Election 2019 LIVE: Queue chaos at polling stations as voters forced to wait ’25 minutes’

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MASSIVE queues are forming at polling stations across the country, with people reporting having to wait in line for the first time to cast their ballots, pointing to a bumper general election turnout.

Polling booths have opened across Britain as voters head to ballot boxes in what has been billed as the most important General Election in a generation – and Steve Swinford, The Times’ deputy political editor, was one of those who suggested queues were out of the ordinary following a trip to his polling station in Battersea, South London. Others concurred: Lori Smith tweeted: “There’s never been a queue at our polling station before. Took me 25 minutes, but have now voted.” Chris Kilgariff, also in London, added: “I’ve never seen a queue like this at my polling station before.”

Waits of more than half an hour were reported at various locations across England on Thursday morning.

Queuing appeared particularly widespread in London, with long lines reported in a number of constituencies.

Chris Schofield said more than 70 voters were waiting in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency – some of whom gave up and left during his 20-minute wait, “presumably to go to work”.

“It’s about 20 times busier than it was in 2017, and for the locals and Euro elections.”

People in Wandsworth were reportedly waiting up to to 45 minutes to cast their votes, compared with five minutes at previous elections.

Lengthy queues were also reported in Brixton, Putney and Manchester.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who rolled the dice by triggering the vote, has sought to focus on his pledge to “get Brexit done” throughout the campaign.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, his rival in the race to Number 10, has instead tried to highlight his party’s credentials on the health service and other domestic issues.

Mr Johnson was pictured with dog Dilyn on the way to cast his vote in Westminster earlier, while Mr Corbyn did likewise in Islington.

The polls have narrowed in the final week of what has largely been a tame campaign – with few gaffes and many stage-managed visits.

On Monday Mr Johnson came under fire for his alleged lack of empathy when he pocketed a journalist’s phone when asked to view a photograph of a four-year-old boy who was forced to sleep on a hospital floor.

The following day, however, Labour’s campaign was rocked when Shadow Health Secretary John Ashworth was revealed to have poured scorn on Mr Corbyn’s election chances in a leaked recording.

The polls opened at 7am, and will close at 10pm tonight, and voters are already flocking to cast their ballots – some of them accompanied by their four-legged friends, posting to the hashtag #dogsatpollingstations.

The DUP’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds has shut the door on the possibility on any deal to put the Labour leader into Downing Street.

He told The Guardian outside a polling station in North Belfast: “Jeremy Corbyn is someone whom we could never support as Prime Minister.

“For most unionists Jeremy Corbyn is a complete no no. We will never support Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Jeremy Corbyn will not get our support.

“Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister brings a lot of other things to the table which we could never accept.

“All those things would be anathema to the DUP and the people that we represent.”

Britons have less than three hours left to vote before the polls close at 10pm.

Massive queues have been forming at polling stations across the country, pointing to a bumper general election turnout.

Speaking at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, Irish Prime Minister said: “The best thing for Ireland, for the UK and for Europe would be an end to the uncertainty.

“Whether that’s Prime Minister Johnson winning with a large majority, or remain parties winning a majority, we’ll work with whatever the outcome is.

“What has been very hard to work with was a hung parliament that wasn’t able to come to a majority decision on anything. I just hope we’re not in that position tomorrow.”

Wandsworth council, which covers Battersea, Putney and Tooting, has confirmed “unprecedented numbers” of people were voting this morning.

The council tweeted: “We are grateful to our election staff who faced unprecedented numbers at polling stations this morning.

“They are working hard to clear queues would like to thank voters for their patience.”

Xavier Bettel was asked what advice he would give the newly elected Prime Minister, whoever that may be.

Speaking as he arrived at the Europa building in Brussels for a meeting of EU leaders, he told reporters: “To get a majority in the House of Commons and to be able to fulfil the agreements we decided on both sides.

“To have a parliament in London that agrees on the future relationship and all these things very quickly.”

All 28 EU heads of state and Government – except Boris Johnson – are gathering in Brussels for a two-day summit.

Mr Johnson is being represented by Donald Tusk’s replacement as European Council President, Charles Michel, who is also a former Prime Minister of Belgium.

Heavy rain and winds forecast for remainder of voting day

Heavy rain and strong winds will continue to batter Britain as millions of people head to polling stations to cast their vote for the general election.

Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: “Southern and central Scotland will turn wet during the afternoon, while Wales and southwestern parts of both Britain and Ireland will see rain giving way to heavy, blustery showers.

“The winds will also pick up, and most other places will be wet into the evening.

“Tonight, it will be wet and windy across northeast Scotland.

“There will be clear spells and showers elsewhere, the heaviest downpours concentrated across Ireland, Wales and western England where it will be windy too.”

Polls are open and Britons across the UK are heading out to cast their vote – but who will win? The first indication we’ll get today will be the exit poll this evening, but what time will the exit poll be released?

Exit polls have been used to predict the results of general elections in the UK for several decades now, with varying levels of accuracy.

The BBC’s very own Huw Edwards will deliver the verdict tonight – and Express.co.uk has a guide on what the poll actually means.

A voter captured shocking footage of the moment a Labour activist tried to influence them outside a polling station – appearing to breach election rules.

Dramatic footage outside a polling station in London shows a Labour activist appearing to breach electoral rules by handing out campaign leaflets.

The Electoral Commission states campaigning cannot take place in the vicinity of the polling station to prevent “undue influence”, in what they describe as an “offence of undue influence”.

In the exchange, the Labour activist tells the voter to “take a leaflet”.

Not to be outdone, by various dogs and the occasional cat, a horse has paid a visit to a polling station in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Council’s official Twitter feed posted: “Well, we’ve seen many #dogsatpollingstations but a #horsewithacause is a new one on us!

“He was a bit lairy when he arrived and was jockeying for position, so we had to rein him in.

“However, we’re delighted he showed up for the mane event (…i’ll get my coat) #GE2019”

Election 2019 is now well underway and voters are already speculating as to who could have won. So when will the results be announced?

Leaders of the main political parties are heading to the polls today as the election date has finally arrived.

The weeks prior to day have seen a closely fought contest, with Boris Johnson vowing to “get Brexit done” as his rivals look to give the public another say on the final EU deal.

The third General Election in less than five years has been largely dominated by the 2016 vote to leave the European Union.

Sinn Fein’s vice president Michelle O’Neill has cast her vote in the General Election.

She arrived at St Patrick’s Primary School, Annaghmore, in Co Tyrone at around midday.

The Mid Ulster MLA spoke to a number of local voters as she left the polling station.

Lefty celebrity Hugh Grant sparked a huge Twitter backlash and even became embroiled in a spat with Piers Morgan over his attempts to “thwart democracy”.

Left-wing luvvie Hugh Grant drew a furious backlash after going on the offensive against Boris Johnson’s message of getting Brexit done.

Mr Grant has been campaigning over the last few weeks on an anti-Brexit message. His stance has caused ITV’s Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan to lash out on Twitter.

His remarks were immediately condemned by listeners who charged him with trying to overturn Brexit.

Angry voters have claimed they have been turned away from polling stations without being allowed to vote.

The country has gone to the polls today in what has been billed as the most important General Election in a generation.

But some people have complained about being sent away without being allowed to cast their vote.

Ellis Bennett, 18, claimed he was told he was not registered to vote by his polling station in Woolton Village.

Alixe Bovey reported queueing for 35 minutes in the Streatham constituency.

“In 20 years of voting in Streatham Hill, always at about this time of day, I have never encountered a queue of more than six or seven people,” she tweeted.

Waits were also reported in English cities such as Cambridge, where John Walsh tweeted to say it was the “first time ever” that he had to queue to exercise his democratic right.

In the 2017 poll, there was an electorate of 3,988,490 people and a turnout of 66.4 percent.

Voters unable to vote for whatever reason can return to their polling stations at any time before 10pm on Thursday evening.

Members of the public have been reported leaving before casting their votes due to long queues outside some polling stations.

Waits of more than half an hour were reported at various locations across England on Thursday morning.

Queuing appeared particularly widespread in London, with long lines reported in a number of constituencies.

Chris Schofield said more than 70 voters were waiting in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency – some of whom gave up and left during his 20-minute wait, “presumably to go to work”.

He added: “It’s about 20 times busier than it was in 2017, and for the locals and Euro elections.

“Atmosphere is very London: orderly queueing and no-one is talking to each other!”

Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has braved the elements to cast his vote in his North-East Somerset constituency, shielding himself from the rain with an umbrella.

Mr Mogg, who was in the news days earlier after the words “Get Mogg Out” were scrawled at the top of a giant slag heap in the area, tweeted: “Polls are open until 10pm.

“Vote Conservative for a strong economy and to get Brexit done.”

The Dog’s Trust has issued guidance with Britain’s canines flocking to polling stations today

A spokesman said: “It’s best not to leave your dog tied up outside or in the car so we’d recommend taking a friend or family member with you

“Supporting the right to vote can be thirsty business. Encourage your local Polling Station to have a water bowl – perhaps take one with you that you can leave there.

“It’s unusual for us to have a winter election so, if you are voting after work, consider using a reflective collar and lead or a high visibility coat or flashing collar to make sure other voters and particularly drivers can see your pooch – especially if you live in a rural area.

“Be prepared for queuing in harsh weather, such as rain or snow, by making sure your dog is wrapped up warm or wearing a waterproof coat.

“If your dog isn’t that sociable with other dogs he or she may meet in the queue, have a look at our behaviour advice.”

Jeremy Corbyn was met by protesters while heading to his polling station in North London, including a person dressed as Elmo who was escorted away by security.

Mr Corbyn voted at 9.30am with wife Laura Alvarez in Islington North, where he lives and has represented as an MP since 1983. He was greeted by a group of young people as he arrived to cast his vote.

A protester dressed as Elmo, a character from children’s TV programme Sesame Street, was restrained by security guards as she tried to approach Mr Corbyn as he entered the polling station.

As the woman in fancy dress argued with security and police, Mr Corbyn said: “Hello guys, can we stop the arguments please.”

It’s not just dogs who are keen for their close-ups at the UK’s polling stations it seems.

A black-and-white moggy was caught on camera arriving with a determined look on his face, with his owner heard to ask: “What are you doing?”

Reports that he was intending to vote for Nigel Furr-age remain unconfirmed…

A burst water main has caused chaos for voters in Bermonsey in south-east London, with footage of people wading through several inches of water to get to their polling station.

Hannah Tookey tweeted: “It was too deep to wade through the middle, even in wellies.”

She said there was flooding “all the way down the street”.

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has been pictured arriving to vote in Brighton with son Isaac.

Mrs Lucas tweeted: “Just voted! Good luck to all our amazing ⁦@TheGreenParty⁩ candidates up & down the country who’ve fought such a brilliant campaign

“And to our fab leadership team ⁦@jon_bartley⁩ ⁦@sianberry⁩ & ⁦@Amelia_Womack⁩ for wonderful work #VoteGreen #IfNotNowWhen”

Mr Johnson took the seat with a 5,034 majority at the snap election two years ago but pro-European Union campaigners have urged Remainers to unite behind Labour’s Ali Milani in a bid to topple the former London mayor this time round.

When the ex-journalist was elected to the seat in 2015, he was living in Islington, famously giving a statement outside his home when declaring for Leave before the 2016 referendum.

On polling day in 2017, then-prime minister Theresa May voted in her constituency of Maidenhead and David Cameron had his say in Witney in 2015.

The seat is also being targeted by Chuka Umunna, who joined the Liberal Democrats this year after quitting the Labour Party.

Mr Johnson took around three minutes to vote and, upon exiting the polling station, posed for pictures with his dog Dilyn before heading back to Downing Street.

Boris Johnson has not voted for himself on polling day after registering to vote in Westminster rather than his own marginal London constituency.

The Prime Minister broke with a tradition set by his recent predecessors and voted at Methodist Central Hall, near Downing Street, at around 8.15am.

Incumbents of Number 10 have in the past voted in the constituency they lived in while serving as an MP.

He opted to vote in central London despite a heavy tactical voting campaign to oust him from his own Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.

Other voters have testified to the size of queues at polling stations across the UK.

One. Lori Smith, tweeted: “There’s never been a queue at our polling station before. Took me 25 minutes, but have now voted.”

Chris Kilgariff, also in London, added: “I’ve never seen a queue like this at my polling station before.”

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has arrived at her polling station in Glasgow.

Mrs Swinson was pictured with husband Duncan Hames.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been pictured heading to vote in Islington.

Mr Corbyn, who was accompanied by his wife Laura Alvarez, stopped to pose for a selfie along the way.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has arrived to vote at her polling station in Glasgow.

Ms Sturgeon has indicated she would be willing to work with Jeremy Corbyn to form a coalition Government – if he agrees to a second independent referendum.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has arrived to vote – also with dog in tow.

Labrador Luna looked reasonably unfazed by the publicity, waiting patiently outside the polling station in a video shared by Mr Khan.

European shares rose slightly on Thursday as investors awaited the outcome of a general election in Britain that will decide the fate of Brexit, as well as a policy meeting by the European Central Bank (ECB).

While all major opinion polls suggest the ruling Conservative Party will win Thursday’s election, allowing them to pass a withdrawal deal and end 3-1/2-years of uncertainty, their lead seems to have narrowed recently.

Attention will also be on the remarks made by the newly appointed ECB chief Christine Lagarde on the future of stimulus and policy review as the current policy is expected to stay unchanged.

Michael Portillo has explained the intense “public humiliation” faced in losing your seat in an election and offered advice to any MPs about to be unseated.

Former Conservative MP Michael Portillo explained he would not wish any current politicians to suffer their own “Portillo moment”.

While on World at One with Sarah Montague he explained that politicians have time limits and the electorates are willing to emphasise this fact through their votes.

When asked if there were any MPs he wanted to have their own “Portillo moment” the ex-politician said: “I think I can say out of the generosity of my heart no.

Times deputy political editor Steve Swinford has reported large queues at a polling station in South London.

He tweeted:Big queue of 100+ people ahead of me at the polling station in marginal Battersea. There’s 50 odd people behind me too.”

He subsequently added: “Queue at polling station in marginal Battersea even bigger now, stretching right round the corner.”

In keeping with the dogs-at-polling-stations theme, Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought his recently acquired rescue pooch Dilyn with him when he arrived to cast his ballot in Westminster this morning.

Dilyn moved into Number 10 with Boris Johnson, 55, and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, 31 shortly after Mr Johnson became Prime Minister in July.

Today the UK will take to the polls to elect a new government, with polls opening bright and early at 7am this morning. But do you need to take ID with you in order to vote?

Across the country, voters will head to the polls on Thursday to pick which MP they would like to represent them in Parliament.

On the last day of the campaign trail politicians have been attending rallies, speaking to voters and trying to get last-minute votes in close polling constituencies.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have been campaigning across the country on Wednesday, travelling hundreds of miles to canvass for votes.

Leader Nigel Farage urged Leavers in Labour constituencies to back the Brexit Party rather than the Tories.

He tweeted a video together with the message: “There are 130 seats the Conservatives haven’t won in 50 years and they won’t win them today.

“Leavers, don’t waste your vote!”

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson likewise stuck to her guns.

She tweeted an early morning picture of herself, commenting: “Good Morning!

“Today is #GeneralElection2019 polling day! “#VoteLibDem to #StopBorisJohnson and #StopBrexit.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile also on familiar themes which he has focused on throughout the campaign.

He tweeted: “The Tories and their billionaire-owned media will tell you otherwise, but today…

“You can vote to save our NHS. 

“You can vote to end austerity.

“You can vote to rescue our planet.

“You can vote for hope.”

Meanwhile Boris Johnson took the opportunity to tweet out a familiar message as polls opened.

The Prime Minister posted: “Today is our chance to get Brexit done. Vote Conservative.”

It is a case of the dogs at dawn up and down the UK, with sleepy canines the length and breadth of the country accompanying their owners to cast their votes while it was still dark.

Tom Wilkinson shared a picture of his furry friend, commenting: “Too dark for a decent #dogsatpollingstations pic. Stupid Winter election.”

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