Ed Miliband has resigned as the leader of Labour following the party's defeat to the Conservative's in yesterday's General Election.

The resignation comes shortly after Nick Clegg also stepped down as Liberal Democrat leader after a disastrous election night for his party.

Earlier Nigel Farage resigned as Ukip leader after finishing second in Thanet South.

He told activists "I'm a man of my word" after promising defeat would force him to quit.

Tory leader David Cameron is now preparing to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace to confirm his second term as Prime Minister after a dramatic night which saw the Scottish National Party sweep away Labour north of the border while the Liberal Democrats suffered savage losses.

The result spelt the end of Mr Miliband's hopes of entering No 10 while Mr Clegg saw his tally of Lib Dem MPs reduced to a rump of just eight.

The Labour leader wrote on his Twitter page: "The responsibility for the result is mine alone."

Ed Balls became the highest-profile casualty of a disastrous General Election performance for Labour, losing his seat to the Conservatives in a shock result by 422 votes.

He said the disappointment at his individual political demise was "as nothing compared to the sense of sorrow I have" at Labour's showing across the rest of the UK.

Ed Miliband came close to conceding defeat in a speech after holding his seat of Doncaster North, describing the election as "very disappointing and difficult" for Labour and saying that "the next government" would have a huge responsibility to hold the United Kingdom together.


Senior figures including former Blackburn MP Jack Straw said at the time Mr Miliband would have to "make up his mind about his future" as party leader.

The news came as Julie Cooper won the Burnley seat for Labour, defeating former Lib Dem MP Gordon Birtwistle.

Lancashire Telegraph:

In Blackburn, Kate Hollern ensured that Blackburn remained a Labour stronghold, in fact increasing the majority of her predecessor Jack Straw.

Lancashire Telegraph:

And in Hyndburn and Haslingden Graham Jones retained his Labour seat.

Elsewhere in East Lancashire there was good news for the Conservatives as Nigel Evans, Jake Berry and Andrew Stephenson held their seats.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans was swept back to Westminster but with a reduced majority.

The Conservative MP, who has represented the constituency since 1992, received 25,404 votes, down from 26,298 from the 2010 general election.

Mr Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, won a close fought battle against Labour's Will Straw, son of former Blackburn MP Jack.

Mr Stephenson, MP for Pendle, swept to victory with a 5,453 majority over Labour’s Azhar Ali as the picture in Pendle followed the national trend on what has been a great night for the Tories.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats suffered savage losses, with senior figures including Business Secretary Vince Cable, Energy Secretary Ed Davey and justice minister Simon Hughes ejected from the Commons by voters, although Nick Clegg held his seat in Sheffield Hallam.

An exit poll predicted the Conservatives would win 316 seats to Labour's 239, but the academic who led the operation said that early results suggested Mr Cameron's party could reach the magic 326 number needed to command an absolute majority in the House of Commons.

A Press Association forecast after 380 declarations suggested the Tories could win 325 seats, to Labour's 231.

As the SNP swept up one Labour stronghold after another - toppling the party's Scottish leader Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and snatching the former constituency of ex-prime minister Gordon Brown - the party's former leader Alex Salmond said there had been an "electoral tsunami" north of the border.

Mr Salmond, who returned to Parliament as MP for Gordon, said: ''There's going to be a lion roaring tonight, a Scottish lion, and it's going to roar with a voice that no government of whatever political complexion is going to be able to ignore."

But the party was denied the clean sweep some had predicted north of the border, as the Liberal Democrats held Orkney and Shetland, Ian Murray held on to Edinburgh South for Labour, and David Mundell remained the only Tory MP in Scotland, holding on to Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

There were signs of dissent in Labour ranks, with respected backbencher John Mann tweeting: "Can't say that Labour leadership weren't warned repeatedly - those who even bothered to meet, that is. Never hurts to listen."

Former home secretary David Blunkett urged the party not to retreat to a "bunker", saying: "We must not revert to the far left. We must not allow ourselves to turn inwards. We must try to heal the hurt that people will be feeling."

Mr Miliband said: "This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour Party.

"I want to say to all the dedicated and decent colleagues in Scotland who have lost their seats that I am deeply sorry for what has happened. And I also want to say that the next government has a huge responsibility. It has a huge responsibility in facing the very difficult task of keeping our country together.

"Whatever party we come from, if we believe in the United Kingdom we should stand up for people in every part of our United Kingdom because I believe that what unites us is much, much more than what divides us."

There were some Conservative losses, including employment minister Esther McVey, who lost Wirral West to Labour by 417 votes. But Conservative chief whip Michael Gove said it appeared Mr Cameron had won "a very handsome victory".

Mr Gove described the exit poll figures as "an unprecedented vote of confidence in David Cameron's leadership" and said he would have "considerable authority" to "go forward with a secure and stable government in the national interest".

And London mayor Boris Johnson swept back into Parliament as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, saying that voters had "decisively rejected the old-fashioned and outdated policies of division" represented by Mr Miliband.

The exit poll of 22,000 voters for BBC/ITN/Sky suggested Mr Cameron would be holding on to power by his fingertips, without the luxury of a stable coalition with a comfortable majority offered by his partnership with Liberal Democrats over the past five years.

But after Tories comfortably held the key Labour target of Nuneaton, exit poll supremo Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University said: "In practice we now have to take seriously the possibility the Tories could get an overall majority."

A collapse in Liberal Democrat numbers was predicted to leave the party with just 10 seats - down from 57 in 2010.

High-profile casualties included Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone, women's minister Jo Swinson and whip Jenny Willott. Former leader Charles Kennedy left Parliament after 32 years, losing his seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber to the SNP.

With a sharply-reduced presence on the green benches, the Lib Dems will have far less clout as a possible coalition partner, particularly if they are dominated by left-of-centre figures such as former president Tim Farron, a certain contender for leader.

Ukip gained its first seat in a general election, but its majority in Clacton was significantly reduced from the by-election last year when Tory defector Douglas Carswell became its first elected MP. It missed out on targets in Thurrock, Castle Point and Great Grimsby.


See all the action from the counts in our General election gallery http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/photos/2015_photos/general_election_2015_results/