Leaders in last push for votes in ‘most important election in a generation’

Leaders of the main parties are engaged in a frantic last drive for votes in a General Election both Tories and Labour have described as the most important in a generation.

With just hours to go before polls open on Thursday, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn were criss-crossing the country in a final bid to shore up support and get out the vote.

Final opinion polls suggested that while the Conservatives remain out in front, they were still not guaranteed an overall majority in the new parliament.

The Prime Minister began his day with a photo-opportunity delivering milk in the Conservative-held marginal of Pudsey in West Yorkshire, insisting he was “fighting for every vote”.

“This could not be more critical, it could not be tighter – I just say to everybody the risk is very real that we could tomorrow be going into another hung parliament,” he told reporters.

Mr Corbyn started his last day of campaigning in Glasgow South West – where Labour is hoping to overturn an SNP majority at the last election of just 60 – with a promise of “real hope” for voters affected by years of austerity.

“They need a UK government that will invest all across the country and give real hope and real security to people,” he said.

“That is the offer that Labour makes and we’ve carried that message all across the country during the last 51 days of this campaign.”

Jeremy Corbyn addresses supporters in Glasgow
Jeremy Corbyn addresses supporters in Glasgow at the start of the final day of campaigning (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was concentrating her efforts on the area around London and Surrey where the party is hoping to pick up seats.

They include Esher and Walton where polls have suggested Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab may be vulnerable, despite a majority of more than 23,000 at the 2017 general election.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was due to join SNP candidates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Dunbartonshire, while Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was heading for South Yorkshire.

A final constituency-by-constituency poll by YouGov forecast the Conservatives were on course for a 28 seat majority.

However, it warned the margin of error – together with the unknown impact of tactical voting – meant a hung parliament was still possible, as was a larger Tory majority.

POLITICS Election
(PA Graphics)

The pollsters, who have analysed more than 100,000 voter interviews over the past week, calculated the Tories would win 339 seats and Labour 231.

A 28-seat majority would be the best Tory result since Margaret Thatcher’s showing in 1987 – but it is sharply down from the 68-seat victory margin that was being forecast just two weeks ago.

Chris Curtis, YouGov’s political research manager, said: “The margins are extremely tight and small swings in a small number of seats, perhaps from tactical voting and a continuation of Labour’s recent upward trend, means we can’t currently rule out a hung parliament.”

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