BRITS must bring their OWN pens and pencils to the ballot box on Thursday to stop Covid spreading.
Ahead of polls opening in just 48-hours time, the public were instructed they should take their own implements and cover up with masks inside polling stations as millions of people prepare to cast their votes.
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It’s to stop Covid spreading and to ensure the polls are as safe as possible.
But political geeks will remember how millions of Brits chose to come armed to the 2016 Brexit vote polls with their own pens, amid fears over using pencils.
Officials have stressed that people are always welcome to bring their own pen or pencil to the polls, but have recommended it this year to try and make it safer.
National Elections are taking place for the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments.
A handful of local mayors will be elected across the UK including the West Midlands, London and Teesside, and thousands of councillors too.
And Sir Keir Starmer will fight to hold onto the MP seat of Hartlepool, with a by-election taking place in the North of England.
Thanks to Covid, last year’s set of elections were postponed for a year, meaning there’s even more votes than usual this time around.
And because of the pandemic, voting will look a little different this year.
Social distancing rules will be in place at the polls, meaning only a set number of people will be able to come into the venue at once.
Voters may have to queue to get into their own polling stations, which will be open between 7am and 10pm as usual.
The Electoral Commission is urging voters to wash or clean their hands with sanitizer with entering and leaving the polling station too.
Here’s a full list of elections taking place on Thursday:
- Senedd elections (in Wales)
- Scottish Parliament elections
- English local government elections (includes polls postponed from May 2020), including elections to county, district and parish councils
- Police and Crime Commissioners (polls postponed from May 2020)
- Combined Authority Mayoral (includes polls postponed from May 2020)
- Local Mayoral (includes polls postponed from May 2020)
- Mayor of London and London Assembly (polls postponed from May 2020)
It came as earlier today a damning poll showed the Tories storming ahead in Hartlepool, traditionally a Labour stronghold.
Boris Johnson is set to add another blue brick to Labour’s northern red wall with a victory there with the 17-point lead.
A poll for Good Morning Britain ahead of Thursday’s by-election found the Conservatives have moved well ahead, in what has traditionally been a crucial Labour stronghold.
At the weekend we told how the shadow Foreign Secretary admitted “anything is possible” in the upcoming results.
Lisa Nandy let slip it would be “difficult” for Sir Keir Starmer to make inroads.
Asked if Labour could lose the by-election in Hartlepool, which the Tories have never won, and the West Midlands and Tees Valley mayoral races, she replied: “We’re going to go out and fight for every single vote.
“We’re not going to take anybody for granted. We always expected these elections would be difficult for us.”
Yesterday HOAR joined the PM on the campaign trail as he tries to make history and deliver a knock-out blow to Labour in the port town on the North East coast.
The seat has been rock-solid Labour since it was created 50 years ago, but this time the Tories are the bookies favourites.
Speaking to GMB this morning Sir Keir said: “We are fighting for every vote into this election, we are trying to earn every vote in this election.
“I have a burning desire for a better future for our country. I want to demonstrate that the Labour party is under new leadership.
“Is it a challenge, of course it is we lost very badly in 2019. We have a mountain to climb and we are climbing that mountain.”
Springing a surprise Bank Holiday visit on the town, Boris launched a charm offensive by promising a triple whammy of “jobs, jabs and cops”.
Speaking on a windswept beach he declared: “We think it’s time for a change in Hartlepool”.
He added: “It’s time for Hartlepool to seize the opportunities that this new world is bringing, and help Hartlepool go forward with the freeport, investment in our hospitals, putting more police out in the street, and the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe.”
But while the Tories are trying hard to manage expectations, many in the party reckon this is their moment to add another brick to the new, Tory ‘Blue Wall’.
Mr Johnson is remaining tight-lipped about the party’s prospects, however.
Asked what he thought the chances are of a Tory victory, he smiled and told HOAR: “We will have to see.”