LONDON — U.K. voters go to the polls on Thursday for their third national election in five years. At stake is the future direction of Brexit, and even whether Britain’s departure from the EU happens at all.
The five-week campaign ahead of the highly unusual December election (the first since 1910) has also revealed stark differences between the two main parties over how the country should be governed.
The Tories have held a consistent lead throughout the campaign, with Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn highly unpopular with voters, according to the polls. Nonetheless, Remain supporters hope that tactical voting in a handful of key constituencies can deny Prime Minister Boris Johnson a majority and keep alive the dream of a second Brexit referendum.
The POLITICO team will be live-blogging throughout election day and night. Here’s our rundown of what to look out for:
How it works
General elections in the U.K. use a “winner takes all” system. Under the first-past-the-post electoral system, MPs each represent one of 650 constituencies which gives them a seat in the House of Commons. To become prime minister and form a government, a party needs to win more than half the seats in the House of Commons (though the exact number is lower than half the total because of Sinn Féin MPs not taking their seats plus non-voting members such as the speaker and his deputies). If all parties fall short, Britain has a hung parliament and deals must be done to form a government. When parliament was dissolved for the election last month, Johnson was 19 seats short of a majority (taking into account Sinn Féin MPs,