By Jonathan Davies

It's here! After weeks of non-stop campaigning for your votes, you, the public, finally get your say on the next government.

With the 2015 general election expected to be one of the tightest in recent history, we'll be here throughout the day (and night!) while the polls are open and the results come flooding in.

*This page is no longer live*

12:38 - And with that news, I bring to an end our live coverage of the 2015 general election. We've been live for 23 of the past 28 hours - a huge thank you to everyone who's followed it and engaged with us on Twitter.

12:36 - CONSERVATIVES WIN THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION WITH A MAJORITY

It's been inevitable for a while now, but the Conservatives have finally had their 326th seat confirmed, meaning they have officially won the general election with a majority.

12:30 - A short formal conversation will take place, and then the Queen and Prime Minister are free to have a chat.

12:29 - The Prime Minster has arrived at Buckingham Palace to inform the Queen of the outcome of the election.

12:23 - David Cameron is heading to Buckingham Palace for his audience with the Queen. And yes, we're STILL waiting for that one final seat needed for the Conservatives to confirm their majority.

12:21 - That's three out of three. We don't think there will be anymore resignations!

12:15 - ED MILIBAND RESIGNS AS LABOUR LEADER

Miliband says he is 'so sorry' for Labour MPs who lost their seat. Harriet Harman will take over as acting leader until a new one is elected. His resignation is effective after today's VE Day event.

He says the party's fight will go on during opposition and stresses 'our party has come back before, our party will come back again'.

12:09 - Still no word on that final Tory seat needed to hit 326. But Ed Miliband is about to speak at Labour HQ and is expected to resign.

11:47 - Away from resigning party leaders, he Royal Standard has been raised at Buckingham Palace, meaning the Queen is now in resident ahead of her meeting with a jubilant party leader, David Cameron.

11:41 - Well, that's two down. One to go!

11:34 - NICK CLEGG RESIGNS AS LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER.

Nick Clegg says the results of the election were 'more crushing that he could have ever feared'. He described the election as "a dark hour" for the Lib Dems and said "our party will come back, our party will win again".

11:28 - The Conservatives have secured another two seats, meaning they need just one more to cross the 326 line. But remember the latest forecasts puts them on 331.

11:25 - NIGEL FARAGE RESIGNS AS UKIP LEADER.

In a brief statement, Farage said he's going to have the summer off and consider whether or not he will standing for re-election as UKIP leader later in the year.

As expected, he reminds us of what the Lib Dems did in its five years in government with the Conservatives.

11:10 - The Conservatives now forecast to win 331 seats. There are 12 left to declare.

11:04 - To compound Lib Dems' misery even further, the party lost 335 deposits - believed to be a record.

10:57 - Nigel Farage is expected to hold a press conference when he leaves the Thanet South count. No word on time yet. Nick Clegg's has been pushed back until 11:30, by the way.

10:54 - Another hold for the Conservatives puts them on 323 which could give them a majority if the SF MPs, who rarely turn up to Westminster, and the Speaker of the House of Commons are taking out of a vote. But they're expecting to get six more seats anyway.

10:50 - Ed Miliband has tweeted to say: "I am grateful to the people who worked on our campaign and for the campaign they ran. The responsibility for the result is mine alone."

10:47 - So that's Nigel Farage's outcome sorted. Now we just have to wait for those four more seats to be declared for the Conservatives.

10:40 - It's worth remembering that 24 hours ago, we were considering the possibility of a Conservative/LibDems coalition or a Conservative/DUP/UKIP coalition. Now it's the Tories on their own, with Farage and Clegg likely to quit.

10:37 - Farage has repeatedly said he's man of his word. That means he, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are likely to quite today.

10:30 - Result - Conservatives hold Thanet South defeating Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage failed in his bid to become an MP, as the Conservatives edged nearer to the majority mark. As we've said, Farage has said he would quit if he lost.

10:18 - And it looks like Nick Clegg will be making a speech at 11:30. He and Ed Miliband are expected to resign, Nigel Farage is expected to quit if he doesn't get elected in Thanet South - has a victorious leader ever ousted three opposition party leaders in one election?

10:14 - Nigel Farage is on his way to the count in Thanet South. He's previous said that he would resign as UKIP leader if he doesn't win. So it'll be an interesting outcome.

10:06 - Another one chalked up for the Conservatives in Thanet North. Five more to go.

09:50 - Conservatives need six of the final 15 seats to win a majority.

09:43 - Prime Minister David Cameron has been videoed delivering a pretty rousing speech at Conservatives HQ. He says this election is sweeter than 2010, 1992 and 1987.

09:30 - 9:30 marks 12 hours of election coverage, 20 out of the last 25 hours! Just 17 seats left to declare.

09:25 - We're almost there! 18 seats left to declare, the Conservatives need 9 to confirm their majority.

09:18 - Ed Miliband is set to speak to Labour members at the party's HQ in London. He is then expected to publicly announce that he will step down as Labour leader.

09:03 - SNP dominance was always going to raise questions over the issue of Scottish independence. But Scotland's First Minister, still bouncing for her party's success, stresses that this election was never about independence and won't trigger another referendum.

08:52 - Prime Minister David Cameron will meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace at 12:30.

08:28 - There's 35 seats left to declare, so it hopefully won't be long until we know how big the Conservative majority is.

08:17 - Result - Labour gains Morley & Outwood from Labour's Ed Balls

In probably the biggest shock of the election, the Conservatives have ousted Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls by 422. It looks the UKIP vote damaged Labour's vote.

Another massive blow for Labour and Ed Miliband. Twenty-four hours ago, he would've had reasonable hopes that he would be Prime Minister today or in the coming days. Instead, he's lost the election, he's lost his shadow chancellor, he's lost his shadow foreign secretary (Douglas Alexander).

08:15 - Result - Conservatives gain Rochester & Strood from UKIP

08:11 - Interesting news from the financial markets. The FTSE 100 has reacted well to the news that the Conservatives will continue in government. Shares are up 2% in early trading this morning.

08:10 - Here's the full story on that research from Sage.

07:54 - Interesting research from Sage which suggests small businesses (56%) feared a hung parliament more than they feared an EU referendum (38%). That could mean some tactical voting for the Tories.

07:52 - Result - Conservative gain Dorset Mid and Poole North from Lib Dems

We're into the final few seats to be declared, and this is yet another Conservative win from the Lib Dems. This time it's with a 11.6% swing.

07:48 - Plaid Cymru were hoping to make a bigger dent in Wales, but managed to win just three seats. The party's leader Leanne Wood has said "it's not as bad as it could be for Plaid Cymru".

07:39 - Prime Minister David Cameron has returned to Downing Street, clearly very pleased to be back.

07:36 - Result - Greens hold onto Brighton Pavilion

After Greens leader Natalie Bennett lost her vote earlier, the Greens have held onto their one seat won in 2010.

07:33 - Result - Conservatives' Michael Gove holds his set in Surrey Heath

This was completely expected, but it edges the Conservatives closer to the 329 forecast.

07:31 - The final result in Scotland means that the SNP has officially won 56 of 59 seats.

07:27 - David Cameron has arrived back at Conservative HQ. And it's a big thumbs up to party workers and the press before he heads inside.

07:24 - Results - Conservatives gain Taunton Deane and St Austell and Newquay from Lib Dems

Even more gains for the Conservatives from the Lib Dems, and in the South-West where the Lib Dems were particularly strong in 2010.

07:17 - We're still waiting for Ed Balls' seat in Morley and Outwood to be declared. All night there have been reports that it's on a knife-edge. It's currently undergoing a recount, believed to be at the request of Labour.

07:11 - If you're just waking you, here's the recap:

- David Cameron will be Prime Minister, possibly in a majority government.

- Labour are set to win 25 fewer seats than under Gordon Brown in 2010. Ed Miliband is likely to step down as Labour leader.

- The SNP has dominated Scotland, winning all bar three seats.

- The Lib Dems have been obliterated, losing key figures like Danny Alexander, Vince Cable and Simon Hughes. Nick Clegg is likely to step down as Labour leader.

- Douglas Carswell has secured UKIP one seat, but we're still waiting for Nigel Farage's outcome in South Thanet.

07:10 - It's a lot of waiting now. But the latest update to the exit polls put the Conservatives even further ahead on 329, giving a 3 seat majority.

06:26 - We're now at a stage where we essentially know that Conservatives will win the election and David Cameron will be Prime Minister. Now, we're just waiting to find out which side of the majority line they will finish.

We're also waiting for the big names to come through. Ed Balls' expected seat in Morley is reportedly on a 'knife-edge'. George Osborne, Nigel Farage, Theresa May are some of the seat still to be confirmed.

06:20 - If you're wondering what has happened to Nigel Farage, we're still waiting for a declaration. The BBC's UKIP campaign correspondent says they haven't even started counting yet due to problems with volumes of votes.

06:10 - If you're just waking up to us, where have you been?!

Everyone was shocked when the exit polls forecast the Conservatives to have 316 seats, with Labour on 239. But those proved, if anything, to underestimate the Conservatives performance.

Labour leader Ed Miliband all-but conceded defeat in his speech when he was re-elected in Doncaster North after a torrid night for his party. The SNP has wiped out just about every party in Scotland and the Lib Dems have been all but wiped out across the country. The SNP has ousted Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy and Danny Alexander. Elsehwere in the UK, the Lib Dems have lost Simon Hughes and Vince Cable.

06:07 - Result - Labour gains Bradford West from Respect party

Labour has pulled off an 11,420 majority to gain Bradford West from the controversial character George Galloway of the Respect party. Just a reminder, Galloway was reported to the police for tweeting about exit polls before before voting closed at 10pm last night.

06:03 - Result - Conservatives gain Yeovil from Lib Dems

Following Danny Alexander's loss in Inverness, his predecessor David Laws, also lost his seat. But Mr Laws lost to the Conservatives.

05:54 - Result - SNP gains Inverness from Lib Dem Danny Alexander

The Lib Dems lose another senior figure, with Danny Alexander losing Inverness to the SNP. There was a 20% swing to the SNP, with a majority of more than 10,000.

05:52 - With a number of Conservative holds and gains coming through (to many to keep up with), the BBC's Andrew Marry says the Conservatives are looking at 325 seats, which would give them a majority.

05:49 - There are around 200 seats this left to declare. We still have the likes of George Osborne, Theresa May, Ed Balls and Nigel Farage to go.

05:47 - A Conservative majority is now a real possibility, but David Cameron remains cautious and says "it is too early to say what sort of result there will be at the end of this night."

05:45 - As their leader was confirmed in Witney, the Conservatives overtook Labour in terms of confirmed seats.

05:41 - Result - Conservative leader David Camaeron holds Witney

With a beaming smile on his face, David Cameron holds his seat with a majority of 25,155. He says 'this is a very strong night for the Conservative party'.

05:29 - I mentioned the Tories' unexpected performance in Wales earlier. They won Gower with a majority of just 27!

05:20 - Result - Labour leader Ed Miliband holds Doncaster North

Unsurprisingly, Ed Miliband has held Doncaster North - a safe seat for Labour. The Labour leader admits that it's been a disappointing night for the party. He also seemed to admit defeat, delivering a message "to the next government".

05:14 - The Conservatives have had a particularly good, and surprising, election in Wales. They won 11 seats - its best performance in Wales for 32 years.

05:06 - The Conservatives are catching up to Labour in terms of confirmed seats. Remember the exit polls forecast 316 for the Tories and 239 for Labour.

05:02 - Result - Labour gains Wirral West from Conservatives

The Labour has ousted the first senior Conservative figure - Esther McVey loses her seat to a 417 majority.

05:00 - At 5am, here's how things stand: Labour 135, Conservaitves 114, SNP 50, DUP 8, Liberal Democrats 6.

04:56 - In his acceptance speech, Nick Clegg hints that he may step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats later today.

04:51 - Result - Nick Clegg holds Sheffield Hallam

Despite suggestions he could've lost the seat, Nick Clegg has held his seat in Sheffield. But his majority dropped from 12,000 to less than 2,500.

04:46 - I'm seeing the first signs of light outside!

04:35 - Result - Conservatives gain Twickenham from Lib Dem Vince Cable

The Lib Dems have lost another senior figure. This time its Vince Cable, who played an important role in the coalition.

04:34 - Result - Labour holds Edinburgh South against SNP

A Scottish seat that the SNP hasn't stolen from Labour!

04:29 - Result - Conservatives hold Uxbridge & South Ruislip

For those of you who know their stuff, you'll know that that means Boris Johnson is now an MP! Elsewhere, Eric Pickles has also been re-elected.

04:22 - Results - Conservatives hold onto Thurrock, SNP gains Gordon from Labour

Alex Salmond will be returning to Westminster after gaining Gordon from Labour.

The Conservatives managed a small victory in a seat targeted by both Labour and UKIP.

04:19 - Results - Conservatives gain Eastleigh from Lib Dems, UKIP holds Clacton

The Conservatives have gained Eastleigh from the LibDems, fighting off UKIP in one of its key targets. But Tory defector Douglas Carswell has held onto his seat in Clacton to give UKIP its first seat of the night.

04:13[/]b - [b]Result - Conservatives hold Cardiff North

The Conservatives have held onto Cardiff North, which was a target seat for Labour. The Tories held a majority of just 194 in 2010, but that has increased to more than 2,000 - another example of Labour in fact losing ground where it hoped to win the seat.

04:10 - Result - Labour gains Bermondsey from Lib Dems

The Lib Dems has lost another of its senior team, with Justice Minister Simon Hughes losing to Labour.

04:05 - Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has arrived for the count in Sheffield Hallam. He commanded a strong majority in 2010, but reports suggest he's facing a real fight.

04:01 - Result - Lib Dems hold Orkney & Shetland

This is the first you'll have seen this tonight - the SNP have NOT won the seat. The Lib Dems have managed to hold on to Orkeny & Shetland.

04:00 - It's 4am. What a night it's been so far! The SNP are rampant in Scotland, the Lib Dems are plummeting in most areas, Labour aren't making ground in England and the Conservatives are looking strong.

We've still got the party leaders' seats still to be declared.

03:53 - Labour leader Ed Miliband is on his way to the count in Doncaster. What will he be thinking with things going so badly?

03:48 - Result - SNP gains Glasgow North East from Labour

Glasgow North East was supposed to be one of Labour's safer seats in Scotlnad, but it suffered a massive 39% swing as it lost to the SNP.

03:45 - Result - Labour gains Redcar from Lib Dems

It's another big defeat for the Lib Dems after a 19% swing to Labour.

03:41 - Result - Conservatives gains Kingston and Surbiton

The Lib Dems have lost another of its big guns. Ed Davey, senior cabinet member in the coalition, has lost his seat to the Conservatives. Vince Cable is running in the neighbouring Twickenham - he could be under threat as well.

03:39 - The BBC is reporting that Labour figures are already discussing a leadership battle starting as soon as tomorrow!

03:37 - Result - SNP gains Glasgow South East from Labour

Yet another 35% swing for the SNP against Labour.

03:29 - Result - Labour holds Aberavon

Labour holding another seat in Wales means a return to Wesminster for the Kinnock family. Neil Kinnock's son, Steven, has won the seat.

03:20 - Almost five-and-a-half hours after the polls closed, we've still only had 102 declarations.

So far:

Labour 39
SNP 25
Conservative 24
DUP 6
Liberal Democrats 1

03:16 - Result - Conservatives hold Warwickshire North

It was the tightest seat in 2010 and Labour's No.1 target, but the Conservatives hold the seat with a 3.1% swing.

03:11 - Result - SNP gains Clarkston from Labour

Another huge win for the SNP, as it gains a seat from Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy. Currently, only the SNP have won a seat in Scotland.

03:03 - Results - Labour holds Ogmore, Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney and Newport West, Conservatives gain Vale of Clwyd

The Labour holds on to three more seats in Wales, but the Conservatives gains its second seat of the night.

02:58 - Results - Labour gain Burnley and Ealing Central

Some better news for Labour as they gain two seats. Ealing Central & Acton is taken from the Conservatives, and Burnely is gained from the Lib Dems.

02:54 - Result - SNP gains Kirkcaldy from Labour

Another big scalp for the SNP as it gains Gordon Brown's former seat with a 35% swing.

02:51 As we near 3am, 61 seats have been declared. Labour leads on 22, SNP has 16, Conservatives have 11, DUP hold 6 in Northern Ireland and the Lib Dems hold one seat.

The SNP is dominating in Labour, securing swings of 34 and 35%. And Labour is losing ground on the Conservatives in England and Wales.

02:48 - Results - Conservatives gain Brecon & Radnorshire from Lib Dems, SNP gain from Labour

Another big scalp for the SNP, defeating the Lib Dems' Jo Swinson. The Conservatives secure their first seat of the night in Wales.

02:44 - Result - Labour holds Rhondda

Another Welsh seat in the bag for Labour.

02:42 - Results - Labour holds Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Islwyn

After a flurry of losses in Scotland, Labour is still fairly safe in Wales, by the looks of things. They've held three safe seats.

02:38 - Alex Salmond, who is looking to return to Westminster, describes the SNP's success so far as "unprecedented".

02:35 - Result - Conservatives hold UKIP target Castle Point

As David Cameron arrives at in Witney, the Conservatives hold onto Castle Point in Essex, which was a target for UKIP. The Lib Dem candidate received just 80 votes!

02:31 - Results - SNP gain Ochil & South Pertshire from Labour, SNP gains Glenrothes from Labour with a 35% swing

02:27 - Results - Labour holds Darlington, SNP gains Dundee West from Labour with a 29% swing, SNP gains Falkirk from Labour

The results are coming in really quickly now. I'll try to keep up!

02:26 - Result - SNP gains Dunbartonshire West from Labour

A huge result for the SNP with a 34%, yes 34%, swing!

02:22 - Result - SNP gains Paisley & Renf South from Labour and Douglas Alexander

A BIG win for the SNP. Douglas Alexander, the cornerstone of Labour's campaign in Scotland, has been beaten by a 20-year old with a 27% swing.

02:21 - The election is a funny old thing, isn't it? The Conservatives only have four confirmed seats so far, but are in poll position as David Cameron arrives to the declaration in Witney.

02:18 - Results - SNP holds Na h-Eileanan An Iar, Plaid Cymru holds Arfon in Wales

02:15 - Results - UUP gains South Antrim from DUP and Independent hold in North Down

A loss for the DUP - based on the exits polls, that could be important. But with things going the way they are, the Conservatives won't need the DUP.

02:12 - Result - SNP gain Kilmarnock & Loudoun from Labour

The first Scottish seat goes the SNP with a 26%.

02:11 - Result - Lib Dems hold Ceredigion

The Lib Dems are on the board, defending their seat in West Wales.

02:07 - Nicola Sturgeon is maintaining the 'we want to team up with Labour to keep the Conservatives out' plan. Scotland's First Minister also raises the issue of "legitimacy" again. The idea is that a Conservatives without any MPs in Scotland would not be a legitimate government for Scotland.

01:57 - Following the Conservative hold and 2% swing in Nuneaton, polling expert Professor John Curtice says a Conservative majority is now a real possibility.

This is what he said: "We were expecting a one-point swing to Labour in Nuneaton.

"In practice, with a three-point swing in their favour, the Tories have succeeded in defending this highly marginal seat. In practice, we now have to take seriously the possibility that the Tories could get an overall majority. "

01:54 - Result - Labour holds Clwyd South

Labour holds another Welsh seat, but there's another swing towards the Conservatives. UKIP up 13% in third and Lib Dems down 13%.

01:50 - Result - Conservatives hold Nuneaton

This one was a big target for Labour. They needed a 2.3% swing, but the Conservatives majority increased nearly 3,000.

01:44 - Results - DUP holds Lagan Valley, SF holds West Tyrone and SDLP holds Foyle.

The first three results from Northern Ireland are all holds. The DUP's results could be important if David Cameron decides to turn to them in a coalition.

01:28 - Result - Labour holds Wrexham

Labour holds a safe seat in Wales. But the majority is less than 2,000 and Labour suffers a 2.9% swing to Conservatives. Interestingly, UKIP comfortably in third ahead of Plaid Cymru. Lib Dems fall sharply again. Labour have 7 confirmed seats so far. Conservatives have 3.

01:23 - Result - Conservatives hold Battersea

The Conservatives hold another seat in the South. Labour was hoping to make strong ground in London, but they're seeing the swing go the other way. The Lib Dems continued their better performance in third.

01:19 - Bradford Council has reported the Respect Party's George Galloway to the police for breaking election law by tweeting about the exit polls before voting closed at 10pm.

01:11 - Result - Labour holds Tooting

We told you they'd start coming in thick-and-fast after 1am. This time Labour holds in Tooting with a majority of just 2,842 over the Conservatives. It's the closest result so far. The Lib Dems fell 11%. UKIP, like in Putney, struggled.

01:07 - Result - Labour holds Newcastle-upon-Tyne East

Labour has held Newcastle-upon-Tyne East with a majority of more than 12,000. It's another disaster for the Lib Dems - their vote plummeted 22%.

01:05 - Speaking outside an event in Margate, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who we understand is set to lose South Thanet, took a swipe at the Daily Mail and The Sun for claiming UKIP would split the Tory vote.

00:58 - As we head towards 1am, declarations should start to come in thick and fast.

00:53 - Result - Conservatives hold Putney

The Conservatives get their second seat of the night with a majority of 10,180. It was the best performance for the Lib Dems, finishing third. But it was only slightly above Greens and UKIP.

00:50 - That win for the Conservatives in Swindon North saw a majority of 11,786. UKIP jumped into third and again, the Lib Dems fell below the Greens into fifth place.

00:42 - Result - Conservatives hold Swindon North

After bit of a lull in declarations, we've had the fourth declaration. The Conservatives have held Swindon North. They're on the board. It's currently 3-1 to Labour on confirmed results, we've got a long way to go.

00:16 - Yvette Cooper is the latest senior Labour official to claim David Cameron couldn't command a coalition majority, if the exit polls are correct, and it would fall to Ed Miliband to form a government.

00:08 - The BBC is reporting that senior Lib Dem sources are conceding that Danny Alexander, who served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the coalition government, of course, is likely to lose his seat.

00:04 - After just over two hours since the polls closed, we know:

According to the exit polls; Conservatives 316, Labour 239, SNP 58, Lib Dems 10, Greens 2, UKIP 2, Plaid Cymru 4, DUP 8.

We've had three declarations so far; all in Sunderland, all Labour holds.

00:02 - Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says: "it's a very, very clear victory for the Conservatives and a very bad night for Labour", if the exit polls are correct, obviously.

23:42 - Another interesting thing to take away from the first three results in Sunderland; the Greens have secured more votes than the Lib Dems each poll. But Natalie Bennett is urging "extreme caution".

23:33 - Speaking to David Dimbleby, Ed Balls echoes Harriet Harman in saying David Cameron would lose command of a coalition majority, if the exit polls are accurate.

23:29 - Result - Labour holds Sunderland West

It's three out of three for Labour in Sunderland. UKIP again jump into second place. Greens once again jump ahead of the Lib Dems.

23:28 - Despite some pretty strong figures in Sunderland so far, BBC's Nick Robinson says Labour sources believe Nigel Farage could finish as low as third in South Thanet.

23:16 - Result - Labour holds Sunderland Central

Labour holds Sunderland Central with a majority of 11,000. The Conservatives in second, with UKIP just behind. The Lib Dems again finish bottom (aside from the independent candidate).

23:09 - More from Jeremy Cook over at World First - The sterling is 1.15% up on the US dollar and 1.5% on the euro after the exit polls.

23:01 - Incredible reports coming from Michael Gove's former adviser. He's suggesting that the Conservatives think that they may have ousted Ed Balls from the Morley and Outwood seat.

22:56 - So we've had the first result of the night. Now we wait for the rest to come in and prove the exit polls right or wrong.

22:51 - First result in - Labour holds Sunderland South

We have the first result of the night! Sunderland South has been won by Labour. It was a safe seat for Labour, but interestingly, UKIP beat the Conservatives by more than 1,000 votes. And the Lib Dems received just 791 votes.

22:48 - On email, Jeremy Cook, chief economist at the international payments company, World First, says the sterling is benefiting from the results of the exit polls. He said: “This exit poll in 2010 called the Election accurately and the Tories will be hoping that this one is correct as well. Markets were sat waiting for this poll, looking for either of the main two parties to get close to 300 seats and make the building of a coalition that much easier. 316 is a lot better than anyone was expecting and sterling is benefiting widely from this”

“Obviously we can talk about the risks of a referendum on EU membership but, should this poll hold, the risk of drawn out, squabbling and disorganised coalition building period seems to have been put to bed and sterling is back in favour.”

22:46 - Disappointment for Sunderland South! They were hoping to break their own record of declaring a result in 43 minutes. They're not far away, but we're still waiting for the result.

22:44 - Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, says everyone is "puzzled" by the results of the exit polls which has the Conservatives well ahead of Labour.

22:37 - If you're wondering how/why the exit polls are different; firstly, the sample is around 22,000. It asks people who they voted for, after they have cast their vote. Opinion polls prior to polling day are much smaller and obviously some may not end-up voting.

22:34 - The director general of the CBI, John Cridland, has said: “What businesses will want to see is that any period of uncertainty around negotiations is kept to a minimum and for all parties to prioritise pro-enterprise policies that boost growth and jobs for all.

“That includes getting on with reducing the deficit, prioritising infrastructure, including backing the final recommendations from the Airports Commission, and committing to keeping business taxes competitive.”

22:22 - On the BBC, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman claims the Conservatives will have lost their majority coalition government, if the exit poll is correct. Reminder: Conservatives on 316 and Lib Dems on 10 would give the 326 majority.

22:18 - Former Lib Dem leader, Lord Ashdown, says he will "eat my hat, live on your (Andrew McNeill, BBC) show" if the exit poll is correct.

22:14 - Now that the polls are officially closed, we can ask you which party you voted for. But we want to know the business reasons behind your vote! So let us know on Twitter @freshbusiness.

22:12 - Conservative Michael Gove says "we've won the election (if the exit poll is correct)" two or three times in a short interview on the BBC.

22:10 - The exit poll is particularly intriguing considering how tight all other opinion polls held Conservatives and Labour.

22:06 - It's important to stress that the even the slightest changes in the exit poll could change everything!

22:05 - Those numbers mean that, if accurate, a Conservative-LibDem coalition would put them on the 326 majority mark.

22:03 - Remarkably, the exit poll has the SNP winning all bar one seat in Scotland. The Lib Dems are down to 10 - a loss of 47 from 2010. UKIP and the Greens are forecast to win two and Plaid Cymru with four.

22:01 - The exit polls puts the Conservatives ahead on 316, with Labour trailing on 239. If accurate, the Tories will be delighted.

22:00 - That's it! Voting has officially closed. The UK has had its say. Now, we'll spend the next nine hours or so revealing what say the population has had.

21:53 - Just a reminder of the national breakdowns; there are 533 up for grabs in England, 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland.

21:47 - There's just over 10 minutes left now. If you haven't voted yet, and you want to, you better hope your polling station is nearby. Leave your house NOW!

21:41 - If you're wondering how things are going to work once the polls close, here's the deal:

As soon as the polls close, the BBC, ITV and Sky News will publish what's known as an 'exit poll'. It usually gives a pretty good indication of how many seats each party will win. It is usually pretty spot on, but it's not full proof and has been wrong before.

A few key MPs will start to do TV interviews reacting to the exit poll.

Then, it's down to the constituencies' results. Sunderland is usually the fastest city. It's declared its result first in each of the last five elections. We're expecting that result by 11pm.

21:32 - Leeds City Council have dispatched "emergency teams" to deal with long queues. You could have done this earlier, guys!

21:30 - I'm back! The polls are open for another 30 minutes. Not that I'd advise leaving it so late, but as long as you ARRIVE at the polling station before 10pm, you'll be able to vote.

15:49 - I'm heading home for some rest (and to cast my vote) before I return tonight. See you guys there!

15:47 - We're pausing things there. I'll be back at 9:30pm for live coverage of the results. Don't forget you can get in touch on Twitter @freshbusiness.

15:32 - In typically British style, #DogsatPollingStations is trending on Twitter. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out!

15:11 - We've got around 50 minutes left of our live coverage. But don't worry! We'll be seeing you through the night for the results from 9:30pm. We'll be on Twitter all night, as well. So feel free to drop us a tweet for some debate and discussion.

14:56 - You may have noticed the "I'm a voter" button on Facebook today. It's the first time the social network has used such a button. It says more than 35 million British people have access to the button and more than one million have used it.

Pointing towards a study by science journal Nature that showed 30,000 people voted in a US election after seeing the buttons, Facebook said it could increase turnout at the polls.

Twitter has done something similar, with the #IVoted hashtag.

14:40 - In Northern Ireland, SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnel has cast his vote at St Bride's primary school in Belfast.

14:15 - There's been a major hiccup in Darlington. UKIP candidate David Hodgson was not included in a batch of ballot papers sent to one polling station in the constituency. Around 89 were used before the omission was rectified.

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Mr Hodgson said: "It’s shocking - absolutely terrible and inexcusable. I understand the Ukip office has been informed and will be lodging a protest.

"I don’t know what happened but surely some law has been breached. I’ve not got a clue what happens now but I’m guessing the only way to resolve it is for it to be re-run."

13:57 - Earlier we retweeted an image about Game of Thrones, if you're fan of the show, I've got something even better for you! (Can you tell I'm a Game of Thrones fan?) Mashable has put together a video explaining the parties as if they were families from Game of Thrones. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that the Conservatives are incestuous, as the American chap in the video does...You can watch it here.

13:45 - There are some quite worrying reports coming out of Scotland, with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson claiming on Twitter that "burly blokes" are turning away voters who say they don't support a certain party at a polling station in the Annan constituency.

13:35 - Managing to squeeze in some lunch. I wonder what the eating habits of the nation's journalists will be like over the next 24 hours.

13:09 - The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Peter Robinson has voted. He's standing for re-election as First Minister of Northern Ireland.

13:00- - There has already been six hours of voting! Don't worry, there's still nine hours to go. So you've got plenty of time! Don't leave it too late though.

If you arrive before 10pm, but are waiting in a queue after that deadline, you will still be allowed to vote. But anyone arriving after 10pm will not be allowed to vote.

12:29 - This election is being referred to as the first real 'social election'. And this infographic featured on the Digital Marketing Show provides some really interesting stats.

12:22 - If you haven't seen the Sky News advert, you're missing out! With a hung parliament likely after the results come in overnight, who could get it on? You can watch the video here.

12:17 - And the last party leader has voted! Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has had her say. So that's all of the party leaders, the country has 9 hours and 40 minutes left to vote.

12:15 - An estimated 25% of voters woke up this morning not knowing who they were going to vote for. And with around 15 million people who didn't vote in 2010, these could be the people who hold the balance of power.

11:31 - So what is the outcome of today likely to be? It's a really difficult question to answer.

There are 650 MPs, meaning one party needs 326 MPs to command a majority government. But with the polls showing the Conservatives and Labour so close, neither is likely to win a majority.

That's wear the other parties come into play. The Lib Dems are expected to win around 25 seats, and some are suggesting that the SNP could win all bar four seats in Scotland. The DUP, which is expected to take eight seats, in Northern Ireland could also come into play.

Nick Clegg has said he is open to working with either the Conservatives or Labour. But has ruled out working with the Conservatives, if UKIP are involved.

Ed Miliband has ruled out any coalition or confidence & supply deal with the SNP, even if it meant not getting into power. That means Labour would need to win at least 300 seats to form a coalition with the Lib Dems and shut out the SNP.

Does that make it any clearer? No? Didn't think so.

11:28 - And wouldn't you just know it; a few minutes later Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg arrives at his local polling station in the Sheffield Hallam constituency to cast to vote.

11:21 - We've not seen Nick Clegg or Leanne Wood at their local polling stations yet.

11:10 - I've had a few people ask me who can't vote. So here's the answer: Members of the House of Lords can't vote, people serving jail sentences can't vote, anyone found guilty in the last five years of corrupt or illegal election practices can't vote, EU citizens residing in the UK can't vote. The Queen can vote, but it is deemed unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote.

10:48 - Interesting piece of research to come out of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) this morning; 57% of small business owners in Greater Manchester and North Cheshire said they were against cuts to police budgets, after claiming the police overlook business crimes. You can read the full story here.

10:28 - There's a scary number of polls that have Conservatives and Labour neck-and-neck.

BBC Poll of Polls: Conservatives 34%, Labour 33%.
Survation: Labour 34%, Conservatives 33%.
TNS-BRMB: Conservatives 32%, Labour 32%.
Opiniumn: Conservatives 35%, Labour 34%.
Populous: Conservatives 34%, Labour 34%.
ICM: Conservatives 35%, Labour 35%.
Ipsos Mori: Conservatives 35%, Labour 30%.
ComRes: Conservatives 35%, Labour 32%.
YouGov: Conservatives 34%, Labour 34%.

10:19 - I mentioned the Smith & Williamson Enterprise Index a little earlier - the Q1 results showed that business owners and entrepreneurs favour deficit reduction over borrowing. You can see the results here: http://ow.ly/MDoeN and you can take part in the latest survey here: http://bit.ly/1Fg3t3o

10:02 - And with 12 hours to go, if you're still undecided, we've rounded up what a vote for each party means for businesses in the UK: Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru.

10:00 - Three hours of polling gone, 12 more to go!

09:55 - WARNING! Do not take a selfie at your polling station. It could land you in jail. Seriously! The Electoral Commission has warned that such images could breach electoral rules and result in serious fines, and in some extreme cases, jail sentences.

09:25 - Prime Minister David Cameron, accompanied by his wife, Samantha, has been to his local polling station in the constituency of Witney. According to the BBC, the local Women's Institute laid on teas, coffees and cakes for the awaiting press and photographers. Anyone who brings me a cake gets a free shoutout on Twitter!

09:11 - The general election isn't the only way you can have your say on the country and the economy, today. We're gauging economic confidence through the Smith & Williamson Enterprise Index, a quarterly survey of wealth creators and entrepreneurs. You can take part right here.

09:05 - The leaders of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, and Greens leader Natalie Bennett are also early risers. Ms Sturgeon has cast her vote in the Glasgow East constituency and Ms Bennett visited the Ossulston Tenants' Hall in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency in north London to cast her vote.

08:49 - Labour leader Ed Miliband has cast his vote at Sutton Village Hall in the Doncaster North constituency.

08:23 - There are also local council elections taking place in England, with more than 9,000 Councillors set to be elected in 279 local authorities. Mayors will also be elected in Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough and Torbay.

08:21 - So what can we tell you? Well, as you already know, the polls opened at 7am and will close at 10am at around 50,000 polling stations in the UK.

There are around 50 million people registered to vote, and reports suggest it could be the biggest turnout since 1997.

650 MPs will be elected across the UK, although the specifics of how a government will be formed could be complicated (more on that later).

08:10 - What we will do is give you as much information as possible throughout the day, whilst staying within the law, of course.

08:05 - Just a reminder of the reporting restrictions in place today: Until the polls are closed, we will not publish anything about they way people have voted today. It's a criminal offence and I don't fancy going to prison as a result of the general election!

07:30 - Nigel Farage, wearing a red rose on his lapel, cast his vote in Ramsgate at 7:30.

07:00 - It's 7am! The polls are officially open. Head to your local polling station and cast your vote!

06:50 - Good morning folks. It's election day! I'll be here for a large part of the next 24 hours, bringing you the latest news and opinion.