In Brief

Ed Balls loses his seat in shock result

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls loses his seat to the Conservatives following a recount

Ed Balls

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has lost his Morley and Outwood seat to Conservative candidate Andrea Jenkins by 422 votes. 

Balls, who has been an MP since 2005, becomes "the highest profile Labour casualty" on a "terrible election night" for the party, The Guardian says.

In his concession speech following a recount of the ballot, Balls congratulated his political opponents and thanked his campaign team. The outgoing MP said that any personal disappointment he had was "nothing compared to the sense of sorrow I have about what has happened to Labour", The Guardian reports.

The shadow chancellor had earlier admitted that he had "a fight on his hands", after early rumours suggested that he had lost his seat.

Speaking to ITV News soon after polling stations closed, Balls did not respond directly to the suggestion that he may have lost. But he told the BBC's David Dimbleby shortly before midnight that it was far too early to predict the outcome of the race. "The ballot boxes haven't even arrived," he said. "I've fought very hard in my campaign and we'll see what the result is when it arrives."

The first report that Balls might lose his seat came from Michael Freeman, a former adviser to Conservative chief whip Michael Gove.

Then at about 5am the pace of rumours began to pick up once again, as reporters suggested that Balls was on the way out. A BBC reporter at the count said Conservatives were very hopeful of securing a victory, and that one official had said that you "couldn't get a fag paper between the two candidates.

The shadow chancellor won the West Yorkshire constituency with a majority of 1,101 in 2010, but has now been ousted by Conservative, Andrea Jenkyns. In his concession speech, Balls said he was confident that Labour would bounce back.

The Conservatives are on course to win a narrow working majority after yesterday's general election, according to a BBC projection based on exit polling and results from two-thirds of constituencies. Labour is forecast to end up with 239 seats.

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