Polls open in 'historic general election in a generation'

Polls have opened across the UK in the country's third general election in less than five years.

The contest, the first to be held in December in nearly 100 years, follow those in 2015 and 2017.

After a six-week campaign dominated by Brexit, the NHS, claims of bias and accusations the prime minister has been avoiding media scrutiny.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have branded Thursday’s vote the “most important in a generation” as the two sides have very different plans for Brexit, the NHS and spending on public services.

The overall consensus is, that this is ‘a different kind of election, far more than the simple renewal of a democratic parliament’, and which will define the country’s future for several generations.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s hypothetical majority has been cut from 68 to 28 as his party’s seat count fell by 20 to 339 with Labour improving by the same amount to 231. The SNP prediction is 41 and the Liberal Democrats 15.

Boris Johnson, who has led a controversial campaign, spent the final day of campaigning on Wednesday travelling from West Yorkshire, through Wales and to London, insisting the Conservatives are the only party who can “get Brexit done”. However, during it, he retreated to a fridge in a Yorkshire dairy farm to avoid facing questions from the media.

Jeremy Corbyn worked his way through six constituencies and finished in east London, offering a “vote for hope” and condemning Tory “negativity”. He also criticised many in the national media for their “relentless” criticisms of Labour.

Liberal Democrats leader, Jo Swinson also toured remain-supporting seats, encouraging voters to back her candidates to stop Brexit.

The exit poll is derived from voters at 144 stations being asked to fill in a mock ballot paper as they leave, disclosing how they have voted.

In the last general election in 2017, the exit poll correctly predicted a hung parliament while in 2015 it was more accurate than the opinion polls during the campaign but did not predict the overall Conservative majority.

The first results are likely to be announced approximately an hour after the close of the polls. Out of 650 UK constituencies, Houghton and Sunderland South hold the record for being the quickest to return a result after declaring at 10.48pm in 2015.

The rest of the results are declared throughout the night. The majority of counts will be completed by 6am GMT on Friday.

If a party wins in 326 constituencies it will have gained a majority.