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It ain't over until we see the fat lady

What can we conclude so far? The BBC exit poll points to a hung parliament, but I have a strong hunch the Tories may end up doing better than the instant predictions. The swings against Labour in safe seats in the north-east are very striking - particularly given David Cameron's recent pronouncements about how public money is likely to be drained from this part of the world.

Another early story is the fact that significant numbers of people have been denied the right to vote in Sheffield, Manchester and East London. This situation has led to a public protest in Hackney, with disenfranchised members of the public holding a spontaneous sit-in. Without a doubt, some of the results may be open to legal challenge and this could prove significant if the final number of seats is finely balanced.

We have a long night ahead of us

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