Bruce Forsyth and some other highlights

Election 2010: Guffwatch!

Highlights so far. The main one has to be that absolutely excruciating moment when Bruce Forsyth tried to rally a 1985-style BBC boat party into a "To see you NICE" chant. The horror, the horror.

Otherwise let's take a long, hard, analytical look, not at the exit polls but at the . . . BBC coverage! Yes, indeed. First there was a surge of soundtracked strings, à la Hollywood. Then good old David Dimbleby, holding the proverbial ship together as the sound failed all around him, and then, at last, Paxo with his trio of party spokespeople and an odd time-lagged interview with Alan Johnson that made it sound like an awkward conversation between two teenagers hoping for a first date.

But in conclusion. Go, Bridget Phillipson! Sunderland, in the bonkers race to be first, seemed almost to trip over itself with all its bouncing students carrying ballot boxes. But they made it in the end. And if no one else who you like wins for the rest of the night, just think of the election officials of Houghton and Sunderland South, counting those votes quicker than anyone else. Yessss!

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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Labour slumps to fourth place in North Hykeham and Sleaford by-election

Conservative candidate Caroline Johnson eased to victory as Labour tumbled from second to fourth place.

Caroline Johnson was elected as the Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, while Labour slumped from second to fourth behind Ukip and the Liberal Democrats, who finished second and third respectively. The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Stephen Philips.

The seat, which has been safely Conservative since its creation, backed Brexit by a 20-point margin on 23 June. The Tory victory, with 53.5 per cent of the vote, is one of the party’s all-time best by-election performances while in government. 

Johnson won with 17,570 votes. In second was Ukip's Victoria Ayling, with 4,426 votes. Ross Pepper recieved 3,606 votes, while Labour's Jim Clarke got 3,363 votes.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.