As the results come in, look out for these five Labour/Tory battleground seats. They could be early indicators of whether we'll see Cameron or Miliband in Number 10
Due to be announced: 1 am
Nuneaton is expected to be the first Tory-held marginal to be announced. The Tories won by a 2,069 majority in 2010, but Labour currently leads by a small majority in Lord Ashcroft’s polls, meaning this is the kind of seat that Labour needs to be winning if it wants to form a government. If Labour doesn’t win here, it could be an early sign that things aren’t looking good for Ed Miliband.
Due to be announced: 3 am
Lord Ashcroft’s polling finds this seat tied between Labour and Conservative, both on 37 per cent. In 2010 the Conservatives won by a majority of 3,544. The seat has tended to go with the winning party; the Conservatives won it in 1992, Labour in 1997, 2001 and 2005, always by fairly small majorities. If Cameron loses this seat it could speel doom for the former Etonian.
Hampstead & Kilburn
Due to be announced: 3 am
Retired MP Glenda Jackson beat the Conservatives to this seat by just 42 votes, and the Lib Dems by 399. This makes it one of the only genuine three-way marginals in the country. Prominent Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz is not expected to replicate 2010’s success due to dissatisfaction with the coalition. Meanwhile Lord Ashcroft polling puts Labour on 47 per cent, the Conservatives on 30 per cent and the Lib Dems on 13 per cent. If the Conservatives confound the polls and take the seat it could spell a Labour defeat in a number of similar seats.
Due to be announced: 4 am
Ashfield has a history of being a very safe Labour seat, but in 2010 the Lib Dems came within a couple of hundred votes in the second largest Labour-Lib Dem swing in the country. Gloria De Piero is defending a Labour majority of just 192 in the Nottinghamshire seat. There is now a significant UKIP threat in the seat; UKIP finished eight points clear of Labour last May on 37 per cent, up from just 1.9 per cent in 2010.
Finchley & Golders Green
Due to be announced: 5 am
This is a symbolic seat that Labour will badly want to win; Margaret Thatcher held it for 33 years. The seat had been Labour for 13 years until 2010, and Lord Ashcroft currently puts Labour two points ahead of the Tories. Labour are expected to take eight seats in the capital, and if this is realised, Thatcher’s seat would be the jewel in the crown as Labour retake London.
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.