- 11 updates
There has been a collective intake of breath in the wake of the exit polls. Pollsters, academics and even politicians were not expecting to see the Conservatives ahead by such a large majority.
While the party won't win an outright majority on this polling, they would find it relatively easy to pull together a coalition. The exit poll - the final prediction we'll see ahead of results - puts the Conservatives on 316. With the Lib Dems and the DUP predicted to get 10 seats each either party could be a viable partner in government as the government will only need 323 votes to form a majority
On this evidence the coalition negotiations could be rather shorter than we had previously thought.
But, we need to be careful. Exit polls are notoriously unpredictable and this poll does differ dramatically from all the pre-election polling. But, where exit polls usually go wrong is around the smaller parties and the distribution of the vote - they are usually reliable predictors of who will win the most seats.
All this shows how quickly the political weather can change. This morning we were talking about Labour taking the most seats, and now the party seems to be in the wilderness. Only the next few hours will tell us which prediction is right.