General election: What time will key seats declare their results and when is the exit poll?

Lizzy Buchan
AFP

Put the kettle on, it is going to be a long night.

After weeks of dodgy photo opportunities, awkward encounters with voters and little sleep, 650 parliamentary candidates are waiting for voters to decide their fate.

Election nights always provide surprises, and this poll is likely to be no exception.

So if you are worried about missing anything, here is our guide for the moments worth staying up for.

10pm

The polls close and the broadcasters surge to life for a long night of election coverage, starting with the exit poll – offering the first prediction of how the night could unfold.

Sky, ITV and the BBC have jointly commissioned the snap survey of thousands of voters as they leave polling stations in 144 constituencies across England, Scotland and Wales.

Exit polls are not always right but they can give an early look at the bigger picture. In 2017, the exit poll said the Tories would be the largest party but would fail to gain a majority. Theresa May was left with a hung parliament.

11pm

The first seats start declaring around this time, with fierce competition between Houghton and Sunderland South, and Newcastle Central to count their ballots quickest.

Both are Labour-held seats but the Conservatives boosted their votes in 2017, so it will be worth watching to see how Boris Johnson’s party fares.

Several other northern seats will declare around midnight, such as Sunderland Central, and Washington and Sunderland West, an area that voted heavily for Leave in the referendum. These seats will be key to seeing how Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance is playing out.

2am

Results will be starting to pour in by this time, with all eyes on whether Labour is able to hold its so-called “Red Wall”. These are seats in Leave-backing areas across North Wales, the Midlands and the North of England, which the Tories have been targetting heavily.

Keep an eye on traditional Labour seats such as Darlington and Wigan, where MP Lisa Nandy has been backing a Brexit deal. Workington – totemic for the “Workington man” voter and Tom Watson’s old seat of West Bromwich East are also worth watching.

The Brexit Party is throwing the kitchen sink at winning Hartlepool but its candidate Richard Tice is likely to be beaten by Labour

3am

Things will be getting hectic, with a clearer picture of whether the Tories are making the gains they need from Labour.

If they win Labour seats like Don Valley or even Sedgefield, Tony Blair’s old seat, then their Brexit message will have got through to voters. Also worth seeing if Labour can hold Peterborough, after they saw off a challenge from the Brexit Party at a by-election in June.

A string of Brexit big beasts will be facing judgement from the voters. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is battling the Liberal Democrats in Esher and Walton in what could be the “Portillo moment” of the night.

Iain Duncan-Smith, the former Tory leader, is under pressure from Labour in Chingford and Wood Green, while veteran Brexiteer John Redwood is also facing a challenge to win back Remain-voting Wokingham.

Over in Belfast North, Sinn Fein are trying to oust the DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds, while in Beaconsfield, ex-Tory Brexit rebel Dominic Grieve is fighting his old party as an independent.

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to easily win Islington North around this time, while Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, should secure a comfortable victory in Islington South and Finsbury.

For the Lib Dems, a key focal point will be whether Chuka Umunna can defeat the Tories in Cities of London and Westminster.

4am

The final result should be starting to emerge – even with plenty of seats still to declare.

By this point, the results of Mr Johnson’s seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip will be known. The PM has a relatively small majority, and while he is expected to win, watch to see how Labour’s Ali Milani gets on against the Tory leader.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson will know by now whether she has seen off the SNP in East Dunbartonshire – and there should be a clearer picture of how the Tories have fared in Scotland against Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

Look to Hertfordshire South West to see if David Gauke, the former justice secretary, can squeak through as an independent.

5am

Labour defector Luciana Berger will find out whether she has won Finchley and Golders Green for the Lib Dems. Ex-Tory Sam Gyimah has been fighting in Kensington but it looks like this could be held by Labour’s Emma Dent Coad.

The Lib Dems will be hoping to win Richmond Park from Tory Zac Goldsmith and nearby Twickenham will also be a key hold for Ms Swinson’s party.

One of Labour’s top targets is to snatch Southampton Itchen from the Tories, and it is keen to hold onto Canterbury – after the Lib Dems have stood aside – where Rosie Duffield has a tiny majority.

Tories are gunning hard for Bolsover, which has been held by Labour’s Dennis Skinner since 1970. If the Tories win Ashfield, in the East Midlands, from Labour, they will be having a very good night.

All declaration times are supplied by the Press Association

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