Exit poll paints picture of electoral implosion for the Conservatives - and utterly transforms UK politics if it's right

The exit poll paints a picture of an electoral meltdown for the Conservative Party. An implosion.

Not just a landslide but something else too: a result that would, if borne out, utterly transform Britain's political landscape.

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Actually, strictly speaking, the exit poll paints a picture of two landslides, but we'll get to the other one in a moment.

For the time being, the one to focus on is the big one: a monumental defeat of the Conservative Party, handing the Labour Party control of the House of Commons - and not just that.

It suggests that Keir Starmer will wield near-unparalleled Parliamentary power as prime minister, presiding over a staggering majority similar to that of Tony Blair in 1997.

For the Tories, this isn't just any defeat. It's the single biggest loss of the share of the vote faced by any party in modern history.

The exit poll suggests the Conservative Party has been punished by voters - a drubbing the likes of which we have never seen.

If it's right, the Conservatives will soon have the fewest number of MPs in the party's modern history, going all the way back to the 1830s.

Yet while the poll suggests an astounding success for Labour in terms of its number of MPs, it does not necessarily follow that the party enjoys deep and widespread popularity across the nation. Indeed, the share of the vote is not at the sort of level that would usually deliver such a decisive outcome in terms of parliamentary seats.

But this is where things get interesting, because it appears from the results of the poll, and the analysis and modelling carried out by statisticians, that if there is one thing that unites voters it is their determination to get rid of the Conservatives.

Both the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats seem to have done very well in seats where they're challenging a Tory incumbent.

The Lib Dems in particular seem to have benefited from a bounce back in constituencies where they previously had MPs up until their post-coalition 2015 trouncing. They have seemingly benefited from tactical voting too.

But if there are two trends which underline what seems to be going on in this election - at least as far as the exit poll suggests - they are the following.

First, the Reform Party has enjoyed a stunning success, which is only barely illustrated by the number of seats it is projected to win. Because the party is winning large numbers of votes - especially in areas with a strong Leave vote in 2016.

In many parts of the Red Wall that digs into the Conservative vote and allows Labour to regain these seats. But in some places, Reform support is so strong that they are finding themselves in three-way battles with Labour and the Conservatives. Indeed, Reform might, if the poll is to be believed, be able to win in some seats which Labour had assumed it would win.

Read more:
How to watch the election live on Sky News
Exit poll: What is the forecast result in my constituency?

Incidentally, while the poll is not designed as a constituency-by-constituency survey, it nonetheless implies that Nigel Farage will finally succeed in being elected as an MP in Clacton.

The second overarching trend is that the Conservatives seem to have done especially badly in areas where there is a large proportion - over 35% - of people with mortgages.

In other words, there does seem to be a "Truss effect" in the numbers, for want of a better phrase. This may, if borne out by the eventual results, prompt some to ask the question: why did Rishi Sunak not call the election once interest rates had begun to fall?

The other landslide I mentioned at the top is the story of Scotland, where the SNP seem to be doing particularly badly - worse indeed than the pre-election polling suggested.

It looks as if the party's support has collapsed to such an extent that all the other main parties are benefiting, with even the Conservatives challenging for former SNP seats.

Now, the exit poll is just that, a poll - in this case of over 20,000 people across 133 polling stations around Great Britain. It will have to be set against the actual results as they come in.

But it has a record for accuracy that goes far beyond most if all other surveys.

And it hints that we are about to be faced with all manner of enormous political questions: what does Keir Starmer do with a majority like this? How existential is this defeat for the Conservative Party? What does it say about our electoral system, given Reform is projected to win more of the share of the vote than the Lib Dems but with multiples fewer seats? What becomes of the Scottish independence movement now the SNP has plummeted to this result?

For the time being, though, the first question is: do the actual results match up with what the exit poll has told us?