SNP wins "historic" victory in Scotland

Scotland has voted strongly against the established Westminster parties, with the Scottish National Party (SNP) scoring a comprehensive victory north of the border, as the party is set to take all but three of the 59 seats in Scotland, in a dramatic improvement from their previous general election showing when they won just six seats.

Less than a year after the SNP tried and failed to break Scotland from the rest of the Britain in the independence referendum in September, it has galvanized an unprecedented surge in support to become the UK's third biggest party in what leader Nicola Sturgeon has dubbed "a historic shift" in UK politics. "All of the indications are that this is going to be a very, very good night for the SNP," Sturgeon added as reports of SNP wins began flooding in.

Among the biggest Westminster casualties so far are Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, while Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Danny Alexander and Charles Kennedy are also expected to be toppled by the SNP.

While the SNP had boasted growing membership figures since referendum in September, and polls indicated they could take as many as 53 seats in Scotland, the exit polls published at 10pm showed an even more staggering result.

In Scotland, previously safe seats for Labour fell one after the other as 49 constituencies were declared won by the SNP by 5am.

20-year-old Mhairi Black has proven to be one of the biggest giant killers of the election by unseating Douglas Alexander, winning 23,548 votes, to Alexander's 17,864. Douglas Alexander was one of Scottish Labour's biggest heavyweights, since he first won his seats in 1997. The former shadow foreign secretary was appointed chair of general election strategy of Labour in 2013 by Ed Miliband. Black is still a student and the youngest woman to be elected to UK parliament.

Jim Murphy has lost his East Renfrewshire seat to SNP candidate Kirsten Oswald, despite campaigning extensively in favour of the eventually successful No vote to independence in the Scottish referendum. Murphy's leadership of Scottish Labour is now under serious threat after only taking the reins from predecessor Johann Lamont in December. Prior to tonight Labour had retained East Renfrewshire for the last 18 years.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, once the stronghold of former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, who is stepping down at this election, has also gone to the SNP.

The SNP have also taken Falkirk, Dunbartonshire West, Dundee West, Ochil and South Perthshire and Glenrothes. Former first minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond also won the seat he stood for in Gordon.

Probably the most senior Liberal Democrat casualty north of the border is Danny Alexander who lost the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey seat which he has held since 2005. SNP candidate Drew Hendry has toppled Alexander who pays a costly toll after serving as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the coalition government.

Charles Kennedy who led the Liberal Democrats from 1999 until 2006, while also serving as MP for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency has lost his seat to the SNP. He was gracious in defeat, but admitted he would be "sorry" that he would not participate in the debates concerning Scotland's future in the House of Commons.

The Liberal Democrats' Alistair Carmichael and Labour's Ian Murray remain their parties' sole representatives north of the border.

In the UK as a whole, the Conservatives look to be on course to gain the most seats in the House of Commons, meaning David Cameron is likely to stay on as prime minister, although exit polls projected them to fall 10 short of a majority.