Sir Bob Russell will be very disappointed to lose in Colchester. He has been MP there since 1997 , after that election the sole Liberal Democrat MP in the East of England. The self-styled "voice of Colchester" made his mark in the commons as a shadow sports minister , campaigning successfully for darts to be recognised as an official sport and also as a member of the defence select committee speaking up for the garrison town he represented. Knighted in 2012 his colourful waistcoats and yellow socks will be missed by colleagues in the commons.
The exit poll suggests UKIP could win 2 seats tonight , if that is the case chances are both would be in Essex. They are confident of holding on in Clacton , where Douglas Carswell won that by-election last October with nearly 60% of the vote. UKIP are also targetting Thurrock and Castle Point and believe they may have a chance of a second MP in one of those constituencies. But they are also hoping for many "good second places" across the East , particularly in Cambridgeshire where they have done well in local elections in the past 3 years. And they are also confident of a good share of the vote across the region , if that is the case Labour also hope that may help them in seats like Northampton North and Peterborough.
In the East the Lib Dems have built up over the past 18 years to a tally of 4 MPs , winning Colchester in 1997, North Norfolk in 2001, Cambridge in 2005 and Norwich South in 2010. But tonight's exit poll suggest an extremely bad night for the Liberal Democrats. What would that mean in the East , well Labour are confident they will take Norwich South ( the Liberal Democrat majority there just 310 in 2010) and they think they will also win in Cambridge. And Colchester ( Lib Dem majority 6982) is on the Conservative target list, David Cameron ,George Osborne and Theresa May all visited during the campaign. And the Prime Minister told me Colchester was on his list of 23 seats he wanted to win for a Conservative majority.
We can expect to get the first results from marginal constituencies across the East between 2am and 3am, places like Northampton North and South , Bedford and Peterborough. Those are seats that Labour has held in the past and had on their target list for this election but tonight's exit poll suggests they may be unsuccessful in most of them. However Labour sources in our region believe there will be some very close contests in marginal seats in the East and that in seats like Northampton North, Bedford, Norwich and Ipswich it may come down to just a few hundred votes.
Tonight's ITV News/BBC/Sky exit poll suggests a bad night for Labour, they have 15 target seats in our region but this poll suggests they may struggle to make any gains at all.
However look out for some of the very marginal seats in the East, constituencies like Norwich South , Bedford and Waveney, where Labour may still make gains.
It also suggests a bad night for the Liberal Democrats, losing in Norwich South and perhaps close results in Colchester and Cambridge.
It looks likely that if UKIP have just 2 seats, one of those would be Clacton.
And this poll suggests the Greens could win 2 seats , if that were the case two of their top targets are Cambridge and Norwich South.
ITV News Anglia's Political Correspondent, Emma Hutchinson, reflects on the campaign in the East.Read the full story ›
With 100 days to go until the General Election, here's the first installment of ITV Anglia Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson's election blog:
It's January 27th 2015, 100 days to go until polling day on May 7th , and the countdown is on to the most unpredictable election in a generation.
Our region will be a key battleground with politicians vying to win over voters in marginal constituencies. The electoral map in the East is currently a Conservative stronghold with just 4 Liberal Democrat MPs in Norwich South, North Norfolk, Colchester and Cambridge and 3 Labour MPs in Luton North and Luton South and Corby as well as a single UKIP MP in Clacton.
Labour are targeting seats like Norwich South, Waveney, Bedford, Northampton North and Ipswic , where only a few hundred voters would have to change allegiance to change the colour of the constituency.
Meanwhile the Conservatives like the look of our region as it is and want to hang on to the seats they already have as well as trying to win back Corby, which Labour won in a by-election in 2012.
The Liberal Democrats believe they can do better than their opinion poll rating suggests and hang on in places they already have, though Norwich South will prove a very tough fight, the current Liberal Democrat majority there is just 310.
And UKIP leader Nigel Farage believes the East of England is his party's most fertile territory, they topped the poll here in the European Elections last May and won more than 50% of the vote in the Clacton by-election to get UKIP's first elected MP
Add the Greens into the mix , who say their membership is growing rapidly and they hope to do well in Norwich and Cambridge, and you can see why the only thing that's certain about this election is the date.
Our Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson on what impact Douglas Carswell's thumping victory in Clacton is likely to have elsewhere.Read the full story ›