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Tweeting through the night

Rory Cellan-Jones | 05:53 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

Following the night's events online via Twitter:

2200 As the exit poll is published, there is shock from Lib Dem supporters. The LibDemVoice blog says of exit polls: "they don't count postals and have been wrong most years."

2215 Sentiment on the Lexalytic Twitter tracker shows a big dip for the Liberal Democrats.

2230 Arnold Schwarzenegger uses Twitter to congratulate David Cameron:

"Just called @davidcameron to congratulate him on the victory. Even though results aren't in we know the Conservatives had a great day".

He may be unaware that @davidcameron is not the property of the Conservative leader.

2245 There are reports that so many people arrived at polling stations late in the day that they've been unable to cast their ballots.

A tweeter called @quercuskids says: "Sit-in at hackney polling station as people not being allowed to vote."

2300 Right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes has more rumours about possible Labour casualties: "Feeling is Blears holds on Jacqui loses"

2330 More reports of trouble at polling stations:

"Deputy returning officer at Ranmoor polling station in Sheffield says she took advice from Electoral Commission in turning away voters."

0030 Now reports that the students at Ranmoor were separated from residents. One voter runs through the events of the night:

"To clarify: I was at Ranmoor (Cleggy's me MP) I was working as a teacher from 8 until 4 today, then had a medical appointment, then went at 7pm to try to vote-queues so came back at 8:50. I am not lazy and did all I could to vote.Adhoc poll showed most in there too were Lib/Lab"

0100 Now that results are starting to come in, the attention turns back to the result. Tory tweeters start cautious celebrations as big swings to their party emerge.

0130 Students who believe they got a raw deal at that Sheffield polling station have swung into action. They have created a Facebook group, called "Discrimination against students at St. Johns Ranmoor polling station." It has already attracted 1660 members.

0200 Now the mood changes again. Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome is worried that his party is not hitting all its targets:

"Failing to win Telford, Tooting and Gedling is worrying for the Tory chances of winning a majority."

By contrast there's this from a Labour Tweeter:

"Vernon Coaker holds Gedling!!!! Yaaaaaaaaay!!!! hard work pays off!"

0300 It seems that Twitterers are staying up to find out how this plays out. The volume of Tweets peaked at around 0200 and is still pretty high.

0315 Online betting firms, which have seen millions bet on this campaign, are still taking bets on the outcome, with a hung Parliament now an odds-on favourite.

0345 The Liberal Democrat Evan Harris is tweeting anxiously from his count in Oxford West: "I'm in a recount folks! #lookingdifficult"

0415 The Liberal Democrat Dr Evan Harris, who was under fire from Christians during the campaign for his stance on issues such as euthanasia, loses his Oxford West and Abingdon seat by a very narrow margin.

Tim Montgomerie, the Christian Conservative blogger, is quick to rejoice: "There is a God!!!! Evan Harris has lost Oxford West & Abingdon."

0430 Labour's Ed Balls hangs onto his Morley and Outwood seat by a slim margin. He had been targeted by right-wing bloggers who paid for an attack video, accusing him of dressing up as a Nazi at Oxford and having a privileged background. One of the few constituencies where online campaigning played a big part - and fell just short of success.

0500 Labour's Maryam Khan suffers defeat in Bury North. After spending much of the campaign tweeting in abbreviated "txt" style, she signs off with this:

"Lost #buryN thanks 4 all that helped n supported me-appreciate it :o)"

0530 Just popped out to see the dawn breaking over TV Centre - seven and a half hours after that much derided exit poll, it's now looking like it might give a pretty accurate picture of the final result. When I return to the studio, I find Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home thinks much the same, while putting a positive spin on it:

"ConHome sources expect to get 310 seats; this is the magic number to be able to out-vote Labour and the LibDems."



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