Britons on Thursday voted in the tightest election for decades; one that could cause government gridlock, push the world’s fifth-largest economy closer to leaving the European Union and stoke a second attempt by Scotland to break away.
Final opinion polls showed Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and Ed Miliband’s opposition Labour Party almost in a dead heat.
Opinion poll ahead of the election indicated neither will win enough seats for an outright majority in the 650-seat parliament.
However, the surveys suggested there had been some late movement toward Labour.
Cameron said only his Conservatives could deliver strong, stable government, adding that all other options will end in chaos.
The Conservatives portrayed themselves as the party of jobs and economic recovery.
The party promised to reduce income tax for 30 million people while forcing through further spending cuts to eliminate a budget deficit still running at five per cent of GDP.
Labour said it would cut the deficit each year and defend the interests of hard-pressed working families and Britain’s treasured but financially stretched National Health Service.
“I think Labour is best for the good of the whole country” said student Abi Samuel at a polling station in Edinburgh’s well-heeled New Town. “The Conservatives have cut spending too much.”