This is Nick Clegg's statement of earlier today in full:
Last night was a disappointment for the Liberal Democrats. Even though more people voted for us than ever before, even though we had a higher proportion of the vote than ever before, it is of course a source of great regret to me that we have lost some really valued friends and colleagues and we have returned to Parliament with fewer MPs than before.
It's clear that many people were excited by the prospect of doing something different. But when it came to the vote, they decided to stay with what they knew. In a time of great economic uncertainty I can understand that.
But that's not going to stop me from redoubling my efforts and the Liberal Democrats efforts to show that real change is the best reassurance that things can get better for people and their families.
Now we are in a very fluid situation with no party holding an absolute majority. It's vital that all political parties and all political leaders act in the national interest and not for narrow political party advantage.
During the election campaign I said that whichever party gets most votes and the most seats, if not an absolutely majority, has the first right to seek to govern either on its own or by reaching out to other parties. And I stick to that view. It seems this morning that it is the Conservative Party that has more votes and more seats though not an absolute majority.
I think it is now for the Conservative Party to prove that it is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest. At the same time this election campaign has made it abundantly clear that our electoral system is broken, it simply doesn't reflect the hopes and aspirations of the British people.
So I repeat again my reassurance that whatever happens in the coming hours, days and weeks I will continue to argue not only for the greater fairness in British society not only the greater responsibility in economic policy making but also for the extensive real reforms we need to fix our broken political system.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats