Harvey won from an all-female shortlist that included Adele’s omnipresent 21 and Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow. Sheeran’s sweet story of hard drugs and prostitution, meanwhile, beat Adele’s Rolling in the Deep and Florence + the Machine’s Shake It Out.
There was solace for the Grammy and Brit-winning Adele though, as Annie Lennox presented her with the best songwriter award. Rolling in the Deep won in the most performed work category too, beating her own Someone Like You and Take That’s The Flood.
Take That themselves received an outstanding contribution to British music award from Radio 1’s Chris Moyles. There was no Robbie Williams or Jason Orange, but Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald were there to accept. “Sometimes I’m a bit embarrassed I’m in the band,” said Owen. “Sometimes I’m really proud.”
Barlow said: “There’s nothing like winning an Ivor as a songwriter, so up the Ivors!”
Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp won an award for best song collection, following in the footsteps of artists including Steve Winwood, Vince Clarke and Gabrielle.
The Ivors inspiration award – previously won by Dizzee Rascal, Johnny Marr, Edwyn Collins and Jazzie B – was won by Siouxie Sioux, who was greeted with a standing ovation.
Mark Knopfler won a lifetime achievement while other prizes given out at the central London ceremony included Stan Tracey winning the first Novello jazz award; BBC2’s The Shadow Line winning best TV soundtrack; while Alex Heffes came away with the best original film score for The First Grader.
Mark Brown, The Guardian