The Latest | The UK goes to the polls in a national election with results expected early Friday

    Voters in the U.K. are casting their ballots in a national election to choose the 650 lawmakers who will sit in Parliament for the next five years. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surprised his own party on May 22 when he called the election, which could have taken place as late as January 2025.

    After 14 years in power under five different prime ministers, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ’s Conservatives are widely expected to lose to the main opposition party, the left-of-center Labour Party led by Keir Starmer. Sunak’s party has struggled to reassure voters on issues including the rising cost of living and a crisis in the National Health Service.

    Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 10 p.m. on Thursday night. Even before in-person voting began, hundreds of thousands of people had cast their ballot by postal vote.

    An exit poll commissioned by the main U.K. broadcasters will be published as soon as the polls close, giving an indication of the likely result.

    Counting will begin immediately but most of the results will only be announced in the early hours of Friday.

    Here’s the latest:

    England’s team base at the European Championship soccer tournament in Germany is a “politics-free zone” on election day, defender John Stones says.

    Stones said he had no clue about his teammates’ voting intentions.

    “I couldn’t tell you about the other lads. I’m sure it it’ll be something that’ll get brought up tonight, later on, but I couldn’t tell you who they vote for. They keep it close to their chests,” he said.

    That’s a stark contrast to France’s players, who have been vocal about a hard-fought parliamentary election campaign at home.

    England is preparing for its Euro 2024 quarterfinal match against Switzerland on Saturday

    LONDON — Britain is going to the polls Thursday at a time when public dissatisfaction is running high over a host of issues.

    From the high cost of living and a stagnating economy to a dysfunctional state health care system and crumbling infrastructure, some disillusioned voters have turned to the populist Reform Party.

    Its divisive leader Nigel Farage, who championed Brexit, is drawing growing numbers of Conservative voters with his pledge to “take our country back.”

    Opponents have long accused Farage of fanning racist attitudes toward migrants and condemned what they call his scapegoat rhetoric. They say that underfunding of schools, hospitals and housing under governments on the right and left is the problem, not migrants.

    Polls show Farage has a comfortable lead in Clacton-on-Sea — a town on England’s southeast coast where many older, white voters used to staunchly support the governing Conservatives.

    It’s unclear how much impact his party will have in capturing seats and Parliament, though it could be a spoiler by siphoning votes from Conservative candidates.

    Farage, who has lost seven campaigns for Parliament, was the rare party leader who didn’t go to the polls Thursday. He voted in advance by mail.

    All voters in the U.K. were required to bring identification with them Thursday for the first time in a general election.

    A change in the law has required voters in England, Scotland and Wales to prove their identity since 2023 by showing a passport, drivers’ license and more than a dozen other acceptable forms of ID.

    Voters in Northern Ireland have had to show identification since 1985, and photo ID since 2003.

    The Elections Act introduced by former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2022 was enforced, ironically, earlier this year when Johnson tried to vote without ID in a local election in South Oxfordshire.

    He was turned away, but returned later with his identification and cast his vote.

    Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey voted Thursday in an election that could see his left-of-center party gain a larger share of seats in Parliament.

    Davey’s Lib Dems have been trying to make inroads in areas of southern England where Conservatives are vulnerable as their party has plunged in popularity after 14 years in power.

    Davey’s stunt-filled campaign has been a publicity bonanza. He has tumbled off a paddleboard into a lake, braved roller coaster rides and bungee jumped, urging voters to take “a leap of faith.”

    The party had 15 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons when Parliament was dissolved in May.

    The party has vowed to improve Britain’s ailing health and social care systems, including introducing free nursing care at home. It wants to lower voting age to 16 and rejoin the European Union’s single market. Davey has championed the cause of hold water companies accountable for dumping sewage in rivers.

    Davey, first elected to Parliament in 1997, greeted members of the news media as he arrived with his wife, Emily, to vote at a Methodist church in Surbiton, a suburb in southwest London.

    “It’s a beautiful day,” he said as he left the polls. “I hope lots of people come out to vote.”

    Communities all over the United Kingdom such as Henley-on-Thames are locked in tight contests in which traditional party loyalties come second to more immediate concerns about the economy, crumbling infrastructure and the National Health Service.

    Though it has traditionally been a Conservative Party stronghold, the area known for its famous regatta may change its stripes. The Conservatives, which took power during the depths of the global financial crisis, have been beset by sluggish growth, declining public services and a series of scandals, making them easy targets for critics on the left and right.

    “This is a blue (Conservative) town, always has been,’’ said Sam Wilkinson, a restaurant manager. “My generation won’t necessarily vote blue, not necessarily, but at the same time who else do you vote for? It’s really tricky. I’m just kind of looking out for my kids really, hopefully more money into education and the arts.”

    Residents steadily streamed to the polling station, including Patricia Mulcahy, who is retired.

    “The younger generation are far more interested in change,’’ she said. “So, I think whatever happens in Henley, in the country, there will be a big shift. But whoever gets in, they’ve got a heck of a job ahead of them. It’s not going to be easy.”

    Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is running for reelection as an independent, posted a photo of himself voting Thursday in his North London district.

    Corbyn, a socialist who has won his seat for Labour at every general election since 1983, was suspended from the party and barred from running by Labour after his leadership faced antisemitism allegations.

    He became deeply unpopular after Labour in 2019 suffered its worst defeat since 1935.

    Keir Starmer was chosen as leader to replace Corbyn and he has rebuilt it and moved it closer to the center. Pollsters and politicians expect Labour to win the largest number of seats.

    Corbyn posted a photo of himself on the social media platform X with his right thumb up, saying: “Just voted for the independent candidate in Islington North. I heard he’s alright.”

    Labour Party leader Keir Starmer voted Thursday in an election that is widely expected to return his party to power for the first time in 14 years and make him prime minister.

    Starmer, who has warned his supporters not to take the election for granted despite polls and politicians predicting a landslide, voted in his London neighborhood.

    Pollsters have given Labour a double-digit lead since before the campaign began six weeks ago.

    Starmer has spent his time criss-crossing Britain and urging voters to vote for change.

    He has pledged to revive a sluggish economy, invest in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and repair the broken National Health Service, which his center-left party founded in 1945.

    Scottish National Party leader John Swinney has voted as his party fights to hold off a wave of support from the rival Labour Party.

    Swinney, who became the SNP’s third leader in just over a year in May, has tried to bring stability to a party in turmoil.

    Scotland’s long-serving First Minister Nicola Sturgeon abruptly stepped down last year during a campaign finance investigation that eventually led to criminal charges against her husband, who was the party’s chief executive.

    Swinney joined the party at 15 years old, and previously led the party from 2000 to 2004.

    Swinney has said that if his party wins a majority of seats in Scotland he will try to open Scottish independence negotiations with the London-based U.K. government. He wants to rejoin the European Union and the European single market.

    Swinney walked to the polls in Burrelton Village Hall, Perthshire, with his 13-year-old son Matthew.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cast his ballot Thursday in a national election that will determine if he remains in office.

    Sunak, who tried to bring stability to a Conservative Party in chaos when he was picked as leader in October 2022, spent the past six weeks trying to persuade voters across the U.K. to give his party another term after 14 years in power.

    Pollsters and politicians widely expect the Labour Party to win for the first time since 2005.

    Sunak’s campaign got off to a soggy start when he called the snap election in a downpour outside 10 Downing Street in May.

    He had been expected to wait until the fall, when expected improvements in the economy would give him a better chance.

    Sunak voted shortly after polls opened in his constituency in Yorkshire in northern England.

    British voters are picking a new government on Thursday after polls opened at 7 a.m. for a parliamentary election that is widely expected to bring the opposition Labour Party to power.

    Against a backdrop of economic malaise, mounting distrust of government institutions and a fraying social fabric, a fractious electorate is delivering its verdict on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party, which has been in power since 2010.

    The center-left Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, has had a steady and significant lead in opinion polls for months, but Labour leaders have warned against taking the election result for granted, worried their supporters will stay home.

    Sunak, for his part, has tried to rally his supporters, saying on Sunday that he still thought the Conservatives could win and defending his record on the economy.


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