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Thursday, 12 December 2019

'Biggest queue I've EVER seen at my polling station': Turnout looks huge as thousands are ALREADY lining up to vote in Britain's most crucial election in a generation - as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn give final call to arms

  • Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm, when an exit poll will give the first indication of the results
  • Boris Johnson voted in Westminster at around 8am and Jeremy Corbyn in Islington expected at 9.30am 
  • Results in key seats are expected from 2am tomorrow and the next PM should be known by 6am Friday
  • Early results in Labour strongholds in the North East could show early signs of a swing to the Conservatives 
  • Results will come pouring in from around 3am, with big names including Iain Duncan Smith at risk of losing 
  • Tory strategists believe key to victory is grabbing Labour heartlands including Workington and Grimsby
Boris Johnson gave his dog Dilyn a big kiss and voted early as Britain's most important election for a generation got underway today with huge queues forming at polling stations raising hopes of a massive turnout.
Mr Johnson walked the rescue puppy he shares with Carrie Symonds on the biggest day of his political life - but his partner did not accompany them to the nearest polling station to No 10 Downing Street.
He was voting at the Methodist Central Hall next to Westminster Abbey rather than in his Uxbridge constituency - a highly unusual move because outgoing prime ministers traditionally vote where they are standing as candidates. 
It came as polling stations deserted at previous elections were packed with hundreds queuing around the block in Battersea, Clapham and Brixton in London as well as in Dominic Raab's Esher and Walton constituency today.
People in Wandsworth said they had to wait up to 45 minutes to vote - when in the past five elections it had taken less than 5 minutes during the morning rush hour.
Experts have said the crowds at some of the UK's 50,000 polling stations suggests that the turnout for an election dominated by Brexit and the NHS could the highest since the peak of the 1950s and early 1960s that saw Clement Atlee and Sir Winston Churchill battle to be PM.
Minutes before he arrived to vote Boris Johnson tweeted: 'Today is our chance to get Brexit done. Vote Conservative' while Jeremy Corbyn wrote on social media: 'Vote Labour today to save our NHS, to bring about real change and create a country that works for the many, not the few'.
The Labour leader, accompanied by his wife Laura, also voted early in his Islington North constituency with the result in the first December general election since 1923 said to be on a knife-edge according to polls.
Millions of voters face inclement weather with torrential rain and ice predicted across vast swathes of the country before the polls close at 10pm. 
An exit poll will give the first indication of the results and votes will then be counted overnight with the first results expected by 11pm and a clearer picture of who will be the next Prime Minister between 2am and 4am tomorrow.
A major YouGov poll on Tuesday predicted a 28-seat Tory majority – the largest since 1987 – but pollsters said the situation was so volatile that Britain could face another hung parliament.  
Boris Johnson gave his dog Dilyn a big kiss as the Tory leader voted early as polling day for Britain's most important election for a generation got underway today.Boris Johnson gave his dog Dilyn a big kiss as the Tory leader voted early as polling day for Britain's most important election for a generation got underway today
Boris Johnson gave his dog Dilyn a big kiss as the Tory leader voted early as polling day for Britain's most important election for a generation got underway today
Boris Johnson brings his dog Dilyn to vote at Westminster's Methodist Central Hall this morning - the polling station closest to Downing Street
Members of the public in a number of London constituencies have had to queue around street corners to vote in some of the busiest conditions they have seen.
'I've voted at the same station and time for eight years, but have never had to queue before,' said Craig Fordham, 45, from Putney, who had to wait for 15 minutes.
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 PA.
'Atmosphere is very London: orderly queueing and no-one is talking to each other!'
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.'
Alixe Bovey said she was queueing for 35 minutes in the Streatham constituency.
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.'
Ms Bovey said: 'No idea what it means in my constituency - I'm in a super safe Labour seat.'
Voters in Bermondsey, south east London, faced difficulty getting to one polling station after an apparent burst water water main caused flooding in the road around it.
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.'
Boris Johnson yesterday said he was 'fighting for every vote', and made a final, impassioned appeal to voters last night as he warned the most important General Election in a generation was teetering on a 'knife-edge'. 
In a final eve-of-poll rally in London, Mr Johnson said there was a 'very real risk of another hung parliament' – and the 'nightmare' of a Jeremy Corbyn-led coalition that would follow.
He pleaded with voters to instead deliver a Conservative majority that could unite the country, 'smash through the Parliamentary gridlock' and get Brexit done. Mr Johnson even issued a direct appeal to Leave voters who had always voted Labour, saying: 'Even if you have never voted Conservative before, this is your chance to be heard and I promise I will not let you down.
'A great future is there within our grasp, but I need your vote.'
Voters will face rain and gales in many parts of the country as they go to the polls in the first December election for almost a century.
Despite the final polls predicting a narrow Conservative win, Tory strategists fear they could be denied a majority by tactical voting by Remainers and low turnout among Leave voters. Mr Johnson's appeal came as: 
  • Mr Corbyn boasted that an army of thousands of Labour activists would get out the voters needed to propel him to power, saying he was on course to 'shock the Establishment';
  • An eve-of-election poll revealed that 9 per cent of voters remain undecided, meaning the result could be determined by 'hovering pencils' across the country;
  • Another survey put the Tory lead on just five points. The Savanta ComRes poll for The Daily Telegraph put the Conservatives on 41 per cent ahead of Labour on 36 per cent.
  • Leave supporters were warned to vote Conservative or risk 'throwing away Brexit for ever', as new polling analysis revealed the Brexit Party could let in Labour in dozens of seats;
  • A leading City figure warned that Labour's assault on business could lead to millions of workers losing an average of more than £11,000 from their pension pots;
  • Maureen Lipman warned in an article for the Mail that five years of a Corbyn government 'would be a stain on all us'; 
  • The Conservatives poured activists into the seats of Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers after polling suggested they could be ousted;
  • Jo Swinson launched a bid to encourage tactical voting, telling Labour supporters to back her party to keep the Conservatives out. In Stockton South, one Lib Dem candidate even urged people to vote Labour to prevent a Tory win;
  • Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she would demand a second referendum on breaking up the UK next year as her price for propping a minority Labour government.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was greeted by a small number of supporters as he arrived to cast his vote in north London.
A protester dressed as Elmo, a character from children's TV programme Sesame Street, was restrained by security guards as she tried to approach Mr Corbyn as he entered the polling station.
As the woman in fancy dress argued with security and police, Mr Corbyn said: 'Hello guys, can we stop the arguments please.'
He later posed for photographs with well-wishers outside the polling station.
Mr Corbyn arrived to cast his vote at Pakeman Primary School in Islington with his wife Laura Alvarez at around 9.25am.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has cast her vote in the General Election campaign.
The SNP leader was joined by her partner Peter Murrell, as well as the party's Glasgow East candidate David Linden, at Broomhouse Community Hall in Uddingston.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard cast his vote at Ralston Community Centre in Paisley.
Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw is voting in Clarkston and Scottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater are casting their ballots in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster has cast her vote in Co Fermanagh in the General Election campaign.
Mrs Foster arrived at the polling station at Brookeborough Primary School shortly after 10am.
She stopped to speak to a number of other voters, including local DUP councillor Paul Robinson.    
One detailed analysis yesterday revealed that Nigel Farage's Brexit Party could help Labour hold on in many seats which would otherwise be taken by the Tories. Yesterday, Mr Johnson made an extraordinary 500-mile dash around the country in a final pitch for the votes he needs to secure victory.
After delivering milk in Guiseley, West Yorkshire, working in the kitchen at a catering firm in Derby – sporting an apron emblazoned with 'Get Brexit Done' – and a quick flight to Cardiff, Mr Johnson delivered his final campaign address in tub-thumping style at the Olympic Park in east London.
He told voters: 'This election is our chance to end the gridlock but the result is on a knife-edge. To every one of you who is fed up with the endless arguments and wants to move on, every one of you who wants us to respect the referendum result and deliver the change people voted for, every one of you who wants us to focus on a positive, united future, every one of you who worries about the chaos of a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance in a hung parliament, my message is simple.
'Give me a majority and I will finish what we started – what you instructed us to do – three and a half years ago. A great future is there within our grasp, but I need your vote.'
And in a homely appeal to voters weary of Westminster's long-running Brexit farce, Mr Johnson added: 'Just imagine how wonderful it will be to settle down to a turkey dinner this Christmas with Brexit decided –and how awful it would be if Corbyn and Sturgeon were in Downing Street advancing their plans for two more referendums.' He warned that Labour would 'wreck our economy, with more borrowing and higher taxes'. 
Mr Corbyn insisted he was on course to win despite a faltering campaign in which his manifesto has been branded 'not credible' by independent experts, his own health spokesman suggested he could not be trusted with national security, and the Chief Rabbi issued an unprecedented warning that Britain's Jews feared a Labour government because of his failure to tackle the party's anti-Semitism crisis.
Brushing aside his party's troubles and today's poor weather forecast, he said: 'I am looking forward to sunshine on Friday.'
Speaking on a campaign stop in Middlesbrough, Mr Corbyn insisted he will win the election 'no problem at all'.
At a final rally in London last night, the Opposition leader pitched himself as an outsider, telling activists: 'Tomorrow you can shock the Establishment, by voting for hope.'
Pro-Corbyn group Momentum said it was mobilising up to 30,000 supporters to knock on doors up and down the country to get people out to vote.
And Labour said it had won the social media battle – with millions more people watching the campaign videos of Mr Corbyn than those of Mr Johnson.

Can you take a selfie in a voting booth? When do polls close? And when will the first seats be declared? Your guide to polling day… and the nail-biting results night to follow

After an exhausting seven-week campaign, Britain goes to the polls today in its first December general election since 1923. 
Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm, when an exit poll will give the first indication of the results. Votes will then be counted overnight. 
Most opinion polls predict a Conservative majority, but there are signs that the race has narrowed in the final weeks of the campaign. 

7am - POLLS OPEN

Polling stations open across the UK at 7am and remain open until 10pm. 
The Electoral Commission says any eligible electors who are queuing at the polling station at 10pm must be allowed to vote.
If you live in England, Wales or Scotland you do not need to bring any identification to vote.  However, you will need to show photo ID to vote in Northern Ireland. 
You do not have to take your poll card with you, but the Electoral Commission advises if you have it with you it can help speed up the process.  
Broadcasters are not allowed to publish the results of any opinion polls while people are voting. 
Taking photos, including selfies, inside the polling station is not allowed as it puts the secrecy of voting at risk. The Electoral Commission says you are welcome to take photos outside the polling station.

10pm - EXIT POLL

Polls close, and the BBC, ITV and Sky will reveal the results of their combined exit poll.
The exit poll is different from other opinion polls because instead of asking people how they intend to vote, it asks people how they actually voted. 
It has a good track record of forecasting the result in recent elections. In 2017, the exit poll predicted the Tories would end up with 314 seats, just three short of the 317 the party actually won.  
However, it is still only a survey and could prove to be incorrect. In 1992, the exit poll forecast a hung parliament, but John Major's Conservatives went on to win a majority of 21.  

11pm - FIRST RESULTS

Two constituencies in the North East of England - Houghton and Sunderland South, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central - will race to be the first to declare. 
Both results are expected around 11pm and both are safe Labour seats. Bridget Phillipson has a majority of 12,341 in Houghton and Sunderland South. 
However, any rise or fall in Labour's majority could be an early indication of how Jeremy Corbyn's party will fare nationally. 
In 2016, Sunderland's strong vote for Brexit - and Newcastle's marginal Remain vote - was an early indication that the Leave campaign was outperforming expectations. 

12pm - MORE LABOUR STRONGHOLDS

Four more safe Labour seats are likely to have declared by midnight, all in the North East of England. 
Again, look out for any evidence of a change in Labour's vote share and a possible swing to the Conservatives. 

1am - WORKINGTON MAN 

'Workington Man' was said to be a key figure in this campaign – the sort of northern Brexiteer who might leave Labour for the Tories. 
However, the Conservatives have to overturn a sizeable majority (3,925) to win the first key marginal of the night. YouGov's final polling model showed Labour on course to hold it. 
If Mr Johnson's party takes the seat, he might be on course for a comfortable majority in the new Parliament. If Labour holds, the overall result could be narrower. 
North Down should be the first result of the night from Northern Ireland - a seat formerly held by the Independent MP Sylvia Hermon, and being targeted at this election by the DUP, the Ulster Unionists and the Alliance. 

1.30am - KEY MARGINALS

There has been much talk of the Tories breaching the 'red wall' of Labour support in the North, thanks in part to Brexit. If the Conservatives overturn Labour's majority of 3,280 in Darlington, it's a very good night for them. 
A Tory victory in Nuneaton was an early sign of David Cameron's election success in 2015. The Tories are hopeful of taking votes off Labour in the West Midlands. If Marcus Jones extends his 4,739 majority, it will show they have succeeded. 

2am - RESULTS PICKING UP 

By 2am, results will start to pick up. The first results will come from Scottish seats being defended by the SNP, such as Dunbartonshire West, and Lanark and Hamilton East
Results to look out for include:  
Battersea - Marsha de Cordova (Lab) - majority 2,416
One of the first indications of how the parties are faring in the capital. Labour snatched it last time – and it will hope to increase its vote in this Remain seat.
Putney - former seat of Justine Greening (Con) - majority 1,554
Another south London seat – this one vacated by Justine Greening who lost the Tory whip in September – is one of Labour's key hopes. Again, it is a Remain seat.
Hartlepool - Mike Hill (Lab) - majority 7,650
One of the first seats where the Brexit Party could have a real impact. The Tories are hopeful of overturning Labour's majority, but this could be in peril if too many back Nigel Farage's party.
West Bromwich East - former seat of Tom Watson (Lab) - majority 7,713
Before he quit as Labour's deputy leader and stepped down as an MP last month, Mr Watson had a healthy majority and if the Tories take it it's a very good night for them. However, YouGov's final MRP projections showed Labour on course to hold the seat. 
Wrexham - former seat of Ian Lucas (Lab) - majority 1,832
A crucial marginal in North Wales. The Conservatives have never won here – but it is definitely within the party's grasp.

2.30am - KEY SCOTTISH MARGINAL

Angus - Kirstene Hair (Con) - majority 2,645 
The first big Tory-SNP fight of the night. The seat is expected to fall to the nationalists, but if the Tories hang on it's a good night for them. If they lose heavily, it could herald a near wipeout north of the border. 

3am - BIG NAMES ON THE BALLOT

Constituency results will be flooding in by now. Several big names will find out around 3am if they will be sitting in the new parliament. 
Jeremy Corbyn's result will be declared in Islington North. He will win easily, but the Labour leader will be expected to address the emerging national picture.  
Some of the key seats include:
Esher and Walton - Dominic Raab (Con) - majority 23,298
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is under threat in this Surrey seat. He has a mammoth majority, but the constituency voted Remain and the Liberal Democrats are talking up their chances.
Chingford and Woodford Green - Iain Duncan Smith (Con) - majority 2,438
Another Tory big beast at risk – former leader Iain Duncan Smith. He has a majority of just 2,500 and Labour are pushing him hard.
The seat will also be an indication of Labour's overall strength in London. The party performed exceptionally well in the capital in 2017, but the Lib Dems won London in the European elections in May.  
Cities of London and Westminster - former seat of Mark Field (Con) - majority 3,148
Former Labour and Change UK MP Chuka Umunna is standing here for the Liberal Democrats, who were a distant third last time. 
East Dunbartonshire - Jo Swinson (Lib Dem) - majority 5,339
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson could be under threat here if the SNP has a very good night. The nationalists won the seat in 2015, but Ms Swinson took it back in 2017.  
Ms Swinson has seen the Lib Dems' poll rating decline since the election was called, with signs that Remainers are returning to Labour.
Great Grimsby - Melanie Onn (Lab) - majority 2,565
Boris Johnson has been targeting this heavily Leave-voting Labour seat in North East Lincolnshire. Labour has held the seat without interruption since Winston Churchill's defeat in the 1945 election. 
Beaconsfield - Dominic Grieve (Con) - majority 24,543 
Ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve won by a huge majority last time – but now the arch-Remainer is standing against the Tories as an independent. It will be hard for him to hang on.
Bishop Auckland - Helen Goodman (Lab) - majority 502  
This is exactly the sort of Leave-voting northern seat the Tories need to take if they are to have any chance of getting a majority. Labour have held the seat since 1935. 
Sheffield Hallam - former seat of Jared O'Mara (Lab) - majority 2,125
The Lib Dems will want to retake Nick Clegg's former seat of Sheffield Hallam from Labour. Jared O'Mara won the seat in 2017 but was suspended from the party over claims he made misogynistic and homophobic comments. 
Sedgefield - Phil Wilson (Lab) - majority 6,059
Taking Tony Blair's former seat would be a symbolic victory for the Tories and a sign of Labour's decline since it won three elections in a row in 1997, 2001 and 2005.  

3.30am - CONSERVATIVE BELLWETHERS

Totnes - Sarah Wollaston (previously Con) - majority 13,477
The South West is traditionally a Lib Dem heartland but the 2015 election changed all that. Tory defector Sarah Wollaston is standing for the Lib Dems in her old seat.
Hastings and Rye - former seat of Amber Rudd (Con) - majority 346
Miss Rudd was almost toppled here in 2017, but she quit the Cabinet and surrendered the party whip in the autumn, and is not standing at this win it this time, it will indicate a bad night for Mr Johnson.  

4am - HIGH-PROFILE MARGINALS

Over half of the results will be in, and the overall trend of the night should be clear. Labour targets such as Harrow EastLoughborough and Milton Keynes South will declare, along with Lib Dem targets like St Albans and Cheltenham
The SNP will hope to hold Fife North East and with a larger margin than they managed in 2017, when they had a majority of just two.
Seats to watch include:
Wakefield - Mary Creagh (Lab) - majority 2,176
The Conservatives are very confident of snatching Miss Creagh's marginal seat in West Yorkshire – another pro-Leave constituency which feels left behind by Labour.
Canterbury - Rosie Duffield (Lab) - majority 187
Rosie Duffield became the first ever Labour MP for Canterbury in 2017. She has a tiny majority – but tactical voting could see her hang on.
The initial Lib Dem nominee, Tim Walker, stood down in the hope of helping Labour, but Jo Swinson's party has fielded another candidate.  
Kensington - Emma Dent Coad (Lab) - majority 20  
Labour took this well-heeled seat on a tiny majority in 2017 just days before the Grenfell fire. On a good night the Tories will take it back, but it could be a close three-way race with the Lib Dems. 
In 2017 the result needed several recounts and wasn't confirmed until nearly 24 hours after polls closed. 
Uxbridge and South Ruislip - Boris Johnson (Con) - majority 5,034
Boris Johnson will give his first reaction to the election night drama when the results are declared in his West London constituency. 
The PM only has a small majority and Labour has been fighting this one hard in the hope of claiming a remarkable scalp. If its candidate, Ali Milani, manages to unseat him here, it would be a truly historic night for Labour.

5am - MORE LABOUR SEATS AT RISK  

By 5am, Anna Soubry should have discovered whether she's been able to hold Broxtowe for the Change party. Labour seats at risk include:
Bolsover - Dennis Skinner (Lab) - majority 5,288 
Could it finally be the end for the Beast of Bolsover, Dennis Skinner? His seat is heavily pro-Brexit, and the Conservatives have poured resources into fighting it.
Ashfield - former seat of Gloria de Piero (Lab) - majority 441
Another Labour seat which is on the brink of a historic switch. Created in 1955, it has been held by Labour at every general election since. 
Former GMTV star Gloria de Piero narrowly won this pro-Brexit seat in Nottinghamshire last time. It will be hard for her successor to hang on. 

6am - FINAL TRICKLE OF RESULTS

By now, results will have slowed to a trickle. London could deliver some late upsets, such as:
Chipping Barnet - Theresa Villiers (Con) - majority 353
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers is under threat here. She only just clung on in 2017 with a wafer-thin majority over Labour.
Finchley and Golders Green - Mike Freer (Con) - majority 1,657
Luciana Berger, the Labour MP forced out of the party over anti-Semitism, is standing in this heavily Jewish seat for the Lib Dems. But the Tories are confident of holding on.
Richmond Park - Zac Goldsmith (Con) - majority 45
Tory Zac Goldsmith won this seat in 2017 by a handful of votes. He's unlikely to do so this time – making it a  valuable Lib Dem gain in the capital.

7am - THE FALLOUT BEGINS

The last handful of results will come in later on Friday morning. Caroline Lucas will discover if she has been re-elected as the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion and there could be late Lib Dem gains in the South West. 
Recounts could delay some of the declarations from earlier, but every seat is due to begin counting overnight so there is a good chance all 650 results will be in by mid-morning.
With the national picture now decided, the winning party leader will go to see the Queen and begin the task of forming a new government.   
In a hung parliament, pro-Remain MPs could try to force another extension of Brexit beyond the current Article 50 deadline. Jeremy Corbyn could then attempt to form a government with the help of the SNP. 

Hoping to WINALOT of votes! Britain's dogs are out in force as their owners visit polling stations across the UK to make crucial call on the nation's future

As millions of voters brave the cold and wet weather this morning to line up outside schools and community centres to vote in the election, hundreds have shared adorable photos of their dogs excitedly waiting for them to exercise their democratic right.
One cockerpoo puppy, Reggie, was seen waiting patiently outside a polling station in Chester-le-Street, County Durham this morning as his owner exercised their right to vote.
Leon Kazakos shared a picture of his lovely but camera-shy Labrador Loki, saying 'Loki can’t bear to look at the camera at this hour'. 
Taking our furry friends to the polling station has become something on a tradition in recent years, with hundreds of voters posting dog selfies on social media under the hashtag #dogsatpollingstations.
Boris Johnson was spotted walking his and girlfriend Carrie Symonds' puppy Dilyn to a polling station at Central Methodist Hall as the first of the party leaders to cast his vote, rather than in his Uxbridge constituency - a highly unusual move because outgoing prime ministers traditionally vote where they are standing as candidates.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was also out with his dog Luna urging people to use their vote.
Polling stations are open today from 7am until 10pm, you don't need your polling card to vote, but you might need to wrap your dog up as queues have already started to form at stations up and down the country. 
YouGov's final polling analysis, which correctly predicted a hung parliament in 2017, projects a Tory majority but experts warn that a hung parliament is still possible. 
The national picture should become clear in the early hours of Friday morning. For those with the energy to stay up, here is a guide to how the 2019 general election will play out. 
Many dog owners took to social media this morning to share snaps of their beloved pets getting involved in what has been branded the Brexmas election.  
While you're not allowed to take photos inside polling stations, you are allowed to take them outside, and many dog owners took the opportunity to snap their pooches posing today. 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also joined in with the trend this morning and was pictured with Dilyn the dog at Methodist Central Hall, after casting his vote. 
He seemed in high spirits and waved to the cameras as the cute little pooch looked as though he wanted to get out of the cold. 
Mr Johnson is the first party leader to cast his vote this morning as the UK heads to the polls in the most crucial election in a generation. 
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn voted just after 9am today in his Islington North constituency with the result in the first December general election since 1923 said to be on a knife-edge. 
This is while London Mayor Sadiq Khan was also pictured out and about this morning with his dog Luna, as he also took to social media to urge people to vote. 
Millions of voters face inclement weather with torrential rain and ice predicted across vast swathes of the country before the polls close at 10pm. 
An exit poll will give the first indication of the results and votes will then be counted overnight with the first results expected by 11pm and a clearer picture of who will be the next Prime Minister between 2am and 4am tomorrow.
A major YouGov poll on Tuesday predicted a 28-seat Tory majority – the largest since 1987 – but pollsters said the situation was so volatile that Britain could face another hung parliament. 

'It's on a knife-edge!' Boris Johnson makes final plea to voters as he hammers home his Brexit vow  

Boris Johnson made his final plea for voters to help him 'get Brexit done' last night, hours before the ballot boxes open - and with polls showing the result is still on a knife edge. 
The PM said it is 'up to you now' after another frenetic day of campaigning in which he warned the risk of a Jeremy Corbyn government is still 'very real'.
'Now is the time for this amazing country to come together and remember what it is capable of doing,' he told a glitzy rally at the Olympic Park in east London. 
Mr Johnson urged activists to 'fan out' and convince people to 'give a miss' to the hard-Left platform of Mr Corbyn, and instead elect a 'sensible, moderate, dynamic One Nation government'. 
'We have 24 hours to break the deadlock,' the PM warned Conservative party faithful who broke out into chants of 'Boris! Boris!'.
He told voters: 'This election is our chance to end the gridlock but the result is on a knife-edge. To every one of you who is fed up with the endless arguments and wants to move on, every one of you who wants us to respect the referendum result and deliver the change people voted for, every one of you who wants us to focus on a positive, united future, every one of you who worries about the chaos of a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance in a hung parliament, my message is simple.
'Give me a majority and I will finish what we started – what you instructed us to do – three and a half years ago. A great future is there within our grasp, but I need your vote.'
In a homely appeal to voters weary of Westminster's long-running Brexit farce, Mr Johnson added: 'Just imagine how wonderful it will be to settle down to a turkey dinner this Christmas with Brexit decided.
'And how awful it would be if Corbyn and Sturgeon were in Downing Street advancing their plans for two more referendums.'
The rallying cry came as a series of polls showed the Tories holding on to their lead over Labour - but the gap is not big enough to guarantee an overall majority when the outcome is finally revealed on Friday morning.   
A survey by Opinium, conducted in the last two days of the campaign, put the Conservatives on 45 per cent, down three points over the past week. 
Labour was up two points to 33 per cent, figures which should be enough to guarantee Mr Johnson the functional government he craves.
However, one in ten voters are yet to make up their mind about how they will cast their vote. A Savanta ComRes survey found there was just five points between the main parties, with the gap shrinking by one.   
The Labour leader's own rally last night was a much more low-key event in Hoxton Docks, where he told supporters to spread the message of 'socialism, which is about hope' to the country on Thursday.  
Mr Corbyn visited Glasgow and the north of England where he raised eyebrows by insisting Labour will win the election 'no problem at all'.
Pro-Corbyn group Momentum said it was mobilising up to 30,000 supporters to knock on doors up and down the country to get people out to vote.
Voters will face rain and gales in many parts of the country as they go to the polls in the first December election for almost a century. 
And Labour said it had won the social media battle – with millions more people watching campaign videos of Mr Corbyn than those of Mr Johnson. 
Mr Corbyn also fired a broadside at his Tory rival for 'hiding in the fridge,' saying that Labour is not afraid of being asked questions after a bizarre row engulfed the PM on the final day of the campaign. 
Mr Johnson's day got off to an awkward start in West Yorkshire as he was ambushed by a reporter from ITV's Good Morning Britain, prompting one of his aides to swear on live television. 
The PM refused to be interviewed and sought refuge in a fridge at the dairy he was visiting, sparking a wave of ridiculing memes on social media. 
The attempt to hijack the premier's final day of the campaign left the Conservatives furious as sources insisted Mr Johnson had not been 'hiding'.  
The YouGov polling analysis which correctly predicted the hung parliament in 2017 predicted on Tuesday night that the Tories were on course to win a 28-seat majority.
However, the MRP model suggested the race had tightened in the final weeks of the campaign and pollsters warned that a hung parliament was still possible.  
The model predicts that the Conservatives will win 339 seats, with Jeremy Corbyn's party on 231 and the Liberal Democrats on 15.
The seat-by-seat model, which is based on thousands of interviews, puts the Tories on 43 per cent of the vote and Labour on 34 per cent. 
The forecast suggests the race has tightened since the previous MRP results on November 27 showed the Tories on course for a majority of 68.  
The Conservatives are predicted to gain 22 seats, including in Labour heartlands such as Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Tony Blair's former seat of Sedgefield. 
A majority of 28 would be the Conservatives' best result since Margaret Thatcher's third election victory in 1987. 
However, there are signs that Labour is 'patching the cracks' in its so-called 'red wall' of seats across the North and the Midlands.  
Conservative strategists fear that an ugly row over the NHS on Monday has damaged their campaign and candidates say the election is now 'on a knife edge'.  
The Tories' shrinking lead means that Labour are now on course to retain Tory target seats such as Tom Watson's former constituency of West Bromwich East. 
Labour are also favoured to win Workington, home of the 'Workington Man' target voter highlighted by a think tank.  
In addition, Labour are set to repeat their shock victories in Kensington and Canterbury, the poll suggests. 
Two senior Tories - Dominic Raab and Iain Duncan Smith - face close races in their constituencies. Mr Raab leads the Lib Dems by only two points in his Surrey constituency, according to the model.  

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