Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2015: Hour-by-hour guide to counts and results in Northern Ireland

By Bill White

So it's getting close to the pop-corn, slippers, and perhaps that stiff drink time as people start getting ready to watch the all night marathon of the election results coverage.

I've reproduced a quick summary of what could be the key seat declarations and the key points to look out for during the marathon results coverage.

The Belfast Telegraph will have reporters at every count across Northern Ireland and will be bringing you live updates as the results come in throughout the night and early hours of the morning. You can follow live coverage here.

>>Follow the counts as they come in - click here<<

There will also be updates live as they happen from Belfast Telegraph reporters via Twitter @beltel and on the Facebook page.

Updates will also be provided by LucidTalk who will be at the Belfast counts, you can follow LucidTalk on Twitter: @LucidTalk.

Shortly after the polls close at 10pm we'll hear the results of the exit polls at around 10.05. These are usually very accurate - in 2010 it projected Conservative 307 (actually 307), Labour 255 (258), Liberal Democrat 60 (57), but it could be different this time as there probably will be an uneven national swing.

However the polling companies are compensating for this by targeting key marginal seats, and modifying their modelling to enable an accurate prediction. It will be interesting to see how accurate this 2015 exit poll turns out to be.  

Here's our approximate guide to the Northern Ireland declarations:

We're not making any comments on the Northern Ireland seats as you've already had plenty of analysis and commentary from us, with our monthly NI-Wide Opinion Panel polls - let's just wait on the results now.

Incidentally don't hold us to this timetable, as it's a lot more precarious and risky predicting election declaration times, than it is doing Opinion Polls.

Estimated expected results times:

Foyle   1.45am 

Antrim North  2.00am

Down North   2:00am 

Lagan Valley  2:15am 

Belfast West  2:15am 

Antrim East   2:30am 

Upper Bann  2.30am

Belfast North  2:30am 

Belfast East   2:45am 

Belfast South   2.45am 

Tyrone West  2.45am 

Strangford   3.00am 

Antrim South  3.00am

Londonderry East 3:15am

Down South   3:45am 

Newry & Armagh 3.45am

Ulster Mid  4.00am 

Fermanagh & South Tyrone 5:15am


Other seats, and issues to look out for are:

In Scotland, Na-hEileanan an Iar (Western Isles) may be the first Scottish seat to declare at around 2am and should be held by the SNP - although it returned a vote against independence last September. The first Scottish mainland declaration is expected to be in Angus. 

3am: Labour should be well ahead at this stage regardless of the final result, as urban Labour-leaning constituencies tend to declare first. Also London will be declaring faster due to them having no borough elections this time, and London will be mostly Labour.

As we know in Northern Ireland, when you have more than one election on the same day it slows up the count process

3.15am: In Scotland, around this time, watch out for Lanark & Hamilton East and East Kilbride both safe Labour seats (or used to be) - If the SNP win these, then they're on their way to 40+ seats. Plus if they win Gordon Brown’s old seat of Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath (a big ask) then they're on for a landslide. 

 If Nationalists in Wales are going well, then Plaid may also be aiming to overturn a seven-point deficit to Labour in Ynys Mon (Anglesey). Other Welsh seats should go with form.

3.30am: In England, Northampton North and South should declare about now. These were both Conservative gains from Labour last time – Labour needs to take Northampton North, if it hopes to become the largest party; and if it takes both an overall Labour majority is in prospect. Likewise the Conservative marginals of Ipswich and Halesowen & Rowley Regis need to be held for the Conservatives to remain the largest party. 

3.30 - 3.45am: For an absolute majority, the Conservatives would probably need to have taken the lead in total seats won by about now.

4am: In Scotland, around about this time, the Glasgow seats will probably have declared. These will be key in determining if the SNP are heading towards the largest party in Scotland (unless they already are by this time), or Labour have stemmed the tide.

If you're still awake by this time then an overall picture of the final result should be emerging.

Bill White is Managing Director of Belfast polling and market research company LucidTalk, polling partners to the Belfast Telegraph.

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