'These are the tell tale signs to watch out for on General Election night in London'

Counting staff count ballots at a counting centre in Methodist Central Hall, Westminster
-Credit: (Image: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)


The General Election is looming, and Londoners are set to go to the polls later this week. Polling day is Thursday, July 4.

Polling stations will open across the city at 7am, and will close their doors at 10pm. As results start coming in, there are things that you can look out for to see where the wind is blowing, as Labour hopes to take seats from the Conservatives in the capital.

Firstly, of course, the exit poll will be released at 10pm. This is put together by questioning voters after they have cast their ballots, rather than before, and is a final prediction of the result.

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This will give an impression of what the swing (the difference between votes in seats this time round when compared to the last election in 2019) nationwide could be. But these have been wrong in the past.

In 1992, for example, the poll predicted that the Tories would be short of a majority. In the end, John Major managed to hold off a challenge from Neil Kinnock and return with a 21 seat advantage.

John Major shows his 'John' mug on the Conservative Party's campaign aircraft during the 1992 general election
John Major won an unexpected victory in 1992, defying the exit poll -Credit:Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

Experts suggest that Labour would need a uniform swing of around 13 per cent nationwide to overturn the Conservatives' majority in the House of Commons. This would be huge.

Keep an eye on first nationwide results

The first actual results will give us an indication as to whether the party has achieved this. Blyth and Ashington in the North East of England is expected to declare at 11.30pm.

The result at Houghton and Sunderland South is expected to be known slightly later at 11.45pm. Vote shares in these seats will be poured over, and their swings will give us our first solid hint as to what results could be in London.

Putney is thought to be the first seat in the city to declare - at 1.30am. Usually a solid Labour seat, it might nevertheless show us how much the issue of the Israel-Hamas conflict will eat into the party's share of the vote.

British opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer looks on as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the BBC's Prime Ministerial Debate
Keir Starmer is hoping to make gains in London -Credit:Phil Noble - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Then, as the night progresses, more and more declarations from London and across the country will made official. This will give us a clearer and clearer idea of who will be in charge of the UK for the next five years.

Seats most likely to flip

Below is a list of the seats worth keeping an eye on in London, with the lowest swings required for Labour to take them.

Seat

Swing required

Chingford and Woodford Green

Labour 2.6%

Chipping Barnet

Labour 2.1%

Cities of London and Westminster

Lib Dem 9.2% or Labour 12.7%

Hendon

Labour 7.7%

Kensington and Bayswater (new seat)

Labour 0.3%

Uxbridge and South Ruislip (last result by-election in 2023)

Labour 1.6%

Chingford and Wood Green, on the face of it, looks low hanging fruit from Labour. But, polling suggests that independent candidate, Faiza Shaheen, who was going to run for Labour, may split the vote and ensure former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith hangs on.

MyLondon talked to Sir Iain about the vote. You can read about it here.

We have also talked to the Tory and Labour candidates standing in Uxbridge and South Ruislip. You can read those interviews here and here respectively.

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