Over in London, the deal making is underway:
David Cameron and Gordon Brown competed to win over the Liberal Democrats today as they made rival offers to Nick Clegg in a bid to form a new coalition government.
The three main parties are locked in frantic horse-trading as they vie for power after the election ended with Britain’s first hung parliament since 1974.
Sterling and British shares were pounded as investors took fright as it became clear there would be no clear result.
Mr Clegg appeared first this morning, stepping up into the role of kingmaker after a night of turmoil that left the country in a state of political chaos.
At 10.30am, he effectively offered Mr Cameron the keys to Downing Street by declaring the Tories had the ‘first right to seek to govern’ because they had won the popular vote – but he made clear electoral reform was the price of his support.
His intervention appeared to deal a devastating blow to Mr Brown’s hopes of clinging on to power but shortly before 2pm, the Prime Minister emerged with his own entreaty for an alliance.
He offered Mr Clegg the ultimate prize of a referendum on a change to Britain’s first-past-the-post voting system in return for creating a Labour-Lib Dem coalition that would lock out the Tories.
As he issued his plea outside the front door of Number Ten and stressed the parties ‘common ground’, onlookers gathered at the gates to Downing Street and shouted out ‘leave now’.
Barely 40 minutes later, David Cameron emerged to put his own ‘big, open and comprehensive’ offer to the Lib Dems on the table as he called for a quick solution to the current stalemate.
‘Britain voted for change yesterday, but it also voted for a new politics. It did not vote for party political bickering, grandstanding and point-scoring,’ he said.
‘Our country’s problems are too serious, they are too urgent for that. So we must all rise to this occasion, we must show leadership.’
So, even though his party lost seats in the election, Nick Clegg finds himself the king maker.