General Election 2015: Ed Miliband stands down as Labour leader after disastrous defeat by Cameron's Conservative majority

Lynsey Barber
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Miliband is out (Source: Getty)

Ed Miliband has stepped down as leader of the Labour party after a crushing defeat by David Cameron who will be returned to Number 10 on what is an unexpected Conservative majority.

"I take absolute and total responsibility for today's defeat," Miliband said, revealing he had earlier called Cameron to congratulate him on the win.

Read: The runners and riders to replace Miliband

The Conservatives took a surprise lead in the exit polls and have taken a number of Labour seats, while the Labour party in Scotland has been wiped out by the SNP.

David Cameron hailed the "sweetest victory" in a generation for the party, speaking at Tory headquarters this morning.

Cameron claimed victory after a meeting with the Queen at midday.

Shadow chancellor and Labour heavyweight Ed Balls lost his seat in Leeds in one of the biggest shock upsets of the election.

Cameron's coalition colleagues the Lib Dems also suffered a humiliating turnout, leading Clegg to resign. Nearly every senior minister was unseated and the party has been left with just eight MPs.

Read more: Regional roundup: Everything you need to know about your constituency

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