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Labour tipped for historic win as UK voters go to the polls

(AFP)
4 July 2024 10:50

LONDON (AFP)

Britons headed to the polls Thursday in a general election widely expected to emphatically return the opposition Labour Party to power and end nearly a decade-and-a-half of Conservative rule.

The country's first national ballot since Boris Johnson won a landslide for the Tories in 2019 follows Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's surprise call to hold it six months earlier than required.

His gamble looks set to backfire spectacularly, with polls throughout the six-week campaign and for the last two years pointing to a heavy defeat for his right-wing party.

That would almost certainly put Labour leader Keir Starmer, 61, in Downing Street, as leader of the largest party in parliament.

 Labour Party is projected to win its first general election since 2005 by historic proportions, with a flurry of election-eve polls all forecasting its biggest-ever victory.

But Starmer was taking nothing for granted as he urged voters not to stay at home. "Britain's future is on the ballot," he said. "But change will only happen if you vote for it."

Long night

Voting began at 7:00 am in more than 40,000 polling stations across the country, from church halls, community centres and schools to more unusual venues such as pubs and even a ship.

At 10:00 pm, broadcasters then announce exit polls, which typically provide an accurate picture of how the main parties have performed.

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