Election 2015: David Cameron returns to Downing Street while Ed Balls loses seat

Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha arrive at 10 Downing Street in central London.

Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha arrive at 10 Downing Street in central London. - Credit: PA

David Cameron has returned to 10 Downing Street to prepare for another term as Prime Minister after a general election that saw Ed Balls lose his seat and put the Conservatives on the brink of a majority.

Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha arrive at 10 Downing Street in central London after t

Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha arrive at 10 Downing Street in central London after the General Election put his Conservative Party on the brink of securing an absolute majority in the House of Commons. - Credit: PA

A dramatic night saw the Scottish National Party sweep Labour out of almost all its strongholds north of the border, while Liberal Democrats suffered savage losses and question marks were raised about the future of Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.

Mr Cameron all but declared victory in a speech after being returned as MP for Witney, in which he set out his intention to press ahead with an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and to build on the economic foundations laid by the coalition since 2010.

“My aim remains simple - to govern on the basis of governing for everyone in our United Kingdom,” he said.

He made clear he was determined not to allow the rising tide of nationalism to lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom, saying: “I want to bring our country together, our United Kingdom together, not least by implementing as fast as we can the devolution that we rightly promised and came together with other parties to agree both for Wales and for Scotland.

“In short, I want my party, and I hope a Government I would like to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost - the mantle of One Nation, One United Kingdom. That is how I will govern if I am fortunate enough to form a government in the coming days.”

The Prime Minister smiled and waved as he entered No 10 with wife Samantha, but made no comment to waiting reporters.

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He is expected to visit Buckingham Palace to see the Queen, and will also attend a ceremony at the Cenotaph to mark the 70th anniversary of VE-Day.

With Tories far outperforming expectations in an election which had been forecast to be a neck-and-neck race, Mr Cameron may be able to govern without coalition partners, either at the head of a minority administration or with a wafer-thin overall majority.

The scene was set for a difficult few years for the Premier, who will be acutely vulnerable to rebellions by 30-40 Conservative backbenchers, who have already shown themselves ready to defy him on issues such as Europe and the family.

A clearly crestfallen Mr 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.

Mr Miliband made no comment about his own position as he left for Westminster, though senior figures including veteran former minister Jack Straw said he would have to “make up his mind about his future” as party leader.

Liberal Democrats suffered painful reversals in what Mr Clegg termed a “cruel and punishing” night, with senior figures including Business Secretary Vince Cable, Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, Energy Secretary Ed Davey and justice minister Simon Hughes ejected from the Commons by voters.

Mr Clegg held on to his seat of Sheffield Hallam, but appeared set to stand down as leader, saying he would speak to party colleagues “about the implications of this election, both for the country and the party I lead and for my position in the Liberal Democrats” on his return to Westminster later this morning.

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For full election coverage including candidate lists for both the General and Local Elections, see here.

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