Eight hours in and we are now down to the last few results from our focus list.

In Cambridge, Jewish Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert has been beaten and loses his seat.

Meanwhile in Bradford West, the aforementioned controversial Lib Dem David Ward is also beaten, losing by more than 7,000 votes to Labour.

My live-blogging is almost at an end, but my colleagues will be here from 7am with full constituency result stories and updates for you.


Results still pouring in.

In Watford, Richard Harrington has won a comprehensive victory, turning his previous majority of 1,425 into a substantial lead of 9,794.


And another big name on our list defies the polls to romp to victory - Mike Freer holds Finchley and Golders Green for the Conservatives, beating Sarah Sackman who had at one stage apparently nudged a point ahead.

Mr Freer won 25,835 votes to Ms Sackman's 20,173 - a majority of more than 5,000. In 2010 his majority was 5,809.

In Manchester, Ivan Lewis holds Bury South for Labour. The former Middle East minister increases his majority to 4,922, beating Tory candidate Daniel Critchlow.

Mr Lewis won 21,272 votes to Mr Critchlow's 16,350. He is likely to figure prominently on the Labour frontbenches in the new Parliament.

Nick Clegg wins in Sheffield Hallam, although the way things are going for the Lib Dems he might well end up wishing he hadn't...


A veritable tsunami of big results now...

In Hampstead and Kilburn, Labour's Tulip Siddiq wins. She beat the Jewish Conservative candidate Simon Marcus and the Lib Dems' Maajid Nawaz.

Ms Siddiq, who campaigned for months in what was the second tightest seat in the country, won by 1,138.

In Harrow West, Labour's Shadow Middle East minister Gareth Thomas defeated Jewish Conservative candidate Hananh David. Mr Thomas won 21,885 votes to Mrs David's 19,677. That represented a 2,208 majority, a slight drop from his 2010 figure of 3,143.


A huge win for the Conservatives - Matthew Offord holds Hendon, by beating Labour's Andrew Dismore and increasing his majority from 106 to 3,724.

It was widely expected that Hendon would again be one of the tightest seats in the country, but Mr Offord has pulled off a sizeable victory.

Mr Offord won 24,328 votes, with Mr Dismore collecting 20,604.

Ukip's Jewish candidate Raymond Shamash got 2,595, and the Green's Jewish candidate Ben Samuel got 1,015, coming fifth. Lib Dem Alasdair Hill got 1,088.

The constituency has the second biggest Jewish electorate in the country and Ed Miliband's stance on Israel was expected by many to be a key factor in who would win. Even so, Mr Offord's victory is a breath-taking win.

Likewise in Harrow East, another of our key focus seats, Bob Blackman held the seat for the Tories, beating Labour's Uma Kumaran.

Mr Blackman won 24,668 votes, putting him 4,757 ahead of Ms Kumaran who won 19,911 votes. The constituency is home to sizeable Jewish communities in Stanmore and Belmont. The Labour candidate had been expected to come close to winning, but the Tory MP's majority is now increased, from 3,403 five years ago.


Wow, what a rush of incredible results in the last half hour or so.

It's almost impossible to measure the scale of the Lib Dem massacre we've seen tonight.

For Lynne Featherstone, a senior party minister, to not only give up a 6,000-plus majority, but to be beaten by 11,000 is almost unimaginable.

Reflecting on the Wes Streeting win in Ilford North - Lee Scott was a good MP who worked very hard for the Jewish community. Fortunately, many will think, Mr Streeting will be just as good a friend to Jews in the constituency. He will also rise rapidly through the Labour party, given the losses its frontbench has suffered tonight.


And another huge Jewish winner as the clock strikes four - Luciana Berger romps home in Liverpool Wavertree.

Britain's youngest Jewish MP has increased her majority to 24,303.

Lynne Featherstone, the most senior Jewish minister in the last government, loses her seat in Hornsey and Wood Green.

She had been defending a majority of 6,875 but lost by more than 11,000 votes to Labour's Catherine West.


Here we go! The first BIG shock of the night in one of our key constituencies.

Labour's Wes Streeting has won Ilford North, beating Tory Lee Scott by 21,463 votes to 20,874. That's a majority of 589.

Mr Scott had had a majority of 5,404 in a constituency where 6.5 per cent of voters are Jewish.

Former NUS president Mr Streeting wants to be Education Secretary one day. Given Labour's performance tonight, he may find himself in the party's top team sooner than expected...

Jewish grandmother Doris Osen, an independent candidate and the oldest in the country, won just 87 votes :(

In less surprising news, David Cameron's former deputy chief of staff, Oliver Dowden, has held the Hertsmere seat for the party.

Hertsmere has been one of the Tories' safest seats. James Clappison, who was a chair of Conservative Friends of Israel, retired before the election.


As predicted at 01.15 - Respect's George Galloway has lost his Bradford West seat.

Results coming in thick and fast now - in Brent Central, Labour have won, with the Conservatives' Jewish candidate Alan Mendoza, of the Henry Jackson Society think tank, coming second with 9,567 votes. He was more than 19,000 votes behind Labour's Dawn Butler, but increased the Tory share by 9.2 per cent on 2010.


Finally! After hours of waiting we have a Jewish MP re-elected.

Robert Halfon has won his seat of Harlow again, with a majority of 8,350 - a substantial rise from his 4,925 lead in 2010.

Mr Halfon, who has been praised for his campaigning skills in Parliament, won 21,623 votes, 48.9 per cent of the vote. Labour's Suzy Stride came second with 13,273.


It gets worse for Labour.

The party's leader in Scotland, Jim Murphy, has lost his seat in East Renfrewshire to the SNP.

Mr Murphy was a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel, and one of the few pro-Israel voices in politics north of the border.

Speaking after his defeat, the politician acknowledged the Jewish and Muslim communities in the constituency. He said Labour would begin its "fightback" in Scotland on Friday.

Just a month ago, Mr Murphy told the JC the SNP would not dictate Labour’s policy on Israel if his party was back in power. How things change in a month…


Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has been beaten by 20-year-old SNP candidate Mhairi Black in Paisley.

Mr Alexander had been an outspoken critic of Israel’s actions in Gaza last summer.

He was also believed to be one of the main party figures behind the plan to whip MPs into voting to recognise an independent Palestine in last October’s historic Commons vote.

The loss of the party’s potential Foreign Secretary, and the man behind its election campaign, is a huge blow to Ed Miliband…but given the way the night is going, it may not be the last, or the most significant for the Labour leader.

I travelled to Auschwitz with Mr Alexander in 2013 - we chatted for an hour on the plane home and he was a captivating, fascinating and polite companion.

Few Israel supporters will mourn his departure though; when he appeared at the Labour Friends of Israel conference fringe event last September, one senior Israeli embassy source told me it had been a "cheap shot" for Mr Alexander to "buy off the crowd" by using the majority of his short address to rail against rising antisemitism rather than concentrate on the Gaza issue.


The apparent impending disaster for Labour in Scotland will raise concerns among Israel supporters in the country.

The SNP’s anti-Israel stance is clear. The Scottish government issued double the number of statements during last summer’s Gaza conflict than it had during the previous three years of conflict in Syria.

Commentators had already warned what the party’s influence could be on Labour if a deal was done to put Ed Miliband in Number Ten.

But with Labour facing a possible total wipeout, the SNP’s hand would be considerably strengthened in Westminster regardless.

Robert Philpot considered the potential loss of many Scottish friends of Israel last week.


All the talk in London in recent days has been of Labour supposedly surging to take seats that were once thought to be semi-safe for the Tories.

Results such as the one just declared in Battersea – where Conservative MP Jane Ellison was said to be in trouble last week and a seat Labour saw as a top target – do not bode well for Labour candidates.

Ellison benefitted from a two per cent swing to the Tories.

That will have Labour candidates – such as Uma Kumaran, Wes Streeting, Sarah Sackman, and maybe Andrew Dismore – concerned about their prospects in our key JC focus seats in the capital.


Bradford’s Jewish community is not particularly sizeable, but many eyes will be on two of the city’s seats this morning.

Controversial Lib Dem MP David Ward is expected to lose his job. Elected in 2010 with a majority of 365 in Bradford East, he has repeatedly caused offence with comments about Jews and Israel.

The party suspended the whip from him in 2013. Before Holocaust Memorial Day that year he had used Twitter to accuse “the Jews” of afflicting “atrocities on the Palestinians”.

During last summer's Gaza conflict Mr Ward tweeted: “The big question is - if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes.”

All recent polling has suggested he would be defeated, and tonight’s exit poll, which predicted just 10 Lib Dem MPs would be elected, only adds to that possibility.

Meanwhile across the city in Bradford West, Respect party candidate George Galloway faces a tough challenge to keep his seat. He is up against Labour’s Naz Shah.

It emerged in March that the anti-Israel politician was taking legal action against Twitter users who he claimed had libelled him by alleging that he was antisemitic – an accusation he has repeatedly denied.

The BBC has said that Mr Galloway has been reported to police for allegedly breaching electoral law. It is said that he published the results of an exit poll before 10pm.

It was earlier suggested there was a recount in his seat – suggesting that the result could be close.

Whatever happens, this is unlikely to be the anti-Zionist’s last stand – he has pledged to run for the role of London mayor if he is ousted from the Commons.


A few more predictions based on the exit poll.

On the BBC, Jeremy Vine has calculated that the result would mean Conservative incumbent Bob Blackman keeps his Harrow East seat against the challenge from Labour’s promising young candidate, Uma Kumaran.

He also suggests that in Ilford North, Lee Scott would be returned as MP following an extremely close fight with former NUS president Wes Streeting.

A repeated reminder - the exit poll could be wrong!


Some random stats and figures to help pass the hours until something significant happens:

In Hendon, the result in 2010 means voters have 3.1 times more power than the average voter nationally, according to figures calculated by the Voter Power website.

The Hampstead and Kilburn constituency had the second closest result of the 650 seats last time around. Glenda Jackson won for Labour with a majority of just 42. She has retired, so a new MP will definitely be elected tonight.

Finchley and Golders Green has the highest percentage of Jewish voters in the country, with 21.1 per cent of the electorate. Outside of London (and if we exclude Hertsmere in Hertfordshire), the next largest number of Jewish voters is in Bury South – 10.2 per cent.


If you're thinking of going for a shluf, now might be the time - there are unlikely to be any key constituency results in the next couple of hours.

If the London seats we are keeping an eye on turn out to be as tight as expected, then it will be almost breakfast time before some are finally revealed.

If you are staying up, tweet me @marcusdysch or email your thoughts to - I'll post your comments on the blog.


It was meant to be close, but if the seat predictions in the exit poll come to pass tomorrow morning then it would mean a striking result for David Cameron and a second shot at power, but a dismal defeat for Ed Miliband.

It would also be music to the ears of many in the Jewish community. There is no getting away from the fact that the Jewish leader of the Labour Party is enormously unpopular among vast swathes of Anglo-Jewry.

For weeks, whenever I have mentioned Ed Miliband’s name I’ve received a string of expletives in response. No one would pretend that there aren’t still significant numbers of Labour-leaning Jews, but the party’s positioning on Israel and the Palestinians in the past year has been noticed, and rejected by the majority.

Our JC/Survation poll a month ago had Ed on less than 10 per cent personal approval ratings, a number almost too terrible to believe. But anecdotally too it added up. Last week he told me it made no difference to him, some people would agree with his stance, some wouldn’t.

Regardless of the exit poll, it may be that in a number of significant constituencies in north west London and other key areas of larger Jewish population – Hendon, Finchley and Golders Green, Harrow East, Hampstead and Kilburn, Ilford North – Miliband’s party has romped home, turfing out incumbent Tories and turning the capital red.

Maybe that would be the best result for many Jewish voters – Labour MPs at home, but David Cameron in Downing Street.

The Prime Minister has had a fantastic relationship with the Jewish community, love-bombing us with yiddishe jokes, government funding, and heartfelt Holocaust-education help for the past two years.

Might this just turn out to be a night where everyone finds something to pin their hopes on for the next five years?


The final YouGov poll, conducted online, presents a rather different result:

Con 284 Lab 263 LD 31 SNP 48 Ukip 2

That would put a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition and a Labour-SNP bloc back at almost neck-and-neck again…

Meanwhile a mention on the BBC from Emily Maitlis of one of our key seats - Hendon. She says the forecast shows it too close to call once again. As I suggested earlier, the wait to see who wins, Matthew Offord or Andrew Dismore, will run very, very late into the night.

As far as polls go, a reminder here of the JC’s key election poll conducted with Survation last month, which showed huge support for David Cameron and the Conservatives, over Mr Miliband and his party.


So the polls have closed, the exit poll is out and…the prediction is for the Conservatives to be the largest party, with 316 MPs.

Labour would be on 239, the SNP on 58 and the Lib Dems on 10, way down from 2010. That result would represent a remarkable drop of 47 seats. Ukip would pick up two seats according to the exit poll.

If these numbers come to fruition, it would represent a poor result for Labour and put David Cameron in the driving seat to return to Number Ten…but he would still need the help of other parties, most likely the Lib Dems.

Of course the exit poll may be wrong, but if it isn't, then the dozens and dozens of polls of recent weeks and months have been wildly inaccurate. They have had Labour and the Tories absolutely neck and neck. Numbers resembling the exit poll would mean a second Tory-Lib Dem coalition would just reach 326 - the key number needed for a majority in the Commons.

Even with a formal coalition with the SNP - something Ed Miliband has seemingly ruled out - Labour would be well short of enough MPs. And where would that leave Mr Miliband, the man hoping to be Britain's first Jewish Prime Minister...?


Welcome to the JC's live election blog. From 10pm I will be bringing you all the latest news and results, concentrating on the constituencies of interest to Jewish communities throughout Britain, as well as looking at the fortunes of individual Jewish candidates and the wider national picture.

We'll get under way at ten with the national exit polls.

Through the night I'll analyse what the picture across the country means for British Jewry, as well as providing details from results in key seats such as Hendon, Finchley and Golders Green, Ilford North, Hampstead and Kilburn, Harrow East, Harrow West, Bury South and Leeds North East.

Have a look at my earlier preview here to see what we'll be concentrating on.

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