ITV General Election 2017 coverage

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    15 June 2017

    Election fever has come across the United Kingdom as Britons go to the polls. Prime Minister Theresa May was spotted going into her polling booth this morning with husband Philip in Maidenhead. Tim Farron was spotted voting at Trinity College, Dublin. Keir Starmer's polling place in Central London was visited. Could he be the next Prime Minister? Vince Cable, Leanne Wood, and Caroline Lucas all voted in their local constituencies. 

    Polls close tonight at 10 pm. Join Julie Etchingham and Tom Bradby as they host a panel of Peta Credlin, George Osborne, Kristina Keneally, and Ed Balls as we deliver the first and most accurate news regarding the general election on ITV News. In Scotland, tune in to STV news and in Ireland, TV3. 

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    Etchingham: After 6 weeks of hard campaigning across the country, Britain has gone to the polls. Theresa May, the current Prime Minister, wanted a stronger hand to deal with the Scottish independence question. Keir Starmer took this opportunity to take the Government to task with forensic detail, and put forward a new vision for Britain. Vince Cable and Tim Farron impressed many in the debates with their offerings, and are looking to capitalise on the popularity of the Liberal Progressives. Nicola Sturgeon wants to see the referendum come, but will she be denied by the public first? Will Leanne Wood or Caroline Lucas see more Plaid or Green seats in the House of Commons.

    Welcome to the ITV General Election 2017 coverage on the results show. Joining me is Tom Bradby, ITV presenter and host of the 5 o’clock news. We’ll be directing you towards key seats in marginal areas as well as the seats of the leaders of each of the major parties in the United Kingdom. Joining us as commentators, we have editor of the London Evening Standard, George Osborne; former SDP MP and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls; Australian presenters of the top political news show on Sky News Australia, Peta Credlin (former political strategist for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull) and Kristina Keneally (former NSW Labor leader and Premier of New South Wales). Thank you all for coming, particularly you Kristina and Peta.

    Credlin: Oh, thank you for inviting us all the way from Australia. It’s going to be a fun night. I’ve always wanted to work a UK election.

    Osborne: Get ready for a bit of chaos, then. Glad to be here after a long election campaign.

    Keneally: You probably think it’s a long campaign, but the Prime Minister could go another six weeks. She’s had a bounce in her step and an assuredness and confidence that hasn’t been seen much. It’s almost as if she’s borrowed the confidence that Hillary Clinton has back in Australia.

    Balls: I don’t know why she’s being so chipper, when she’s going up against great policies put forward by the SDP.

    Etchingham: Okay, everyone. I didn’t think it was time to start the political spinning and tousling yet! Let’s look back at the election while we wait for Big Ben to chime 10. Until then, we cannot display any results or polling by law. 

    Bradby: Julie, the polls have closed and we have the exit poll, conducted by Ipsos/Mori for the BBC, Sky and of course our network, ITV. And it says that......(Big Ben begins to chime the hour)

    Theresa May, according to our exit polling, will have an increased majority in the House of Commons. She will have a majority of 26 seats, adding 20 more seats to the Government. The SDP will be on at 162, the Liberals at 18, SNP down 10 seats from the last election to 23 seats, Green holding on to their one seat, and two seats for Plaid Cymru. 

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    Bradby: It's an extraordinary result. Let's throw it to our panel. Panel, what are your thoughts?

    Credlin: Well, it's clear that in the United Kingdom, they've got their head on straight. Centre-right policies delivered by a strong, stable government. I wish that Australians didn't fall for the left's tricks and promises of money for everyone on the backs of taxing and spending wage earners and job creators.

    Keneally: Oh brother, here we go already...(laughing)

    Osborne: Peta is right though. Theresa May and the DUP ran a credible campaign filled with results. Keir Starmer, for all his campaigning, was beginning to promise the sky and the British people saw through the desperate attempts to try and win marginal seats with cash and empty promises. You can't just decide that we have money for all of these things. That's what the SDP did for almost 20 years to the British economy, and it had the lowest growth rate of any advanced economy in the region. Theresa May comes into power, she reforms the way Britain does business, gets government out of the way....we've had 3% GDP growth for two years now, and wages have increased dramatically. Pushing almost £50,000 on average now.

    Balls: I mean, the Prime Minister ran a good campaign if these numbers are true, but don't underestimate the message that Starmer and Cable were putting out there. Remember, the top 10% make over 10 times what the bottom does in this country, and that message of economic justice by both political parties of the left really has cut through to the electorate. I would challenge the exit polling there; I don't think they've got it right. 

    Keneally: But Ed, the Prime Minister is delivering. When I was in government in New South Wales, it didn't matter to the electorate if you were Labor, Conservative, Progressive...what they wanted was results and my Labor Government delivered results to the people, and you can't underestimate the value of delivering results. Theresa May has delivered economic growth across Britain, she's delivered wage growth, she's delivering projects to transform the middle of Britain into a technological hub, she's trying to diversify and include many regions in her economic plan. That has to be said for something.

    Credlin: ...I think I want to save this moment forever. Kristina is actually agreeing with the right on this one.

    Keneally: She's done a good job! I don't think left or right matters when you're dealing with an incumbent like Theresa May and her Unionist government. She's done very well; I thought she performed the best in the debates, which...kudos to Britain. These were substantive, good debates between the party leaders. It's rare to find such quality debates in Europe nowadays. 

    Bradby: Indications on how the rest of Europe might go? There's Nicolezian elections, Miracan elections, and potential Duxburian ones as well. Not to mention the Democratic Party leadership hustings in Angleter. Is there a tide towards the centre-right happening in Europe?

    Credlin: I think if this result is the way it is, hopefully. We'll have to see how the fall elections go; Europe can't spend this much money and expect to be prosperous. Economic growth and political stability are key, and that's what the right can deliver. The left is chaotic, with the ruling Social Democratic Party in Angleter being beholding to left-wing populism. The left is becoming more regressive and more dangerous than ever.

    Keneally: You can't pigeonhole the entire European left. As far as I can tell, the EPA is getting their act together and Clinton isn't going anywhere. The left is armed with better spokesmen like Edward Firoux of Inquista, Clinton back home, Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas, Vince Cable, Tim Farron, the left in Miraco and Icholasen are strong. The UK might be an anomaly in what may be a continued push towards progressive politics.

    Balls: I agree, and can I add that some of the ideas that the Prime Minister instituted came right from underneath the SDP themselves. We were the ones to start talking about a universal income; Theresa May implements it...badly, but still does it. We were the ones building the National Broadband Network; Theresa makes 100% fibre optic and is working on 5G in London. We lumped in vocational training into tertiary education's free status and the Prime Minister adds T-Levels at the secondary level. She just happens to run the economy as a right-wing conservative, but socially....she's moved her party towards the centre. That is something that can be a message to other centre-right parties. 

    Osborne: The only reason she's able to do that is that she made the difficult decisions and balanced the books. Something the SDP couldn't.

    Etchingham: Alright, we're seeing pictures out of Sunderland and Newcastle, the two constituencies trying to be the first in this election to display their results. We're going to duck over to the news desk for the news of the day, then we'll be right back.

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    Senate of the United Kingdom Exit Poll

    Democratic Unionist Party (39%): 42 senators

    Social Democratic Party (32%): 35 senators

    Liberal Progressive Party (17%): 18 senators

    Green Party (4%): 4 senators

    SNP (3.5%): 0 senators

    UKIP (1%): 0 senators

    Plaid Cymru (0.6%): 0 senators

    Etchingham: If this is correct, the Government will have an interesting time negotiating the Senate. They will have to deal directly with the Liberal Progressive Party, which could be a moderating force for the Unionists as they put forward a King's Speech and economic policies. Is this going to work for the United Kingdom?

    Balls: Well, compared to the SDP, I think the LPP are more of a natural fit to at least work with and negotiate. This has become a great and consequential election for the LPP if both exit polls hold out. They will have to decide where their party goes from here. They campaigned more to the left of the SDP on some issues, while we ran a more populist message. If I were Tim Farron or Vince Cable, I'd be excited.

    Credlin: I think the upper house is going to have to work together and not block the government or be accountable in 2019 to the British people. I know that they will do the right thing, back the Government's policies and do their job which is to scrutinise the laws passed by the Commons.

    Keneally: That will happen in theory.

    Osborne: The Liberals are an interesting story. They're trying to capture the Clinton magic, but I think they just didn't have a political beast like a Hillary or Bill Clinton to get them across the line and get them into the position of His Majesty's Official Opposition. However, they may prove to be more opposition in the Senate than the SDP, because they do hold the balance of power there on every single issue. The Senate will be interesting to watch, and as the UK people wanted in 2011, the upper house will do its proper job and be held accountable to the....

    Etchingham: I'm going to have to cut you off there, we have our first constituency result coming in. This is Houghton and Sunderland South. Let's take a look at the result. 

    It's Bridget Phillipson re-elected as the SDP MP for Houghton and Sunderland South. A slight swing from the Unionists to the Social Democrats. If they were going to be on a surge tonight, what's the number they would need to see that swing be up around?

    Credlin: In a seat as safe as this, perhaps something around 2-3%. The SDP would have to hope in a safe seat there's a massive swing as well, which means that they've got their vote out. The SDP haven't quite gotten their vote out to the levels they would like to be up here, so it could be a bloodbath further south in the Home Counties.

    Keneally: Yeah, I don't think our exit poll will be that far off. It could potentially have been a little too conservative. 

    Bradby: Let's take a look at our projected House of Commons and Senate if the exit poll is spot on. 

    So far, we're on track to this result, as the SDP would need a national swing of about 3-4% and some huge holds early on, which tend to be more SDP seats than this result would warrant.

    Osborne: Good; I think Theresa May will be lauded in her party for increasing the majority and she'll have more freedom to shape her cabinet how she wants to, and more importantly, govern in the manner she wants including NESTO negotiations.

    Keneally: Well, let's not get too hasty....NESTO is something that the SDP voters would come back on and hammer home the advantage in the English regional results, which are a month away. Plus, she's still not THAT safe from her own party. I can see the more conservative Senators for the Government blocking ratification of the treaty and breaking rank with the whip, since they have their own mandate.

    Etchingham: That's interesting, but I am going to have to cut you off Kristina. We have a couple of seats in Scotland and Ireland to show.

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    Bradby: Yes, let's look at the results in Moray, East Renfrewshire, Dublin Trinity and Kilkenny South. Kilkenny is interesting, because it's one of the more marginal seats in the election. Let's take a look at Kilkenny first.

    It's a gain from the SDP in a seat that is pretty much split evenly among the three parties. Kilkenny, a bit west of Dublin, is a key seat for any government to win, and while the DUP came in third last time, they've moved up a bit, however, the SDP incumbent, Kathleen Funchion, lost her seat to a big surge in the LPP vote, a swing of 4.5% It's something that is similar to Dublin Trinity, which is home to the area around Grafton Street, Trinity College, Dublin, and a massive amount of students and young people live in the area.

    The former DUP MP from the area retired, and it opened the door for Tim Farron to mobilise the student and youth vote and boy it turned out for him. Swinging the seat away from the Government by 10%. I don't think the Government is too concerned, however, as it looks like they're going to make some gains in Scotland and hold most of Ireland bar the more developed areas. That already puts them at an advantage, up by 5 seats from last time at this time. Now let's look at two Scottish seats back to back. Both SNP holds, but I think they'll show an interesting trend.

    Both seats, the less marginal and far safer Paisley and Renfrewshire South and Moray have both been held by the SNP, but their majorities have been reduced, in the case of Mhairi Black's massively, but the Government. Their messaging that this election was about securing Scotland's place in the United Kingdom seems to have rung true across the UK, but particularly for the Scots who would rather stay in the United Kingdom. This proxy independence referendum may have delivered the big majority for the Government that we got for our exit polling.

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    Etchingham: We have some more results coming in. This time from London. Let's jump to Tom at the results desk.

    Bradby: Not a surprise here, but Keir Starmer holds his very safe seat of Holborn and St. Pancras. It is notable that the Green candidate, Sian Berry, beat out the DUP candidate here in a swing from DUP to SDP by 10 percentage points. Red London seems to be a trend here in this election, as London backs the SDP and its plans in many places. One very marginal seat is the constituency of Ealing Central and Acton. Let's take a look at that here.

    Joy Morrissey, the DUP candidate swung this 3 way marginal seat of Ealing Central to the DUP from the SDP. It seems as though SDP did not mobilise in places that they needed to. This was one of the seats to watch for in this election, and it has gone the way of the DUP. Julie, back to you.

    Etchingham: A shock result here in London. Let's talk about it with our panel. Panel, what do these results show you?

    Osborne: It shows that Theresa May really ran a smart campaign and put all her funds and mobilisation effort on key marginals while capitalising on the popularity. She's outsmarted the SDP and LPP by focusing on areas she knew she could get out the vote that were marginal and in the safe seats, the view of her going out and speaking to people boosted the visibility, giving them even more of a vote share. Very smart from her.

    Keneally: Is it that smart though? She surrendered the seat of Dublin Trinity to Tim Farron, and then didn't capitalise on her Unionist message. I think it's more luck than smarts. 

    Credlin: But let's look at what Keir Starmer did in this election. He seems to have sandbagged the safe seats. His margin of victory in his very safe seat, and probably in rival Corbyn's seat, will be high because they're big personalities, but the SDP run a risk of losing traditionally blue collar areas around the capital and in metropolitan areas in the north like Manchester or Birmingham.

    Balls: Birmingham is that far north now??

    (Studio laughs)

    Credlin: You know what I mean. Theresa May is going to be Prime Minister based on these results. She's going to gain in the south of England very much, potentially wiping out both the SDP and LPP and the left is going to try and sandbag the north and Scotland, and parts of Wales and Ireland. That's the only way I see this exit polling staying at the same limit they are. Congratulations, Prime Minister. You have run one of the best campaigns in recent memory.

    Keneally: Oh, now she's kissing the feet of the Prime Minister, the champion of the right, Theresa May. Look, she's a great leader because she's pragmatic. She strikes me less of an ideologue and more of someone who is going to go back to the electorate and listen to what they want. She's going to tackle the income inequality in the way she feels is appropriate, probably by cutting more taxes. That's an appealing message to the electorate here in the UK. They had record high taxes under the SDP and some iffy services. She's delivering higher quality services by partnering with the private sector when she can and when it's appropriate, while also being on the right side of history in terms of social justice and economic justice. The fairness argument didn't really hold outside of the north part of the UK

    Balls: But it's precisely that reason why she should be losing this election. The fact that she isn't is a bad messaging front on the SDP, and I don't think that their euroscepticism was going to win any points in metropolitan areas, which really needed it. The SNP proposed Progressive Alliance in the UK was all about if they could moderate the eurosceptic part of the SDP, and clearly Starmer doubled down on that. The SDP Right and the SDP Left have to try again in 2022 or whenever the next general election is to win and defeat this Prime Minister.

    Osborne: Conceding defeat, are you?

    Balls: Starmer's got no chance. The party has to come together around a new leader that can unite the two wings of our party and get the Scottish, Irish, and Welsh SDP on board. 

    Etchingham: Thank you everyone. Joining us very soon will be Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP.

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    Etchingham: Now we've got First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP. First Minister, SNP numbers are down out of the Scottish seats, the 50 Scottish seats available at this Parliament. You've achieved less than a majority of the seats in Scotland at 23, the DUP are sitting at gaining 12 seats to have 13, the SDP have 8, and the LPP will hold 4. Is this a failure on your part to convince the Scottish electorate that independence is the way to go?

    Sturgeon: I don't think so. We still have the most seats and the most votes at 36.9% in Scotland, so we can ensure that Scotland's voice will be heard.

    Etchingham: But, First Minister, this was an election fought on Scottish independence and the Union, and you failed to replicate the achievement you had from last time, winning about 40 of the 50 seats available. This is a failure to convince the Scottish people that independence is best for Scotland.

    Sturgeon: No, we consider this a victory. Had Keir Starmer held up with the votes in England for the SDP, we could have kept the Unionists and Theresa May out of Downing Street. Instead, we get another Unionist government, due to the failure of the SDP to convince the electorate in England to vote for them.

    Etchingham: But the SDP won seats off of you in Scotland, and so did the Democratic Unionists. They won 12 seats off of you. You lost 17 seats, 12 of which went to the DUP immediately. The Prime Minister called the election based on the idea that this was a mandate for her to block an independence referendum. So you failed....

    Sturgeon: No, we didn't. We decided it was in Scotland's best interests to be independent from the rest of the UK, unshackled from the burden of Unionist austerity. People responded positively, and if the Prime Minister were to undermine devolution....

    Etchingham: But it isn't if that's what she put in the manifesto and this electoral result comes out.

    Sturgeon: Well, Julie, you can pass that potato around all you want. I am still proud that the SNP have 23 MPs to fight for Scotland's voice to be heard in the next Parliament. They are good MPs like Angus Robertson and Mhairi Black, who will hold this Government to account for the damage they have done through the devolution agreement to Scotland's funds. 

    Etchingham: I don't think I'm going to be able to get a straight answer on independence, so I guess that's where this stops. Thank you, First Minister.

    Sturgeon: My pleasure, Julie.

    Credlin: See, what a regressive leftist Nicola Sturgeon is. She tries to mask her failure with excuses that Theresa May and the Unionists were the ones who cut funding. They are increasing their block grants to the Scottish Parliament next year, and have not cut anything. I hope the DUP does cut their funding then, and Scotland will have to rely on its own economy, an economy that's failing under the SNP to provide for the average Scot.

    Balls: Are you sure you want to go down that political road? 

    Keneally: Leave her alone, Ed. She can get herself out of this grave that she's dug herself into. Anyway, the SNP were bound to lose seats because the idea of the Union, not the economic opportunity for Scotland, was the centre of debate and that was cleverly devised by Theresa May and Ruth Davidson. They convinced Scottish voters not to vote for the SNP to keep the Union and back the DUP, the only party in the UK with Union in their name.

    Osborne: Yes, and Scotland is a valuable member of the United Kingdom. We want to see Scotland grow and prosper, just like every part of our United Kingdom. What Sturgeon wants to do and wants to play at is partisan politics by means of identity, and that to be a Scot, you are on the political left and you hate everything about the Unionists and a Unionist government is the worst thing to ever happen. Let's not forget, mind you, that the great economists that promoted market capitalism were from Scotland and England together. So let's keep our country together, and let's move on into the future a more secure, stable Britain.

    Credlin: Well said! 

    Bradby: Let's get another result in here. Norwich North has just finished, and it has Chloe Smith, Cabinet Secretary. Let's see the result

    The DUP hold this marginal seat, a swing away from UKIP to the SDP by 13.!% couldn't get it to fall into the win column from the SDP. 

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    Bradby: Welcome back to results table. We just got Petersborough in where the DUP held, with a slight swing to SDP of 2.4%. The SDP need a 4 point swing across the board, and that's under the swing needed, so the DUP hold on to it. Petersborough, watch out for it in the next election. This has turned into a purple seat, a marginal seat. One more result, I think. 

    Yes, the safe seat of John Whittingdale of the DUP, the Culture Secretary. His majority increased with the major swing coming from UKIP, which pushed second place in 2015 to the SDP in a swing of 9.5. Essentially, take the second place from last time and give them just about the same amount of votes. Peter Edwards was someone who wanted to distance himself from Keir Starmer, running more as a local MP. Didn't work this time.

    Etchingham: No, it did not. Thanks Tom. Our seat totals are on target to match our exit polling. Can we get our panel back's very clear that the Government has won an increased majority, so what should the country expect from the new Government?

    Osborne: Oh, I think that Theresa May will have more leeway to put people in her Cabinet without having to cow to any of the factional elements in the DUP, the moderates vs. the hard-line conservatives. She'll shuffle the Cabinet and put people in that she wants into key positions. I think the faction that had Stephen Crabb and Sajid Javid enter as Chancellor and Foreign Secretary would be gone potentially.

    Etchingham: You think so?

    Osborne: Yeah, I think. Kristina hit it on the head. Theresa May is a results-driven pragmatist. She's good with people and facilitating discussion in the Cabinet. I think it will be a good healthy dose of Cabinet government with a bit of steel from the Prime Minister reminding everyone who exactly got them their majority. It'll be good for the party and good for the country. The new Senate will be only a minor roadblock for this second May Government. 

    Credlin: George, you've really got it. I've had the opportunity to talk to this Prime Minister as she consulted me as well as a few others on the campaign and how to get that conservative message out there that can really deliver for families and for the country. She has taken it, and while I won't say that she used all of my advice, she has taken some parts of it. It's good to see that.

    Keneally: Oh really, Peta....which of your failed policy ideas has Theresa May taken exactly? Look, she's her own woman. I expect much along the lines of what George said. Nothing too crazy, a solid Cabinet government with a backbone to the rubbish ideas and really keeping an ear to the experts and public opinion and trying to marry both or change public opinion. She's got good, solid ideas all sides of politics can get behind. It's kind of refreshing.

    Balls: Oh, Kristina. I thought you were a Labor Premier!

    Keneally: Yes, but unlike you, Ed, I had to actually govern and win an election. When you inherited power on the backs of Blair and Brown, you squandered it and lost power at a time when the left was dominating political opinion in the United Kingdom. 

    Etchingham: I think we'll be breaking to the Prime Minister's constituency soon of Maidenhead. Yes, we are...and here are the results of that one

    The Prime Minister increased her own personal majority from the last election by 11.3%. Whopping majority for Theresa May. Safest seat in the DUP right now. Let's see if she makes any comments on winning.

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    16 June 2017 - 6:00 a.m.

    Etchingham: Two more results from the election that we didn't get to cover last night. We've got the final totals coming in, soon to be ratified by the Electoral Commission. The DUP were right on target with 271 seats and will form the next government. The SDP managed to lose 15 seats in total, gaining some in Scotland to mitigate the crushing they had in England. They sit at 182. The Liberal Progressives sit at 16, the SNP at 27, down from the 40 from last time, Plaid on 3, and the Greens hold their 1. UKIP get wiped out of the Parliament altogether, though not Euroscepticism as the SDP make a pivot to court their core vote in the North by showing sceptical opinions towards the European Union. Let's take a look at the UK map.

    Look at that sea of blue across the United Kingdom. Theresa May will be expected to go to Buckingham Palace this morning to ask His Majesty the King to form the next government, of which she will have a majority of 40. Representing a vast majority of territory in England and Ireland, and clubbing the SDP in rural Wales and Scotland, she will have the freedom to shuffle and form her Cabinet in the way that she sees fit. This ends our election coverage, next will be Good Morning Britain, continuing the discussion about the election. Thank you to Kristina, Peta, George, and Ed for being here all night with me. Fancy a coffee now?

    Credlin: Yeah, a nice black coffee and a good breakfast. Kristina and I have to get home to Australia tomorrow, but we want to see more of the UK. It's been a fabulous time here.

    Keneally: Absolutely, and even though we're on opposite sides of the spectrum and get into some heated arguments on the screen, we're good friends. 

    Osborne: If ITV is buying, I'll gladly take up the offer, Julie.

    Etchingham: Well, it looks like....oh, they've brought it in for us during Good Morning Britain! Because we aren't done yet guys. We have to talk on Good Morning Britain with the presenters there as their election panel.

    Balls: Yvette is gonna hate me. That breakfast looks really good.

    Etchingham: This has been your ITV election news team, good morning everyone.

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