If there’s anything the British love more than having chips with every main meal, it’s voting in a general election. This is the third democratic vote of its kind in the past four years, and it is an election born out of frustration and gridlock. The scenario is comparable to a divorce between a mother and father, who are only still together “because of the kids”.

Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Corbyn: Blue corner, red corner

Boris Johnson might know a thing or two about that, even if he’s not quite sure how many children are actually his. His war of attrition with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t done him many favours, as the Prime Minister has ducked and dived his way through media interviews. The Labour leader Corbyn is struggling to convert the non-believers, but he’s banking on a new wave of youth voters to secure a surprise victory.

For many in Britain, this election feels more “do or die” than the last few. Johnson’s critics fear he will carve up the NHS and privatise it if he was given five years to govern, whereas those who slate Corbyn cast aspersions upon his plans for spending and his “neutral” Brexit position.

The B-word has come to dominate the discourse of British politics, since the EU referendum was held three-and-a-half years ago. The election was called, essentially, to break-up a Parliament that was deeply divided and lacked a majority. Johnson has gambled on securing more than the 326 votes needed to secure the lion’s share of seats in the house, in a bid to force through his much-maligned Brexit plans.

What is tactical voting?

The Labour Party could sneak into power through the back-door. They are unlikely to secure a majority, but they could form an alliance with several coalition partners if the Conservatives fall short of the 326 mark. Simply put, more parties are likely to work with Corbyn than they are Johnson – who has arguably already arranged a “coalition” of sorts.

Voters of fiercely right-wing organisations UKIP and The Brexit Party are flocking to the Conservatives in order to secure the EU departure they so desperately crave. Tactical voting is indeed in full swing on both sides, though. Certain constituents are switching their votes between Labour and Liberal Democrats, where the Tory incumbent has only a marginal lead.

UK election: Where are the marginal seats and closest majorities?

We’ve pinpointed nine key battlegrounds in Blighty on Thursday. It’s genuinely all to play for:

  • Esher and Walton: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is facing a rough ride from pro-Remain constituents;
  • Bolsover: Labour MP Dennis Skinner has served the region for decades, but he’s facing a Tory surge;
  • North East Fife: The smallest majority of them all, two seats, was won by the Scottish National Party (SNP);
  • Kensington: Labour won this seat by just 20 votes in 2017, but the Lib Dems are breathing down their necks;
  • Perth: 21 majority for the SNP, likely to be challenged;
  • Southampton: Conservatives hold this seat by just 31 votes, and Labour voters have targeted this;
  • Crewe and Nantwich: The Chesire constituency is a pro-Labour, anti-EU region. It’s very much a toss-up;
  • Hastings: Ex-Tory Amber Rudd occupies the seat with a slim majority, but it was a traditional Labour stronghold, and her reputation has faltered in recent years; and
  • Chingford and Woodford Green: Conservative stalwart Iain Duncan Smith is polling at 47%, whereas Labour challenger Faiza Shaheen is on 45% – this could be the biggest upset of the lot if Shaheen wins.

UK election: Which party is most likely to win?

Looking at the betting odds from Paddy Power, the Conservative Party are in pole position. A Conservative majority is 1/3, an odds-on price. The second-most likely outcome is “no overall majority”, at 5/2. Labour are 10 times less likely to secure a majority at 25/1, but as we’ve learnt in recent elections, strange things can happen.

If you’re looking at backing the individual, Johnson is again odds-on to be the prime minister by Friday at 1/4. Corbyn is the outsider, but he’s not exactly miles behind. He is 3/1 to be elected the leader of a coalition government. For context, Donald Trump was 9/1 to win the 2016 US election on the day of the vote.

What time will we know the UK election results?

The first indication we will get comes at 22:00 GMT (00:00 SAST). The first batch of exit polls – surveys taken at voting booths to find out where the ballots are going – will be released on Thursday night. From that point, it usually takes eight to 12 hours for a winner to be officially declared.

If a party is heading for a strong majority, the result may be declared a little earlier. By 10:00 GMT (12:00 SAST) on Friday, we can expect a conclusive answer on who will be running the country.

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Presh JM Reporter

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