General election 2010: Erith and Thamesmead tips the balance

By Aled Thomas

Britain has a hung parliament.

The Labour hold of Erith and Thamesmead means that no single party can gain the magic number of 326 seats necessary to form a majority government.

Despite a large swing of 6.3% from Labour to the Conservatives, Teresa Pearce won with 19,068 votes, a majority of 5,703 over her Conservative rival Colin Bloom.

With no overall control now a mathematical certainty, speculation in the media over deals between the Liberal Democrats and either Labour or the Conservatives is rising to fever pitch.