The British public has awoken to news that the Conservatives are on course to win a small majority in the Commons.

Despite polls just 48 hours before the election showing a dead heat between the Tories and Labour, David Cameron’s party has won more seats than in 2010.

A handful of seats are still to declare, but the Tories have surpassed the “magic number” of 323, which gives them a majority in the Commons, taking into account Sinn Fein’s lack of appearances in Westminster and the independent role of the speaker.

In his speech after regaining his seat in Witney, David Cameron said that he intended to press on with the Tory economic plan and with a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Labour had a disappointing result, gaining a handful of seats in England from 2010, but being swept aside in Scotland by the the SNP, which won nearly every seat north of the border. Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander both lost their seats to the SNP

Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls lost his seat by just over 400 votes, and Ed Miliband is widely expected to resign as Labour leader after his failure to win a majority.

The Liberal Democrats have paid the price for going into coalition with the Tories, losing their deposits in around half the seats in which they stood – in 335 constituencies the Lib dems failed to win 5% of the vote. Lib Dem seats went to the Tories, Labour, and the SNP, leaving them with only eight MPs. Nick Clegg is expected to resign later today after what he described as a “cruel and punishing night”.

After forcing both the Tories and Labour to refocus their campaigns on the issue of immigration, UKIP only managed to win one seat, with Tory-defector Douglas Carswell retaining his seat in Clacton. However, they did manage to gain a much larger share of the popular vote, coming second in 118 seats.

Popular UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to win his seat in South Thanet and has previously pledged to resign if her failed to do so.

The big winners in the election has been the SNP, with Nicola Sturgeon’s party winning nearly every seat in Scotland – 56 out of 59 seats. The SNP had hoped to support Labour in a coalition of the left, but Labour’s failure in England has created a situation where the UK is ruled by the right-wing Conservative party, but Scotland has demonstrated its near universal support of the left-wing, anti-austerity SNP.

Caroline Lucas of the Greens is expected to retain her seat in Brighton.

Elsewhere, controversial MP George Galloway lost his seat in Bradford West and has been reported to the police for tweeting exit poll results before the voting had ended, a criminal offence.

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