Election 2015: Staying up? Here are the key moments to watch

Staying up to watch the results come in? Matthew Partridge highlights the key moments to look out for throughout election night.


Watch out for the 'Portillo moments'

The polls have already opened.

We may not know how things stand until the morning, and even then it may take weeks to form a government. (And if you haven't already signed up for our post-election survival guide, do it now before the polls shut!)

However, if you're planning on staying up for part (or even all of the night), here's what to watch out for.

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10pm:The polls close

A few minutes afterwards, the exit poll will be released. These exit polls are generally accurate, correctly calling the last four elections.

However, the rise of traditionally smaller parties, the unique situation in Scotland and several hard-fought individual contests, make the pollster's task much harder.

There is also the possibility that people may simply lie, skewing the result. In 1992, the exit polls infamously predicted a hung parliament (albeit with the Conservatives as the largest party). In the end, John Major was returned to office with a majority of seats and a wide margin in votes.

11pm: First English results

Houghton and Sunderland South

While these are all safe Labour seats, it may give an indication of the swing between Labour and the Conservatives.

1am: First marginal constituency



While Labour is very unlikely to lose Dagenham and Rainham, the swing there might give an indication to how the contests in London may pan out.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) is expected to be the first Scottish seat to declare. While the SNP should increase their majority, again the size of the swing may give hints about the scale of the 'ajockalypse'.

2am: More seats start to declare

These include several Scottish seats, including Kirkcaldy (the safest Labour seat). If the SNP is able to win there, we can expect party leader Nicola Sturgeon to be very happy.

In London, the key marginal is Battersea, where a victory would be very good for Ed Miliband, the Labour leader.

3am 4.30am: Will we see this election's Portillo moments?

In Scotland, all the Glasgow seats will declare at 3am, followed by the Edinburgh constituencies an hour later.

In London, Bermondsey and Old Southwark (where I'll be) at 3am, and Sheffield Hallam at 4.30am could provide 'Portillo moments' for both Lib Dems Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg respectively.

If the Conservatives are doing especially badly, prime minister David Cameron may use his count at Witney to concede the overall contest (though obviously, he will retain his seat). Of course, Ed Miliband could do the same at Doncaster North at 4am.

Thurrock, a three-way Labour/Conservative/Ukip contest, will declare at 3am.

5am 6.30am: Make or break for Nigel Farage

As well as many safer Conservative seats, this includes several Lib Dem-Conservative contests, such as Mid Dorset and North Poole (5am) and St Austell and Newquay (6.30am).

Thanet South, the three-way contest involving Ukip's Nigel Farage will declare at 6am.

7am onward: Still all to play for?

St Ives

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Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri