Election latest: Party leaders vote as the UK goes to the polls; dogs spotted at polling stations (2024)

Key points
  • Polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm as Britain votes in General Election
  • What counts as voter ID?
  • Key election day timings
  • Why is there no political news today?
  • What is the exit poll?
  • How to watch election night coverage on Sky News


All dogs - big and small - welcome at polling stations

No matter how big or small, dogs are welcome at polling stations.

Some may not be allowed to go in (check at your polling station), but this Bernese mountain dog was very welcome in Oval, south London, this morning.

Nala the Chihuahua chose to stand guard outside the polling station in Walthamstow while her owner, Simon, voted inside.


Emma Raducanu did not know general election was on Thursday

British tennis player Emma Raducanu appears to have been otherwise occupied.

The 21-year-old was asked at a news conference after beating Belgium's Elise Mertens at Wimbledon on Wednesday if she would vote before practising on Thursday.

"No," she replied.

"I think I'll have a lie-in, then I'll come to practise.

"I didn't even know it was tomorrow, to be honest! Thanks for letting me know."

Fellow player, British No 1 Katie Boulter, said she was "going to stick to the tennis right now" when asked if she would be voting.

Raducanu won the US Open in 2021 aged 18, but has suffered injury setbacks since and came into this year's Wimbledon as a wildcard, with a 135 singles ranking.

She is now in the third round and will face Greece's Maria Sakkari, ranked ninth in the world, on Friday.

Raducanu will also play mixed doubles with Sir Andy Murray on Saturday after he asked her when he bowed out of the singles tournament on Tuesday due to injury.


You can lead a horse to a polling station, but you can't make them vote

While most people tend to walk, drive or even catch the bus to their polling station, one voter has chosen a rather different method of transport.

A man was pictured outside East Meon village hall, in Hampshire, having seemingly ridden his horse to cast his vote.

The animal and its rider appeared to be exchanging glances with a small dog tied up outside the venue.


Sir Keir Starmer and his wife vote

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife, Victoria, have cast their votes in Camden, north London.

Appropriately, he was wearing a red tie and she was wearing a red dress.

Earlier, actor Charles Dance was seen lining up to vote at the same polling station.


Actor Charles Dance spotted waiting to vote

Award-winning actor Charles Dance, 77, has been seen waiting in line to cast his vote in Camden, north London.

Known for often playing villains, his latest roles have been as Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones and Lord Mountbatten in The Crown.


Babies and dogs at polling stations

George the co*cker Spaniel joined his one-year-old sister, Darcey, as their parents voted in Whitton, southwest London.


Cats at polling stations

As anticipated, some voters are apparently keen to break the canine monopoly outside polling stations.

As such, Louie the cat is pictured outside this one in Burnham, Buckinghamshire.


SNP leader John Swinney votes with his son

SNP leader John Swinney has been spotted with his youngest son, Matthew, voting near his home in Perth and Kinross.

While Matthew, 14, is too young to vote, you are allowed to take children with you to polling stations, they just cannot vote.

Many people like to bring their children to educate them on the democratic process.


Why is there no political news today?

There are strict rules broadcasters have to adhere to on polling day, which is why you won't see any political news on the Sky News website or TV channel for the next 13 hours or so.

The rules are there to prevent any influence over how people choose to vote.

Ofcom rules state that any discussion and analysis of election issues must finish when the polls open, which was at 7am today.

Broadcasters are also not allowed to publish the results of any opinion poll on election day, until the polls close at 10pm.

Over the past decade, this has meant that photos of dogs at polling stations has become a phenomenon - in lieu of more substantial political news.

We will also be keeping a close out for people taking more unusual animals with them as they exercise their democratic right - so stay tuned for potential shots of voters accompanied by horses, cats and hamsters - as well as dogs, of course.


Dogs at polling stations begins

As longstanding followers of election day news output will be aware, photos of dogs at polling stations have become staple feature of coverage as Briton's cast their votes.

Luna the co*ckapoo is our first dog through the polling station door.

However, she wasn't allowed in at this venue in St Margarets, southwest London, but she waited patiently for her owners outside.

Some polling stations will allow dogs inside, but you should check first.

Guide dogs are always allowed in.

Election latest: Party leaders vote as the UK goes to the polls; dogs spotted at polling stations (2024)


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