Final push as UK goes to the polls
Leaders of Britain's biggest parties criss-crossed the country yesterday in a whirlwind last-minute bid for votes ahead of today’s general election.
Theresa May campaigned for votes in London's Smithfield meat market, where the Prime Minister posed for photos with butchers wearing bloodied white coats.
Jeremy Corbyn told a rally of cheering supporters in Glasgow that he was hopeful of a "very historic" Labour majority on Friday.
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said a Tory landslide could only be prevented if people voted tactically to minimise Theresa May's majority.
As the parties focused on their core messages to ensure supporters turn out to vote, Labour warned that voters had "24 hours to save the NHS".
And Mrs May trumpeted her readiness to tear up human rights laws to tackle terrorism, declaring the choice of prime minister on June 8 was between "somebody who has protected national security or somebody who's voted against it."
The run-up to the election has been dominated by fierce debate over Brexit and security in the wake of recent terror attacks in the UK.
Gibraltar does not vote in a UK general election, but Britain’s main parties have nonetheless included manifesto commitments on the Rock, signalling heightened interest in against the back-drop of Brexit.
The Conservatives said they would protect the right of the people of Gibraltar to remain British for as long as they wished, a pledge echoed by the Liberal Democrats.
Labour vowed to uphold Gibraltar’s British sovereignty and protect its economy if it wins the UK’s June 8 general election.
With opinion polls showing Mrs May’s lead over the Labour opposition narrowing in the last three weeks and some suggesting her Conservatives could even lose their majority in parliament, the outcome looks much more uncertain than the landslide predicted when the Prime Minister called the election in April.
A daily constituency-by-constituency estimate by pollster YouGov suggested Tories could take 302 Commons seats - down 28 from the end of the previous parliament - compared with Labour's 269 (up 40), with the Scottish National Party on 44 (down 10) and the Lib Dems on 12 (up three), denying any party the 323 MPs they need for an absolute majority.
However, there has been a wide variation in findings from polls as the election approached.
A Press Association "poll of polls" taking in 10 results from the past week - not including the YouGov seat-by-seat model - put the Conservatives on 44%, seven points clear of Labour on 37%, with the Liberal Democrats on 8%, Ukip on 4% and the Greens on 2%.
European Union leaders are watching the election process closely, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel stating yesterday that negotiations on Britain's departure from the bloc will begin shortly after today’s vote.
“We can't prejudge the vote in Britain,” Mrs Merkel said when asked about her view of today’s snap election.
“The decision to leave the EU has been taken and we are working on the basis of what Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to us,” she added.
“I think the negotiations will begin soon after the elections.”