Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

General Election hour by hour: your guide to a night of political drama

Election Office staff sort the ballot boxes for today’s vote
Election Office staff sort the ballot boxes for today’s vote

By Press Association and Adrian Rutherford

10pm: Polling stations close across Northern Ireland, followed immediately by the publication of the national 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. Counting of votes from Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies begins at four count centres in Belfast, Magherafelt, Omagh and Bangor.

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11pm: Two constituencies in the north-east of England are racing to be the first to declare: Houghton & Sunderland South and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central. Both results are expected around 11pm and both are safe Labour seats, so it will be the change in Labour's share of the vote - and the size of a potential swing to the Conservatives - that will be most useful in providing further clues to the overall election result. There should also be the first indications of turnout.

12am: Four more safe Labour seats are likely to have declared, all in north-east England. Again, look out for any evidence of a change in Labour's vote share and a possible swing to the Conservatives.

1am: Workington could be the first seat of the night to change hands. If the Conservatives take it from Labour, Boris Johnson might be on course for a comfortable majority in the new parliament. If Labour holds on, the overall result could be a lot closer.

2am: The first Northern Ireland results should be in. One of the first to declare is likely to be North Down - a seat formerly held by the independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, and being targeted at this election by the DUP, the Ulster Unionists and Alliance.

Other early local results are expected to be Lagan Valley and Strangford - traditionally safe DUP seats, where Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Shannon are defending large majorities.

Nationally, results will start to pick up. If Labour is doing well, they may take Carlisle, Putney, Thurrock and Vale of Glamorgan from the Conservatives.

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If Labour is doing badly, they could see the likes of Stockton South, Wrexham and West Bromwich West being gained by the Tories. Plaid Cymru will hope to hold Arfon and Dwyfor Meirionnydd.

The first results will come from Scottish seats being defended by the SNP, such as Dunbartonshire West and Lanark & Hamilton East.

3am: Results will be starting to pour in as the political landscape of Northern Ireland and the UK becomes clearer.

East Belfast, which Gavin Robinson won back for the DUP in 2015, is likely to have declared. The focus will be on whether Naomi Long can repeat Alliance's shock 2010 win.

Results should also be in for West Belfast, the safest of safe Sinn Fein seats; East Antrim (DUP since 2005) and East Londonderry, another DUP stronghold.

The result of South Antrim, where DUP MP Paul Girvan is being strongly challenged by Alliance's John Blair and Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan, should be known.

In neighbouring North Antrim, Ian Paisley will expect to be returned comfortably, holding the seat which has been DUP since the early 1970s.

Elsewhere, former Tory MP Dominic Grieve is hoping to win Beaconsfield as an independent. The Lib Dems will want to hold Brecon & Radnorshire, which they gained from the Conservatives earlier in the year, and retake Nick Clegg's former seat of Sheffield Hallam from Labour.

Labour might defeat Iain Duncan Smith in Chingford & Woodford Green, while the Lib Dems could take Esher & Walton from Dominic Raab. The result is due from Dartford, a bellwether seat since 1964.

The SNP have their eyes on the Tory seats of Ochil & Perthshire South and Stirling. If Labour is having a good night, they will be making gains in places like Telford and Worcester.

If the Tories are performing well, they will hope to take seats like Great Grimsby (a Labour seat since 1945), Bishop Auckland (a Labour seat since 1935) and Don Valley (Labour since 1922).

Jeremy Corbyn's result in Islington North is due, as is Jo Swinson's result in Dunbartonshire East.

4am: Northern Ireland's key marginal seats should have declared, including North Belfast, where John Finucane (Sinn Fein) is hoping to unseat Nigel Dodds (DUP).

South Belfast, where the DUP's Emma Little-Pengelly is under threat, is also likely to have declared, so too Foyle, Northern Ireland's most marginal seat, won by 169 votes in 2017 and which the SDLP is aiming to win back from Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein will expect to hold West Tyrone when its result is announced, while Carla Lockhart is aiming to hold Upper Bann for the DUP.

South Down is also likely to have declared - Chris Hazzard took the seat for Sinn Fein in 2017 from former SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie. Sinn Fein will hope to hold Mid-Ulster, so too Newry and Armagh.

Over half of the UK-wide results will be in, and the overall trend of the night should be clear at this point.

Labour targets such as Harrow East, Loughborough and Milton Keynes South will declare, likewise Lib Dem targets like St Albans and Cheltenham. All are being defended by the Conservatives. Labour will hope to hold the ultra-marginal seats of Canterbury and Crewe & Nantwich, as well as Ipswich, Lincoln and Rother Valley, which are all Tory targets.

Plaid Cymru is defending Ceredigion against challenges from the Lib Dems, Labour and the Tories.

The SNP will hope to hold Fife North East and with a larger margin than they managed in 2017, when they had a majority of just two.

5am: The Ulster Unionists are hoping to take Fermanagh-South Tyrone from Sinn Fein - it was the last Northern Ireland constituency to declare in 2017, at 4.10am. The DUP have stood aside to give UUP candidate Tom Elliott a clear run at Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew.

Nationally, Anna Soubry should have discovered whether she has been able to hold Broxtowe for the Change party. Boris Johnson should also know whether he's safely back in Uxbridge & South Ruislip, where he won only a slim majority over Labour in 2017.

Kensington, another of Labour's ultra-marginals, should have declared by now, although the result in 2017 needed several recounts and wasn't confirmed until nearly 24 hours after polls closed. The Lib Dems have a chance to make a couple of gains from the Tories in Cheadle and Hazel Grove, while the SNP could do likewise in Gordon.

Dennis Skinner could be unseated by the Conservatives in Bolsover, and other Labour seats at risk include Ashfield, Colne Valley and Keighley.

6am: Results should have slowed to a trickle. A handful of seats in London could deliver some late upsets: Labour is hoping to take Chipping Barnet and Hendon from the Conservatives, while the Liberal Democrats could unseat the Tories in Finchley & Golders Green and Richmond Park. The Lib Dems are also eyeing the Tory seat of Wells.

10am: There is the possibility of some very late gains for the Lib Dems in south-west England, who are hoping to defeat the Tories in Cornwall North, St Austell & Newquay and St Ives.

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.

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