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Frosty start as polls open for historic General Election

PUBLISHED: 07:07 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 07:44 12 December 2019

A ballot box leaves a polling station. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A ballot box leaves a polling station. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2015

Voters will be heading to the polls today in what has been billed as the most important General Election in a generation.

Polling stations in school halls, community centres and churches opened at 7am and votes can be cast until 10pm.

Key seats across the county in the third General Election in five years include Norwich North and North Norfolk.

Voter turnout could play a major role in the election outcome with rain, wind and chilly temperatures forecast for much of the country throughout voting day.

Gritting teams are out across the county this morning as temperatures plummeted overnight.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who gambled his premiership by triggering the vote, has sought to focus on his pledge to "get Brexit done" throughout the campaign.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, his rival in the race to Number 10, has instead tried to highlight his party's credentials on the National Health Service and other domestic issues.

READ MORE: Democracy can be hard work, but it's vital not to waste your vote

A poll by The Daily Telegraph and Savanta ComRes, published on Wednesday night, placed the Tories five points ahead of Mr Corbyn's party - indicating the potential for a Conservative majority or a hung parliament.

But a separate poll by Kantar put the Tories on 44pc, Labour on 32pc and the Liberal Democrats on 13pc.

READ MORE: General Election 2019: Who are the candidates in Norfolk and Waveney?

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In a final plea to voters on the eve of polling day, Mr Johnson warned that the election remained on a "knife edge", but said it represented a chance to "end the gridlock".

"Today is our chance to unite as a country and put the uncertainty to bed so people can get on with their lives," he told supporters in east London.

"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.

"Let's stop the chaos and stop the referendums. We can secure a majority Conservative government if we win just nine more seats."

Mr Corbyn, meanwhile, stressed the "very profound" issues at stake in today's vote.

"We're literally at a fork in the road," he told the party faithful at a rally in north east London yesterday.

"So when the election comes tomorrow it is a very clear choice. You go down the road of Boris Johnson, a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump, we break off any serious relationship with Europe.

"Or you go down the Labour way, which is the adult, responsible way, of negotiating a settlement which we will all live by, and I will make sure is carried out in a future relationship with Europe.

"But we also go down the road of investing in our country, investing to end austerity and redistributing wealth and power in our society in a way that's never been seen before."

Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson said the polls showed it was still "absolutely possible" to deny the Tories an overall majority through tactical voting.

"We know from past elections that, very often, voters who vote tactically come to that conclusion in the final hours before they cast their vote," she said.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, speaking in Doncaster, said he was hoping for "very, very heavy rain" in the town yesterday, in the belief that it would depress the votes of the other parties.

"I know that people who are going to vote for us will turn out, because they absolutely believe in our message, they believe in their hearts as well as in their heads," he said.

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