WITH THE FINAL few seats about to be declared the Conservatives and the Scottish National Party have proven themselves the clear winners of the general election 2015.
David Cameron has claimed an outright majority - with more than the necessary 323 seats secured in yesterday's election - and is likely to be heading over to see the Queen at Buckingham Palace very soon about setting up that new parliament.
Nicola Sturgeon – with much thanks to the independence referendum efforts of Alex Salmond – is currently basking in the glory of winning 56 of the 59 seats available in Scotland, in an unprecedented SNP landslide.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been dealt a devastating volley of blows across the country, with resignation statements now in from both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg..
UKIP – while losing one of the two MPs they held – have proven a popular choice of protest vote for many within the electorate, notching up second place percentages in many constituencies and consistently polling higher than the Lib Dems in counts across the country throughout the night.
However party leader Nigel Farage has also called time on his position, resigning as leader this morning.
Of UKIP's election performance he said: “I saw a shift in this election, UKIP is suddenly the party for the under thirties and young working women. There is a big change going on in politics. We believe that Britain needs to get back its democracy.”
He added; “I feel a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders.”
The ups and downs that have been felt today - as the country begins to comprehend the reality of its reconstituted government – have similarly impacted the Irish candidates who stood for parliament across Britain yesterday.
But while the many representing the Liberal Democrats felt the voter backlash first-hand - stumbling out of their respective count halls this morning in need of rest, recuperation and a new personal plan for the next five years – there were some Labour candidates, new and returning, who achieved strong wins in their seats, and also a shock departure.
Here’s how the Irish fared in the General Election 2015:
Chris Ruane – Labour – Vale of Clwyd
The shock result for the Irish community in Britain is the loss of Chris Ruane’s Labour seat in the Vale of Clwyd constituency in Wales to Tory newcomer Dr James Davies.
The son of an Irish navvy, with family roots in Co. Galway, Ruane was beaten by just 237 votes, after a recount confirmed his loss this morning.
Ruane’s departure is a devastating blow for Labour and the Irish as the 56-year-old former MP had held the constituency since it was formed in 1997 and also effectively led the All Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain in Westminster as its chair.
Jack Dromey – Labour – Birmingham, Erdington
Son of an Irish navvy and husband of fellow Labour MP Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey has retained his Birmingham seat, with 46 per cent of the votes giving him a more than 5,000 vote majority over his closet contender, the Conservatives’ Robert Alden.
Born in Kilburn, to Irish parents who hailed from counties Cork and Tipperary, Dromey has been a vocal supporter of the Irish community in Birmingham and is a regular at the city’s annual St Patrick’s Parade and Festival.
“It’s a privilege to represent the people of Erdington," he said last night, where he was returned to the post he first won in 2010 with 15,824 votes.
Conor McGinn – Labour – St Helens North
Former chair of the Labour Party Irish Society, Armagh native Conor McGinn has won his battle for the Labour-held constituency of St Helens North in Merseyside.
Continuing the success of his predecessor, Labour’s Dave Watts, who retired from the post he has held since its 1997 creation, McGinn stormed to victory with 26,738 votes – well ahead of his nearest rival, Paul Richardson of the Conservatives, on 9,087.
“The message from St Helens is loud and clear - this is a Labour borough. St Helens North stands proud today, as it always has done. I as a Member of Parliament will stand with people here as we meet the future challenges ahead,” McGinn, the son of former Newry Sinn Féin councillor Pat McGinn, said in his victory speech.
Steve Bradley – Liberal Democrat – Bath
Former Lib Dem councillor in London and a founder of the Liberal Democrat Irish Group Steve Bradley has lost out in his bid to become the MP for Bath.
Born in the North of Ireland, Bradley first moved to the city 20 years ago, where he studied at the University of Bath, before taking to local politics with the Lib Dems in London.
The first time candidate won 14,000 votes yesterday but lost the Lib Dem seat, which has been held by the party for 23 years, to the Tories – with Conservative candidate Ben Howlett totalling 17,833 votes.
“Disappointed by Bath result tonight” Bradley tweeted this morning as his result came in.
“Looking forward to focusing my efforts on helping @BigBathCityBid become reality now I've got a bit more time on my hands,” he added.
Joe Bourke – Liberal Democrats – Brentford and Isleworth
Joe Bourke scored only 8,406 votes in a constituency battle dominated by the Conservatives and Labour in the suburban borough of Brentford and Isleworth in West London.
The candidate, who has family roots in Ireland, claimed the lack of Lib Dem votes was due to the “focus on the two-horse race” adding “anything else was considered a wasted vote and I think we have suffered because of that.”
Labour scooped a narrow victory in the Tory-held sweat, with Ruth Cadbury stealing victory with 25,096 votes, just 465 more than the incumbent Mary Macleod on 24,631.
David Thorpe – Liberal Democrats – East Ham
Kildare native David Thorpe picked up just 856 votes in yesterday’s election – which didn’t make a dent in the Labour stronghold of London’s East Ham.
With a 77.6 per cent share, Labour’s Stephen Timms was retuned with 40,563 votes, trouncing his nearest contender, the Conservative Samir Jassal, who secured 6,311 over the course of the day.
Cahal Burke – Liberal Democrats – Colne Valley
The Liberal Democrat backlash continued in West Yorkshire, where Irish parliamentary hopeful Cahal Burke failed to steal a victory in Colne Valley.
With 3,407 votes he took just six per cent of those up for grabs, while Tory incumbent Jason McCartney comfortably held his position with 25,246 – a 44 per cent share of the total.
“Difficult night/morning, certainly not getting the results that our efforts deserve” Burke, a native of Kitimagh in Co. Mayo, tweeted as the results were returned.
Mark Reckless – UKIP – Rochester and Strood
Tory defector Mark Reckless has lost his Kent constituency, which swung back to the Tories despite his by-election win there last November.
Today, the second generation Irishman, whose Sligo-born mother came to Britain to find work as a nurse, wished Tory victor Kelly Tolhurst success for the next five years.
Reckless, who polled 16,009 votes to Tolhurst's 23,142, also claimed politicians should “not forget, even for a nano-second, that they are the spokesperson, champion and employee of their constituents".
Conor Burns – Conservative – Bournemouth West
First elected in 2010, Belfast-born Conor Burns easily defended his Bournemouth West seat in yesterday’s election.
The politician swept to victory in the seaside town, increasing his majority to 12,410, with 20,155 votes giving him a 48 per cent share of those up for grabs.
UKIP stole second place, with 7,745 votes in the election battleground, while Labour polled third with 7,388, ahead of the Liberal Democrats at 3,281.