What time do polling stations open and close on UK general election day 2019?

Political parties have ramped up their canvassing ahead of the general election on December 12.

Campaigning for all the major parties has entered its finaldays with Boris Johnson targeting Labour heartlands to appeal to leave voters, while Labour will again hope to drive home their messages on NHS and the economy.

Britain is bracing for its first winter election in nearly a century on Thursday, with millions heading to the polls in just two days’ time in what is being dubbed the “Brexit election” as Mr Johnson’s Conservatives hope to secure a ruling majority to break the Brexit logjam.

So with the December 12 General Election looming ever closer, here’s everything you need to know ahead of the polls opening.

General Election 2019: Opinion polls over the last seven days

When is the next general election?

The next general election will take place on December 12, with voting taking place between 7am and 10pm.

The election could not have happened any earlier than this because law dictates that Parliament must dissolve 25 working days before a general election.

After it is dissolved, MPs lose their status and must campaign for re-election, if they decide to stand again.

When do polls open and close?

Polling stations will open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday. 

This is to ensure everybody has a chance to vote throughout the day.

Why are we having an early election?

The next general election was not due until June 2022 under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) 2011, which ensures the automatic dissolution of Parliament every five years.

However, a short bill tabled by Mr Johnson bypassed FTPA provisions to allow for a much earlier election date.

The PM had been vying for a trip to the polls for months because he wanted to strengthen his hand in the House of Commons by restoring the Conservative Party’s ruling majority.

Despite failing three times previously to secure a snap election under FTPA rules, Mr Johnson’s calls were finally heeded in the Commons in October.

Opposition parties have their own motives for backing a fresh poll: Labour says it wants to “put an end to the shambolic mess the Tories have made”, while the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party are seizing on the opportunity to try and stop Brexit in its tracks and expand their respective parties’ national standing.​

Who are the candidates in my constituency?

A list of the candidates who are standing – or ‘Statement of Persons Nominated’ – will be posted on your local authority website and on notice boards in your area after the deadline for nominations has passed.

The deadline for nominations was Friday, November 15. There are 650 constituencies across the UK.

You can find official election information for your area via the Electoral Commission website by typing in your postcode via this link: Electoral Commission: Your election information.

During the 2017 campaign, additional information about candidates in each constituency was collected online on the independent website ‘Who Can I Vote For?‘.

Can I vote for a new prime minister?

You can only vote to elect your local MP in a general election – you cannot specifically vote for a new prime minister. 

If you live in Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, you would vote or not vote for him simply in regard to him being your local MP. 

This is the same if you live in the constituency of another political party leader.

When will the results of the election be announced?

It can take up to 24 hours for the results from all 650 constituencies to be declared, with the final total possibly coming as late as the evening of Friday, December 13.

Where can I find the results of the general election?

The Standard will report closely on the election results, and provide live coverage as the events unfurl.

Local authorities will also publish results for constituencies in their area.

The Electoral Commission will publish the national election results, as well as those for individual constituencies.

General Election debate schedules

The first head-to-head debate between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn was hosted by ITV on November 19, followed by BBC Question Time special on November 22 involving  Mr Johnson, Mr Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

Then, on November 28, Mr Johnson and the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage snubbed the Emergency On Planet Earth debate on Channel 4 News.  

It was attended by Mr Corbyn, Ms Swinson, Ms Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru’s leader Adam Price and Green co-leader Sian Berry.

On Friday, November 29 the BBC hosted a seven-way debate at which neither Mr Johnson or Mr Corbyn attended, instead sending Rishi Sunak for the Conservatives and Richard Burgon for Labour.

ITV then hosted a debate on December 1 involving Mr Farage, Ms Sturgeon, Ms Swinson, Greens’ co-leader Sian Berry and Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price. Again, Mr Sunak and Mr Burgon deputised for their party’s leaders before a final head-to-head between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn took place on the BBC on December 6.

A 90-minute Question Time special for younger audiences on the BBC has been scheduled for December 9.


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