Voters face queues at polling stations for the first time in years as Britain turns out for 'election of a lifetime'

Voters reported unprecedented queues at polling stations (Picture: Alixe Bovey/Twitter)

There were unprecedented polling station queues on Thursday as Britain voted in the first December general election for nearly a century.

Voters reported having to queue at polling stations for the first time in years - with some members of the public even reportedly leaving the queues because they were taking too long.

A number of London constituencies had queues snaking out into the street as many tried to vote early in the morning before work.

Queues were also reported elsewhere, including Manchester, Bude in Cornwall, Cleethorpes and Pocklington in Yorkshire.

Dozens of people queue at the polling station in Effra road, Brixton on voting day. (SWNS)
Voters wait patiently in line in Tooting, south London, at 9am on Thursday morning. (Instagram/Elliot Marsh)

Chris Schofield said more than 70 voters were waiting in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency – some of whom gave up and left during his 20-minute wait, “presumably to go to work”.

In Streatham, south London, Alixe Bovey said she was queueing for 35 minutes.

Sharing a photo of the queue outside her local station, she tweeted: “In 20 years of voting in Streatham Hill, always at about this time of day, I have never encountered a queue of more than six or seven people.

“What is going on. The tailback is right up the road now.”

Craig Fordham, 45, from Putney, south-west London, said: “I’ve voted at the same station and time for eight years, but have never had to queue before.”

Chris Schofield queued for 20 minutes in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

“It’s about 20 times busier than it was in 2017, and for the locals and Euro elections,” the 27-year-old consultant told the Press Association.


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Mr Schofield said there were over 70 voters waiting outside, adding that there were at least three officers working at the station but only one taking addresses from voters.

Asked why he thought there were so many queuing, he said: “I think it’s the election of a lifetime for many of us.”

When asked how busy one polling station in Bromley, south-east London, was a member of staff said: “Pretty busy”.

Voters in Bermondsey, south east London, also faced difficulty getting to one polling station after an apparent burst water water main caused flooding.

Hannah Tookey, who waded through the water to cast her vote, tweeted: “It was too deep to wade through the middle, even in wellies.”

Another voter, Graham Kings, was prevented from voting by the flooding in Bermondsey.

He said: “I could have gone home and put wellington boots on and waded across the flooded road to try to get in, but had to go to work and so will vote this evening.”

Polling booths opened across Britain on Thursday morning for what has been described as the most important general election in a generation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson cast his vote at Central Methodist Hall in Westminster, bringing his dog Dilyn along with him, while Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was greeted by a small number of supporters - and a protester dressed as Sesame Street character Elmo - as he arrived to cast his vote in Islington.

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