10:25PM: Air of despondency at NE Cambs count in Wisbech after exit poll result

A SLIGHT air of despondency fell over the Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech shortly after 10pm as Conservative councillors and party workers, arriving for the count, heard the results of the BBC exit poll. The beaming faces of a few moments earlier gave wa

A SLIGHT air of despondency fell over the Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech shortly after 10pm as Conservative councillors and party workers, arriving for the count, heard the results of the exit poll.

The beaming faces of a few moments earlier gave way to anxiety as they realised the party may be 20 seats short of an overall Parliamentary majority.

The result in NE Cambs is not in doubt, with Steve Barclay odds on favourite to top the poll and win the seat held for over 20 years by Malcolm Moss.

A few minutes ago Conservative councillors, taking a passive role in scrutinising the results, rejected the findings of the exit poll.

"I think its not going to be quite like that," said Councillor Geoff Harper, former Tory leader of Fenland Council and a former Tory Party agent. He remained confident David Cameron would secure an overall majority, or at least a workable majority even if the party were a few seats short of an overall majority.

Tim Pilsbury, acting returning officer, has been chatting to the mainly Conservative gathering at the Hudson, predicting a possible two thirds turnout in NE Cambs.

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He said the estimate was based on some informal projections made during the day but he was very confident turn out was much higher than the 59.8 per cent at the last election.

Councillor Fred Yeulett said turn out in March may be the highest for years.

"It's been a superb turnout in the town, I'm very confident," he said.

No ballot boxes have yet arrived at the Hudson - Mr Pilsbury is predicting the result could be declared as late as 2.30am.

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