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General Election: An hour-by-hour guide of what will take place tonight

2 weeks ago

General Election: An hour-by-hour guide of what will take place tonight
UK General Election. Credit: PA

By 4am enough results should be in to know which party is on course to win the General Election and by what margin.

Here is a guide to when to expect the key results on General Election night.

The election is being held using new constituency boundaries, which means the results cannot be compared directly with what happened at the last general election in 2019.

To measure how well the parties do at the election, and to determine which seats they need to win to form a government, a set of notional results for the 2019 election has been calculated to show what would have happened if that contest had taken place using the new boundaries.

All majorities and swings mentioned below are based on these notional results.

10.00pm

Largest majorities won by single parties at general elections since 1900. Infographic PA Graphics.
Largest majorities won by single parties at general elections since 1900. Infographic PA Graphics.

Polling stations close, followed immediately by the publication of the exit poll.

It will be announced live on the BBC, ITV and Sky News, and will offer the first clues as to how the night will unfold. At each of the past few elections, the exit poll has produced a very accurate projection of the actual result.

Meanwhile, counting begins at venues across the UK for all 650 election results.

11.00pm

The first seats to declare are likely to be Blyth & Ashington at around 11.30pm and Houghton & Sunderland South at around 11.45pm: both in north-east England and both defended by Labour.

Houghton & Sunderland South has been won by Bridget Phillipson for Labour at every election since the seat was created in 2010, where she is defending a narrow majority of 3,271, while Blyth & Ashington is a new constituency at this election, where Labour is defending a notional majority of 6,118.

The outcome may provide a guide to what to expect in seats where Labour has small majorities – in particular how Reform UK performs and what happens to the level of Conservative support.

12.00am

Swindon South is likely to be the first battleground seat of the night to declare at around 12.15am, where former justice secretary Robert Buckland 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.

Opinion polls suggest this is the sort of seat Labour ought to win comfortably, and as such the result will be a pointer to what could happen over the rest of the night.

A profile of the Swindon South constituency (PA Graphics)
A profile of the Swindon South constituency (PA Graphics)

Basildon & Billericay in Essex is another result due at around 12.15am, where Conservative chairman Richard Holden is a candidate due to a decision made by party officials just two days before the deadline for nominations, to the anger of some local party members, and where the Tories are defending a 20,749 majority.

Broxbourne in Hertfordshire is due at around 12.30am: a seat held continuously by the Conservatives since its creation in 1983, with a majority in 2019 of 19,192, the result giving an early indication of how the Tories are faring in their traditional Home Counties heartlands.

1.00am

East Kilbride & Strathaven, Hamilton & Clyde Valley and Rutherglen will provide a first indication of patterns of voting in Scotland.

All three are being defended by the SNP and all are Labour targets, with Rutherglen needing a 6.0-percentage point swing to change hands, Hamilton & Clyde Valley 8.2 points and East Kilbride & Strathaven 12.8 points.

A direct swing in the share of the vote of 10 percentage points from the SNP to Labour in Scotland could see Keir Starmer’s party pick up 15 constituencies.

A profile of the Harrogate & Knaresborough constituency (PA Graphics)
A profile of the Harrogate & Knaresborough constituency (PA Graphics)

Elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats could make their first gain of the night in Harrogate & Knaresborough, which they last held between 1997 and 2010 and where they need an 8.0-percentage point swing to take the seat from the Conservatives, ranking it at number 21 on the party’s target list.

Leigh & Atherton in Greater Manchester is ranked at number two on Labour’s target list: a new seat this election, but one where the Tories are defending a notional majority of just 293.

2.00am

The flow of results will now start to pick up, with just over 60 seats due to declare between 2am and 3am.

A win for Labour in Tory-held Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, expected to declare at around 2.30am, would suggest the party is on course for a record-breaking win: the seat needs an enormous 21.5-percentage point swing to change hands, ranking it at number 304 on Labour’s target list.

The party held the seat from 1997 to 2010 but it has been Tory ever since, with a 2019 majority of 19,879.

The Lib Dems should discover if they have been able to gain one of their longshots, Stratford-on-Avon, from the Conservatives: a seat they need a 17.8-point swing to win and which was held until this year by former Tory chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, who is not standing this time.

Workers’ Party leader George Galloway will learn if he has held on to Rochdale in Greater Manchester, which he won at a by-election in February this year.

The result from Keir Starmer’s constituency of Holborn & St Pancras is due at around 2.30am. The Labour leader is defending a very safe majority of 22,766 and is one of 12 candidates standing in the seat.

Mid Bedfordshire, due to declare at around 2.45am, was won by Labour from the Tories at a by-election in October 2023, marking the first time Keir’s party had represented the seat since its creation in 1918.

Based on the size of the swing Labour needs to win again (when compared with the 2019 notional result), the seat ranks at number 263 on the party’s target list – so a Labour victory here would suggest the party is on track for an enormous Commons majority.

Also worth watching will be the results from Bolsover in Derbyshire, held by Labour from 1950 to 2019 – for much of the time by veteran left-winger Dennis Skinner – until the Tories won at the last election, and which Labour will hope to win back; Peterborough and Redcar, two of Labour’s key targets; and Torbay in Devon, which could fall to the Lib Dems if Ed Davey’s party is doing exceptionally well.

3.00am

This is likely to be the busiest time of the night, with nearly 250 declarations expected over the next hour.

Islington North is due to declare, where Independent candidate and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is standing. Mr Corbyn has previously won the seat for Labour at every general election since 1983, but is no longer a member of the party and is contesting the seat with six others, including Labour candidate Praful Nargund.

The result is due from the new seat of Great Grimsby & Cleethorpes, where the Tories are defending a notional majority of 9,759: the sort of constituency Labour has to win (the swing needed is 11.8 points) to be sure of a comfortable majority.

A profile of the Great Grimsby & Cleethorpes constituency (PA Graphics)
A profile of the Great Grimsby & Cleethorpes constituency (PA Graphics)

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk is one of the Cabinet ministers most at risk at this election and the result from his seat of Cheltenham is due at around 3am, where he is defending a tiny majority of 1,421.

The constituency would fall to the Lib Dems on a swing of 1.3 percentage points, ranking it at number six on the party’s target list.

The result is also due at around 3am from Chingford & Wood Green, which former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has won at every general election (including its former incarnation as Chingford) since 1992, but where he is defending a majority of just 1,604 and which would change hands on a swing to Labour of 1.5 points.

Five other candidates are standing, including Shama Tatler for Labour and the Independent Faiza Shaheen, who was Labour’s candidate here in 2019, meaning there could be a partial split in the Labour vote.

Ed Davey’s seat of Kingston & Surbiton is due to declare at around 3.15am, where the Lib Dem leader is defending a majority of 11,174.

Witney in Oxfordshire, a seat won by the Tories at every election since its creation in 1983 and which was once represented by former prime minister David Cameron, is due to declare at this time – another seat that could fall to the Lib Dems if Ed’s party is having a very strong night.

Also due at around 3.15am is the result from Bristol Central: a new seat at this election and one of the Green Party’s top targets, where candidate Carla Denyer is hoping to beat Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire, previously MP for Bristol West.

At around 3.30am the result is likely from the new constituency of Godalming & Ash in Surrey, where Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt is one of six candidates. Mr Hunt could be at risk: he is defending a notional Tory majority of 10,720 and the seat has been heavily targeted by the Lib Dems, who need a swing of 9.7 points to win.

A profile of the Godalming & Ash constituency (PA Graphics)
A profile of the Godalming & Ash constituency (PA Graphics)

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps is another Conservative “big beast” potentially in trouble and the result from his seat of Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire should come in around this time. Mr Shapps has held the seat since 2005 but is defending a majority of 10,773 and Labour needs a swing of 10.4 percentage points to win.

House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt will find out if she has held her seat of Portsmouth North, which she has represented since 2010. She is defending a majority of 15,780 and a swing to Labour of 17.2 points would see her defeated.

Another Cabinet minister, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, will discover her fate at Chichester. Ms Keegan is defending a majority at this election of 19,622, with second-place party the Lib Dems needing a swing of 19.3 points to take a seat they last held – as the Liberal Party – 100 years ago.

Tatton in Cheshire, once the seat of former chancellor George Osborne and held since 2017 by Government minister and TV presenter Esther McVey, is due to declare, which would fall to Labour on a 17.4-point swing.

Other key seats to watch this hour include Ribble Valley in Lancashire, Thanet East in Kent and Scarborough & Whitby in North Yorkshire – all seats Labour needs to win to be sure of a majority in the next parliament – along with Tory-Lib Dem battlegrounds such as Eastleigh in Hampshire, Wells & Mendip Hills in Somerset and Newton Abbot in Devon, to see how well the Conservatives hold off any potential surge by Ed’s party in south-west England.

4.00am

Enough results should be in now to know which party is on course to win the election and by what margin.

Dartford in Kent is the longest-running “bellwether” constituency in the country and is due to declare at around 4am. Since 1964, whichever party wins Dartford has also gone on to form the government. Conservative candidate Gareth Johnson is defending a majority here of 14,704, with Labour needing a swing of 15.9 points to take the seat.

Douglas Alexander, who held a number of cabinet roles during the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has not been an MP since 2015 but is standing this year in Lothian East, Labour’s top target in Scotland where the SNP is defending a majority of 2,207.

A profile of the Lothian East constituency (PA Graphics)
A profile of the Lothian East constituency (PA Graphics)

Rishi Sunak’s seat of Richmond & Northallerton, in North Yorkshire, should declare at around this time. The Prime Minister is defending a huge notional majority of 24,331 and is one of 13 candidates standing in the constituency, making it the most contested seat in the country.

Clacton in Essex should declare, which is being defended by Giles Watling for the Conservatives and where Reform leader Nigel Farage is one of nine candidates. It is Mr Farage’s eighth attempt to become an MP.

The residents of Ashfield in Nottinghamshire will find out at around 4.30am if their next MP is former Conservative-turned-Reform candidate Lee Anderson, who won the seat (as a Tory) in 2019; Independent candidate Jason Zadrozny, who came second in 2019; new Conservative candidate Debbie Soloman; or Rhea Keehn for Labour, whose party held the seat from 1979 to 2019.

A profile of the Ashfield constituency (PA Graphics)
A profile of the Ashfield constituency (PA Graphics)

Former House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg will learn if he has won the new seat of Somerset North East & Hanham, where the notional Tory majority is 16,389 and which Labour would take on a swing of 14.3 percentage points, ranking it at number 165 on the party’s target list.

The Greens will discover whether they have held on to Brighton Pavilion in East Sussex, where Caroline Lucas was the party’s MP from 2010 to this year, and where their new candidate is Sian Berry.

They will also find out if the Greens’ co-leader Adrian Ramsay has managed to win the new seat of Waveney Valley in East Anglia, which is being treated as a notional Conservative defence.

A key result from Northern Ireland is due at around 4.30am in Lagan Valley, where Sinn Fein has stood aside in the hope of giving the Alliance Party a better chance of gaining the seat from the DUP.

5.00am

Northampton North, a bellwether seat at every general election since February 1974, is due to declare; Labour needs a 3.9-point swing to gain the constituency from the Tories.

Bellwether seats at UK general elections (PA Graphics)
Bellwether seats at UK general elections (PA Graphics)

Former prime minister Liz Truss will learn if she is back in her seat of Norfolk South West, where she is defending an enormous majority of 24,180.

The Leicestershire constituency of Loughborough, a bellwether at every general election since February 1974, is due to declare at around 5.30am; Labour needs a 5.9-point swing to gain the seat from the Tories.

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.

Two of the most remote constituencies in Scotland should declare during this hour: Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross and Orkney & Shetland, both of which the Lib Dems are hoping to win, while results should come in for two of Labour’s top London targets: Finchley & Golders Green and Hendon, both held since 2010 by the Conservatives.

6.00am

Among the final results to declare should be the London boroughs of Ilford North and Ilford South, both safe for Labour; the new constituency of Selby in North Yorkshire, which Keir Mather – the youngest MP at the end of the last parliament – is hoping to win for Labour and overturn a notional Tory majority of 14,838; and Farnham & Bordon, a new seat that straddles the borders of Hampshire and Surrey, which could bring the Lib Dems a late gain at the expense of the Conservatives.

7.00am and later

Recounts could delay some of the declarations from earlier, but every seat is due to begin counting overnight so there is a good chance all 650 results will be in by mid-morning.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.

Note: All notional results for the 2019 general election have been compiled by Professor Colin Rallings and Professor Michael Thrasher of the University of Plymouth, on behalf of the PA news agency, the BBC, ITN and Sky News.
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