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Exit poll points to hung parliament

Conservatives 19 seats short of a majority, exit poll suggests.

The first (and only) exit poll has just been published and it has the Conservatives on 309 seats, Labour on 255 and the Liberal Democrats on 59. That result would leave the Tories 19 seats short of a majority.

The big shock here is the Lib Dem score. According to the poll, they will win three less seats than in 2005. Vince Cable has suggested that the non-inclusion of postal votes may explain the dismal Lib Dem total. That may be right, a lot of postal votes were cast before the Lib Dem bubble burst. But Labour is inevitably relieved that there now seems little chance of Nick Clegg's party pushing them into third place.

Exit polls have been wrong before, most notably in 1992, but it's worth remembering that at the last election the Labour majority forecast by the poll (66 seats) was spot on. That Lib Dem total does make one sceptical though.