Brits across the country are casting their ballot today in the first national election since 2019 – an election that is all but certain to end 14 years of Conservative rule.

Over 40,000 polling stations have been hastily erected across the the UK to enable the roughly 46 million eligible voters to elect 650 MPs, from the 4,500 plus candidates standing. 

In England, 543 are seats up for grabs while in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the number stands at 57, 43 and 18 respectively. Parties need at least 326 seats to form a majority government. And Oddschecker’s latest projection from a few hours ago has Labour on a hefty 449. 

Ballot boxes close at 10 pm, after which polling guru, John Curtice, immediately announces his exit poll calculation to the nation.

Then the furious counting will commence. Early results start trickling in from 11.30 but the bulk of the seats will be announced between 3 and 5 am. By 7 am, pretty much all results will have been declared. 

In some respects, Labour’s giant poll lead has rendered this a less suspense-filled election night than many. Though for those gearing up for an all-nighter, there is still plenty of drama to be had. 

This year, constituents are voting in new geographical formations, which slightly limits the ability to draw direct historical comparisons with past elections. That said, in Reaction today, Oliver Heath and Humphrey Southall have provided a good run-down of the marginal seats to keep a close eye on, as well as the bellwether constituencies that tend to reflect the broader national mood.

At 1 am, we’ll get an early indicator of how Labour is faring in Scotland when its first target seat declares results: Hamilton and Clyde Valley.

Another early-ish result of interest will be the Lancashire seat of Rochdale at 2.30 am. George Galloway’s stint in Westminster is likely to prove short-lived. The Workers Party for Britain leader – and by-election victor – is predicted to win 13.8 per cent of the vote, only marginally ahead of Reform with 13.6 per cent, and far behind Labour’s new candidate – Paul Waugh, an experienced lobby journalist and Rochdale local – who is leading on 46 per cent. 

As results start to pour in thick and fast from 3 am, a set of humiliating defeats for Tory Party ministers and leadership hopefuls may well ensue. We’ll discover if Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan have clung onto their seats in the Lib Dem target land of Godalming and Ash and Chichester respectively. And we’ll find out if Labour has managed to seize Penny Mordaunt’s Portsmouth North seat, and Grant Shapps’s Welwyn Hatfield. Mordaunt’s seat is tipped to be a Labour gain by a wafer-thin margin. 

Between 3 and 4 am, Labour may well be dealt a blow of its own – if Green party co-leader, Carla Denyer, succeeds in unseating Labour’s shadow culture secretary, Thangam Debbonaire in the newly formed constituency of Bristol Central.

North of the border, a flurry of seats in Glasgow will be announced around this same time to give us a fuller picture of the scale of the SNP’s defeat to Labour in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, meanwhile, an anxious DUP will discover if its Gavin Robinson has been unseated by Alliance leader, Naomi Long, in Belfast East. If Robinson loses, he will probably be ousted as leader. 

Speaking of anxious leaders, at 4 am, we will find out if the Prime Minister himself has retained his Yorkshire constituency of Richmond and Northallerton. If he’s defeated, it will make him the first PM ever to lose their own seat. What’s more, Labour has been historically weak in this constituency. And yet reports emerged last night that Sunak was secretly worried about setting this unenviable precedent. 

Starmer aside, a party leader who will be feeling rather more confident about the result in their own constituency is Nigel Farage. According to one recent Survation poll, the Reform UK leader is likely to win his (former-UKIP) seat of Clacton-on-sea with the largest swing in Britain’s electorate history. At 4 am, we will simultaneously discover how Reform has fared in Lee Anderson’s seat of Ashfield and Richard Tice’s seat of Boston and Skegness, the latter being a Brexit heartland with a large (but overwhelmingly non-voting) Polish population, where voters place curbing immigration high on their list of priorities. 

As for some late results: Britain’s short-time PM Liz Truss is likely to be comforted by news that she has retained her South West Norfolk seat at around 5 am – if she suffers defeat, then the most apocalyptic polls for the Tories have born reality. And, at 6 am, if the Lib Dems succeed in seizing Henley and Thame after 114 blue years, then Tory party search-soul searching will reach new heights.

So stay tuned for a night of excitement. And don’t forget to check Reaction’s election live blog from 10 pm. Coffee – or perhaps something stronger – at the ready. 

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