Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn in final rallying cries as Britain heads to the polls for 'knife-edge' election

Posted On: 
12th December 2019

Boris Johnson has said the election result is on a "knife edge" as voters head to the polls for Britain's third general election in less than five years.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm - with an exit poll by the major broadcasters unveiled once they close.
Credit: 
PA

The Prime Minister made his final pitch to voters as the last batch of pre-election polling saw a Tory lead ranging from a commanding thirteen points to just five.

Polling stations will open at 7am in all 650 constituencies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and will stay open until 10pm in Britain's first December election in almost a century.

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In his final push of the campaign, Mr Johnson issued a direct appeal to voters in Labour-held marginal seats, urging them to hand him a Commons majority and avoid ushering in a Labour government by backing Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.

The Tory leader told the Times: "Every single vote for the Brexit Party or the Liberal Democrats means the terrifying prospect of Jeremy Corbyn moving into Downing Street becomes more likely - condemning the country to more gridlock, more division, more uncertainty and our economy taken back to square one."

The Prime Minister, who gave his last speech of the battle at the Olympic Park in Stratford, said: "This election is our chance to end the gridlock but the result is on a knife-edge."

And he added: "Vote today to break the gridlock. Vote to get Brexit done. Vote to unleash Britain’s potential. Enough is enough. Let’s get it done."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile urged voters to side with his party in a "truly historic" election that would upset Britain's "establishment".

"The establishment doesn’t want Labour to win," he told a rally in London's Hoxton.

"They don’t want a Labour government on the side of the people, shaking up how this country is run."

Mr Corbyn added: "Tomorrow you can shock the establishment, by voting for hope.

"Hope for yourself. For your family. For your community. For our NHS. For our country. When Labour wins, the nurse wins, the pensioner wins, the student wins, the office worker wins, the ­engineer wins. We all win."

As the campaign draws to a close, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson issued a last-ditch plea to voters to unseat Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab as she urged opponents of Brexit to vote tactically and deny the Tories a majority.

The party is eyeing Mr Raab's Esher and Walton seat in the hope of causing what could be one of the biggest upsets of the night.

Ms Swinson - whose avowedly pro-Remain party has struggled in the polls - insisted it was "absolutely possible" to prevent a Conservative victory.

She told The i newspaper: "That is why so many people will be looking at the specific circumstances in their local area. We know from past elections that very often voters who vote tactically come to that conclusion in the final hours before they cast their vote."

FINAL POLLS

The calls from the party leaders came as pollsters issued their final polls of the campaign - with a study by SavantaComres handing the Tories just a five-point lead, their lowest during the campaign.

The organisation's study puts the Conservatives on 41%, Labour on 36%, the Lib Dems on 12% and the Brexit Party on 3% - a result that would likely lead to another hung Parliament.

Meanwhile, the final ICM study has Mr Johnson's party just six points ahead on 42% to 36% for Labour, 12% for the Lib Dems and 3% for the Brexit Party.

However, other studies gave Mr Johnson a firmer lead, with Kantar's final study placing the Tories 12 points clear of Labour on 44% to 32%, a result that would likely translate to a substantial majority for the party.

Deltapoll's eve-of-election poll similarly puts the Conservatives ahead on 45% to Labour's 35%.

Online pollster Qriously - a member of the British Polling Council - meanwhile gives the Conservatives a thirteen-point lead on 43%, with Labour trailing on just 30%.

The most anticipated poll of election day will be the joint Sky News, ITV and BBC exit poll, which is set to be unveiled at 10pm once all ballots are cast and counting begins across the country.