Ex-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg loses – but Vince Cable’s back

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Media captionThe moment Nick Clegg lost his seat

Nick Clegg has lost his seat to the Labour Party in Sheffield Hallam, becoming the first major figure to fall in the 2017 general election.

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats – and former deputy prime minister – had held the seat since 2005 and had a majority of 2,353 in 2015.

The seat has now been taken by Jared O’Mara with a majority of 2,125.

Former ministers Vince Cable and Jo Swinson have both won back their seats after losing them in 2015.

Lib Dems’ leader Tim Farron has kept his seat of Westmorland and Lonsdale. However, his majority fell from 8,949 to just 777.

The exit poll suggests that the Lib Dems will win 14 seats – up from the eight it won at the last election.

In his concession speech, Mr Clegg congratulated Mr O’Mara on a “spectacular victory” and said representing the constituency had been the greatest privilege of his political life.

He added: “In my time in parliament, I have never shirked from political battles. I have never retreated from the political battlefield. I have always sought to stand by the liberal values I believe in.

“But I have, of course, encountered this evening something that many people have encountered before me tonight… you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

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Media captionNick Clegg: ‘There’s a huge gulf between young and old’

Sir Vince Cable, who was business minister in the coalition government, won back his Twickenham seat from the Conservatives with a majority of 9,762.

He had been the local MP from 1997, but lost the seat to Conservative Dr Tania Mathias in 2015, who took it with a majority of 2,017.

He paid tribute to his former boss, saying Mr Clegg losing his seat was a “big loss” for the party and Parliament.

“I am very sad for him,” he told the BBC. “I went through a defeat two years ago. It is painful. But he will be looked upon by historians as a really major figure.

“I think, with hindsight, the period of the coalition government was a period of stability and competent successful government. He was one of the main architects of that and deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Ministers’ return

Ms Swinson, the former equality minister, won the seat in Dunbartonshire East from the SNP with a majority of 5,339.

She first won the seat to represent her local area from Labour in 2005 when she was just 25, becoming the first MP to have been born in the 1980s.

However, she lost it in the 2015 election when the SNP won 56 of the 59 constituencies in Scotland.

Ed Davey, the former secretary for energy and climate change, will also make his return to Westminster after retaking Kingston and Surbiton from the Tories.

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Vince Cable and Jo Swinson will return to Westminster

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross has been won back from the SNP by Jamie Stone with a majority of 2,044, and in Edinburgh West, Christine Jardine got a majority of 2,988.

Tom Brake has held Carshalton and Wallington, despite him believing it would be the hardest election he would ever fight.

Norman Lamb held his constituency of Norfolk North, albeit with a smaller majority than 2015 of 3,512.

And Alistair Carmichael has held Orkney and Shetland with a majority of 4,563.

The party gained a seat in Bath from the Conservatives, with candidate Wera Hobhouse winning a majority of 5,694.

It has also gained the seat of Eastbourne from the Conservatives, with a majority of 1,609, and the seat of Oxford West and Abingdon, with a majority of just 816.

Sue McGuire lost the Southport seat, with the Lib Dems pushed into third place behind the winning Conservatives and Labour in second place.

Greg Mulholland lost in Leeds North West, being pushed into second place by Alex Sobel for Labour.

‘No coalition, no deals’

Mr Clegg took the party into a coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 and became deputy prime minister to David Cameron.

At the time, the Lib Dems held 57 seats, but after the next election five years later, the number was cut to eight.

Senior figures within the Lib Dems have ruled out a similar deal after Thursday’s election, as the Conservatives have again come out as the largest party – but failed to secure a majority.

Menzies Campbell said he would be “astonished” if Tim Farron joined with the Tories for a second coalition, or formed a “progressive alliance” with Labour.

The party’s press office has tweeted that there will be “no coalition” and “no deals”.

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Lord Campbell told the BBC: “We know about coalitions and we know [how] getting influence is very, very difficult indeed.

“Our experience after the last coalition [is] the major party gets the credit for everything that is done and the junior party takes the blame for the things the people don’t like.”

He said that Theresa May had made her position on pursuing a hard Brexit clear, adding: “How could Tim Farron possibly ally himself with that? He [could not] take the party with him, nor any of the over 100,000 membership.”

But Lord Campbell also criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit – saying it “frankly almost defies definition” – so he could not see any way Mr Farron could join with that party either.

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Lord Campbell says Tim Farron (pictured) could not take the party or membership with him to form a coalition

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown tweeted that Britain “is more polarised than ever in my life time”, if the exit polls are right.

He added: “REALLY time now for the centre to get its act together.”

How to follow results on election night

Lord Ashdown also told ITV News that Theresa May had “lost all credibility” during this election.

Speaking on Sky News, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Featherstone said: “If the exit poll is right we’ll have a government of chaos.”

The Lib Dems focused their campaign on winning the votes of Remainers, pledging a second referendum on the Brexit deal negotiations and calling for the UK to remain in the single market.

The party also pledged to put a penny on income tax to fund the NHS and to legalise cannabis.

Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-40208821