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After six weeks of campaigning, the day of the election is finally upon us today. With our country at a crossroads, voters have a crucial decision to make, whether to allow the Tories five more years in office, after all the chaos and carnage they have caused, or to finally give them the boot after 14 years.

Of course at LFF we hope it’s the latter, as a country we cannot afford another Tory government, which has given us a cost of living crisis, a record fall in living standards, taxes at a post war high, a failing economy, public services on their knees and rising levels of poverty and homelessness.

Election night will soon be upon us. Here’s LFF’s hour by hour guide of what to expect on the night.

10pm: The exit poll

This will be the first big moment of election night and will give us a sense of what to expect. Commissioned by the broadcasters – Sky News, the BBC and ITV News – the fieldwork is carried out by IPSOS UK who will have interviewers at 133 polling stations around the country.

People who have just voted will be asked to privately fill in a replica ballot paper and place it into a ballot box as they leave their local community centre, church hall or station.

Based on previous elections, the exit poll is seen as a reliable indicator of the direction of travel.

11pm: Some early results

There is usually a competition among some constituencies to be the first to declare. Blyth and Ashington, and Houghton and Sunderland South, both in north-east England, are expected to be first at about 11.30pm on Thursday, and are forecast to be Labour holds.

Midnight to 3am: Some of the results to watch

It begins to get a bit more interesting, with around 85 seats expected to be declared. Among the seats to watch is Swindon South, likely to be the first battleground seat of the night to declare at around 12.15am.

It is being defended by former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland who is defending a majority of 5,650 and where Labour candidate Heidi Alexander – who was MP for Lewisham East from 2010-18 – needs a swing of 5.7 percentage points to win.

Also worth watching is Basildon and Billericay in Essex, expected to declare at about 12.15am. Tory party chair, Richard Holden, was controversially parachuted into the seat, much to the protest of the Tory grassroots.

At around 1am, East Kilbride & Strathaven, Hamilton & Clyde Valley and Rutherglen are also likely to declare, giving us an indication of what is happening in Scotland. All three are being defended by the SNP and all are Labour targets.

At 2.30 am its worth keeping an eye on Tory-held Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, where should a 21.5% percentage swing take place, would mean that the Labour Party is on track for a record-breaking win.

George Galloway’s seat in Rochdale is also expected to declare around 2.30am, which he won in a by-election. The Labour Party’s Paul Waugh is hoping to overturn his majority.

The result from Sir Keir Starmer’s constituency of Holborn & St Pancras is also due at around 2.30am.

It’s also worth keep an eye on mid-Bedfordshire, which is due to declare at around 2.45am, which the Labour Part won in a by-election in October 2023. Should the Labour Party win by a comfortable majority it would mean the party is on track for a massive commons majority.

3am to 5am: The busiest part of election night

The most significant part of election night and when a number of key contests will likely declare, with 250 declarations expected over the next hour.

Among the seats to watch is Islington North, where Jeremy Corbyn is standing as an independent against Labour candidate Praful Nargund.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk will also be of much interest as he tries to defend his seat in Cheltenham.

Eyes will also be on Chingford and Woodford Green where Faiza Shaheen is standing as an independent against Labour’s Shama Tatler, with Iain Duncan Smith attempting to defend a seat he has held on to since 1997.

Also due after 3am is Bristol Central a new seat at this election and one where the Green Party is pouring a lot of resources, to back its deputy leader Carla Denyer against Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire, previously MP for Bristol West.

Could the Chancellor also be about to lose his seat at this time? Jeremy Hunt will be hoping to win the new constituency of Godalming & Ash in Surrey. He is defending a notional Tory majority of 10,720, which looks very fragile given the state of the polls.

Another Cabinet minister who may well have lost his seat at this time is Grant Shapps who is standing in Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire. Shapps is defending a majority of 10,773 and Labour needs a swing of 10.4 percentage points to win.

Another Tory big beast whose seat is likely to be announced at this time is that of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt. She is defending a majority of 15,780 in Portsmouth North.

Clacton, where Nigel Farage is standing is also expected to announce its result at around 4.30am. Farage is hoping to finally be elected to Parliament after seven failed attempts.

5am to 7am

The remaining results will be declared from here onwards, with former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ seat among those to watch.

Northampton North, a bellwether seat at every general election since February 1974, is also due to declare.

Also due at around 5.30am is the result from Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, where Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner is defending a majority of 4,689.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

The post What time will seats declare? An hour-by-hour guide to election night appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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