London [AFP & other sources]
British prime minister David Cameron’s Conservatives are expected to win 316 seats, just short of the required majority of 326 and ahead of centre-left Labour on 239, an exit poll has showed.
Their current junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, could win 10 seats, according to the exit poll released by British broadcasters on Thursday following a close-fought general election campaign.
According to a BBC report, ‘If the exit poll is accurate, as it was in 2010, David Cameron could be on course to remain prime minister as the head of a minority government without the need for a coalition – although he might have to rely on the support of the DUP or the Lib Dems.
‘Even if Labour leader Ed Miliband was able to persuade the Lib Dems to join the SNP in backing a Labour government, he would not have the necessary numbers to get his legislative program through Parliament…
‘Labour looks set to suffer a hammering in Scotland at the hands of the SNP, with their vote dropping an average of 18 per cent.
‘But the exit poll suggests it will be an even worse night for the Lib Dems, with the party’s vote falling 16 per cent on their 2010 share – worse than the most gloomy predictions before polling day.
‘Lib Dem election chief Lord Ashdown told the BBC: “If this exit poll is right I will publicly eat my hat.”’