General election live: party leaders join millions across the UK casting their votes | General election 2024

What photo ID do I need to vote in the 2024 UK general election?

Don’t get caught out like Boris Johnson did in May’s local elections. For the first time in a UK general election people in England, Scotland and Wales will need to produce photo ID at polling stations on Thursday to be able to vote in person. Northern Ireland introduced voter ID in 2002. Here is what you need to know.

The main things to use are either a passport or a driving licence. Passports can be from the UK, EU or Commonwealth, driving licences from the UK and EU. Documents from Norway, Iceland are Liechtenstein are also accepted, as are driving licences from the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands.

There are also a mind-boggling 18 other types of document that can be used, including concessionary travel pass for older and disabled people. Student ID is not accepted.

The ID can have expired, as long as you still look like the photo. You can find more details here.


Key events

Alfie Packham

Alfie Packham

Readers have been getting in touch as they head to the polls this morning.

In Sheffield Central, NHS GP Tom McAnea, 54, said he is “excited” to be voting. “The sun is shining brightly this morning which should be an encouragement for voters to turn out. This is my ninth general election where I can vote, the first being in 1992. I still find the whole process both a privilege and a huge responsibility.”

Tom was accompanied by his 17-year-old daughter, Freya, who hopes to study politics at university next year. “She’s very keyed up today. She’s frustrated she can’t vote but is enthused by the whole process. We’ll be tuning in this evening at 10pm for the exit poll. I voted not long after seven. It wasn’t busy, but I could see that there was already a list of people who had been in and voted. I think they’re expecting a good turnout today.”

Tom McAnea and his daughter, Freya. Photograph: Guardian Community

Hayley voted earlier this morning in Ashton-under-Lyne with her dog Nova.

She said there she didn’t have any problem voting and there was no queue around 8am. Hayley added it was Nova’s first election (she is 18 months old) though she may not have been as excited as some.

“She was shown the leaflets from all the candidates but she was more interested in the one from the local pizza place.”

Hayley’s dog, Nova, who apparently prefers pizza to politics. Photograph: Guardian Community

Andrew Dunning, 37, from Oxford, voted at 7.30 with his son, aged three. “My son had us up at 4.30 am asking whether ‘goat’ rhymes with ‘poll’. There was nobody at the polling station and I was the tenth person to vote. We put a cross on the ballot papers together.”

Having to show ID has made the process feel “less friendly” this year, he adds. “The very nice fellow who was running the polling station went to ask the manager if they should accept my passport because I’ve grown my hair and beard out since the photo was taken nine years ago. Then he asked my son, ‘Is this daddy?’ My son said yes. ‘That’s fine, then.’”

Andrew Dunning and his son voting today. Photograph: Guardian CommunitySharePlaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth votes in Ynys Môn

Plaid Cymru’s leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has posted a video clip of himself after he cast his vote in Ynys Môn.

He said:

I’ve just voted for Llinos Medi and Plaid Cymru here on Ynys Môn. For fairness. For ambition. For Wales. For fair funding for Wales. For the NHS. For your family. For your community. Thank you to you for all your support.

✅I’ve just voted for @llinos_medi and Plaid Cymru here on Ynys Môn.

Across Wales today, you have the opportunity to vote for Plaid Cymru candidates that will put your community first in Westminster.

Cofiwch fynd â cherdyn adnabod a phleidleisiwch dros @Plaid_Cymru heddiw🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

— Rhun ap Iorwerth (@RhunapIorwerth) July 4, 2024

It is one of the constituencies Plaid Cymru have been targeting in this election. Last time out Ynys Môn was won by Conservative Virginia Crosbie as a gain from Labour, but both Labour and Plaid Cymru were only narrowly behind with a couple of thousand votes in it.

ShareLabour leader Keir Starmer votes in London

Keir Starmer has arrived to vote in London with his wife, Victoria. Polling ahead of the election suggests he is the person most likely to be the next prime minister of the UK, five years after his Labour party suffered a disastrous defeat in the December 2019 general election which saw Boris Johnson returned as UK prime minister. The country has changed leader twice since without holding a general election.

Labour leader Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria arrive to cast their votes. Photograph: James Manning/PAShare

Rishi Sunak and John Swinney have already voted, as has now, according to PA Media, Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie. He voted at Seagoe Primary School in Portadown. Beattie told reporters “It is an important day, it is a day for the people to cast their votes. We have run a good campaign.”

The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also voted, posting a picture of himself outside a polling station with the message “Just voted for the independent candidate in Islington North. I heard he’s alright.”

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has urged people on social media to “be part of it” by voting for Labour today.

Sunak’s message seems to be one of accepting inevitable defeat, telling people to “Head to your polling station. Bring ID. Vote Conservative. Stop the Labour supermajority*”

👟 Head to your polling station
✅ Bring ID
🇬🇧 Vote Conservative

🛑 Stop the Labour supermajority

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) July 4, 2024

Jane Dodds, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales, has taken her dog Wanda down to vote.

Me and Wanda have just cast our vote for @libdemdavid and for a Fair Deal for Wales. Have you voted yet? Make sure to head to a polling station by 10pm (with photo ID)! 🔶️🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

— Jane Dodds AS/MS 🔶🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 (@DoddsJane) July 4, 2024

And Pickles the dachshund has been down to the polling station in Ticknall Village hall in the South Derbyshire, and appears to be showing there is a great deal more trust placed in his recall abilities than I would dare with my very mischievous miniature dachshund Willow.

Pickle the Daschund waits for his owner outside Ticknall Village hall. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

*There is no such thing as a “supermajority” in British politics. A government either enjoys a majority in the House of Commons, or it does not.


Aletha Adu, our political correspondent, has this explainer on what different results would mean for Labour, looking three scenarios: a moderate majority of 0-80 seats, a Blair-style landslide of 80-179 seats, and a haul of more than 179 seats.

Read more here: Blair-style landslide or ‘supermajority’: what different results would mean for Labour


If you can’t get enough politics coverage – and the fact you are reading an election day live blog more than twelve hours before we get the exit poll suggests you might be that kind of person – then tomorrow evening my colleague Hugh Muir will chair a panel of Guardian columnists and writers including John Crace, Gaby Hinsliff, Jonathan Freedland, and Zoe Williams at an event in London called Guardian Newsroom: Election results special.

It is on from 7.30pm-9pm (BST) tomorrow, and you can join it in person or on a livestream. There are more details here.

ShareFirst minister John Swinney votes in Blairgowrie

First minister of Scotland, John Swinney, has arrived to vote alongside SNP candidate Dave Doogan at the polling place in Blairgowrie, near Perth.

First minister of Scotland, John Swinney (R), with SNP candidate Dave Doogan in Blairgowrie. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

PA Media report that addressing supporters at a pre-election rally in Leith on Wednesday evening, John Swinney said the Conservatives were going to be “heavily defeated” by the Labour party in England, but that there were “narrow margins” between Labour and the SNP in Scotland.

On social media the SNP has urged people to message friends and family reminded them to vote, saying “Don’t wake up on Friday thinking that you could have done more in the final days of the campaign. You can help to boost turnout at the election by messaging everyone you know to remind them to vote SNP today.”

📢 Don’t wake up on Friday thinking that you could have done more in the final days of the campaign.

📱 You can help to boost turnout at the election by messaging everyone you know to remind them to #VoteSNP TODAY.

🪪 Remember to bring your photo ID as well!

— The SNP (@theSNP) July 4, 2024

The SNP candidate for Glasgow West, Carol Monaghan, has posted a pic of Wee Jean wearing an SNP rosette at a polling place in the newly formed constituency of Glasgow West. Monaghan was MP for Glasgow North West from 2015 to 2024.


Robbie Butler is standing for the Ulster Unionist Party in Lagan Valley, where he came third in 2019. He has just posted to say thathe hasn’t missed an election since he was 18 and has just cast his vote today, but what caught my eye was the similarity in his post to the internet meme of Timothy Dalton as Simon Skinner in Hot Fuzz.

It’s Timothy Dalton’s birthday today.

His casting as Simon Skinner in Hot Fuzz is one of the all time great castings in the history of cinema. A performance that gets funnier and more genius the more you see it.

Well done on this @edgarwright. Inspired.

Happy Birthday Timothy!

— Sean | STARS_TyranT (@STARS_TyranT) March 21, 2023

[Please note it is not Timothy Dalton’s birthday today, that is just an old social media post]


My colleague John Crace has clearly been up and early to vote, and has posted a picture of Herbert Hound to confirm it. If you missed it, his sketch of the last day of the campaign – Rishi sinks into TV sofa as Boris gloats and Mel goes rogue – can be found here, and he also teamed up with Marina Hyde alongside Helen Pidd to discuss the election on yesterday’s Today in Focus podcast. Crace that is. Herbert Hound is not on the podcast.


Here are some images from around the country as people go to vote this morning. Polling stations will be open until 10pm, and for the first time voters in England, Scotland and Wales will need to produce photo ID to vote in person during a general election. Northern Ireland introduced voter ID in 2002.

A member of the polling station team at the Agape Centre in south Belfast hangs a sign ahead of polling stations opening. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PAA polling station sign outside Monk Sherborne Village Hall in Hampshire. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PAPeople queue to enter a polling station near Battersea Power Station. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Election day is always a good day for publicity stunts getting into the media, as this Peta activist dressed as a bear outside a polling station demonstrates …

A Peta activist dressed as a bear holds a sign outside a polling station. Photograph: Claudia Greco/Reuters

Here is a little glimpse behind the scenes, with the press pack of photographers marking time before Rishi Sunak arrived to vote in his constituency by taking lots of pictures of somebody putting up a sign.

Members of the media photograph a sign outside the polling station in Kirby Sigston. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PAShare

Updated at 10.01 CEST

Labour leader Keir Starmer is expected to cast his vote at about 9.30am, with Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey and Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer both expected to vote – in different places obviously – at about 10.30am.

If you want to start planning your evening, then here is our hour-by-hour guide to when we can expect to see results declared.


I pity people who are not invested in #DogsAtPollingStations on social media because even the official Conservative party account is joining in.

If you give Labour a blank cheque they will hammer your family with new taxes for generations.

The only way to stop the Labour supermajority today is to vote Conservative.

— Conservatives (@Conservatives) July 4, 2024


Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has made an appeal for people to come out and help his campaign in North Islington as an independent. In it he says:

We have built this campaign from nothing. We don’t have party machinery. We don’t have big donors. We have something more powerful: people.

We have built this campaign from nothing. We don’t have party machinery. We don’t have big donors. We have something more powerful: people.

Come to our campaign HQ at 89-93 Fonthill Rd to help us Get Out The Vote.

Let’s do this. Vote Independent in Islington North!

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) July 4, 2024

Another independent candidate in London who has previously stood for Labour, Fazia Shaheen, has also posted, saying “Let’s show the world what we’ve got! Our community and people-powered campaign could win today. They know it and they are scared. The Tories are finally out, let’s start a new politics.”

The polls are open!
Beautiful Chingford & Woodford Green, let’s show the world what we’ve got!
Our community and people-powered campaign could win today,
They know it and they are scared.
The Tories are finally out, let’s start a new politics#GeneralElection2024

— Faiza Shaheen (@faizashaheen) July 4, 2024

ShareList of 2024 party election manifestos

Polling seems to indicate that there are a lot of potentially undecided voters out there still. If you are undecided, maybe a quick peruse of the manifestos may be in order. Here is a handy list of manifestos for all the parties who had MPs at the end of the last parliament, plus a few select others …

Count Binface is very unlikely to get elected to Westminster. Photograph: Toby Melville/ReutersShare

Obviously you will have this live blog open all through the night, but here is our guide to what you could be watching out of the corner of your eye while reading Andrew Sparrow later on …

ShareRishi Sunak votes in his Yorkshire constituency

The prime minister has voted. PA Media reports:

Rishi Sunak made the short journey from his grade II-listed manor house to vote at Kirby Sigston Village Hall in his Richmond and Northallerton constituency. Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty arrived in a Range Rover and walked hand-in-hand into the village hall. Sunak greeted the photographers outside the polling station. He left without commenting and was driven away.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty arrive to cast their vote at Kirby Sigston and District Village Hall, North Yorkshire. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The GuardianShare

Updated at 09.58 CEST

Various senior political figures have been posting messages to encourage people to vote for them on social media.

Vaughan Gething has said in his clip that “You might not be particularly shocked by this, but I think that you should vote for the Labour party.”

The first minister of Wales accused the Conservative government in Westminster of having made a deliberate choice to starve Wales of investment, and said “I can tell you that the number one thing the Wales needs right now is a UK Labour government to work in partnership with.”

Home secretary James Cleverly has posted a picture of him at Braintree railway station, with the message “Happy polling day to all who celebrate this festival of democracy.”

In Northern Ireland, first minister Michelle O’Neill has asked the country to “return the strongest Sinn Féin team”. In a message for the wider UK electorate she said:

I also urge people to support progressive candidates in constituencies where Sinn Féin is not standing, ensuring the maximum number of progressive MPs are elected. Let’s work together.

Today, I am asking you to vote Sinn Féin and return the strongest Sinn Féin team.

I am asking you to endorse strong leadership, positive change, and our commitment to work for all.

I also urge people to support progressive candidates in constituencies where Sinn Féin is not…

— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) July 4, 2024

Nigel Farage, the recently installed leader of Reform UK, has reposted his party’s party political broadcast featuring him in the Kent countryside with his dog, urging people to “Vote with your heart”.

My colleague Libby Brooks is not up for election, but she has urged people to go out and vote with the enthusiasm of a Labrador as displayed by her dog with its friends.


Nimo Omer

Nimo Omer

My colleague Nimo Omer has been at the helm of our Thursday morning briefing email today, and has this to say about Rishi Sunak’s election campaign:

Despite trying to hammer home their central message (LABOUR WILL TAX YOU!), the moments everyone has remembered are actually Rishi Sunak’s self-inflicted gaffes.

A defining moment of the campaign that dogged the prime minister for weeks – a lifetime in a six-week campaign – was his decision to leave the D-day commemorations early to get back to London for an ITV interview. “In focus groups, when people were asked what they noticed, they remembered the rain announcement and D-day,” the Guardian’s senior political correspondent, Peter Walker says. There was no explaining it away and even though the prime minister apologised, “it looked pretty bad”. Another political headache for the beleaguered prime minister was the betting scandal, initially revealed by the Guardian, which followed Sunak everywhere he went.

A material roadblock to an effective on-the-ground campaign has been that much infrastructure is not there any more. A local party official effectively told Peter a few weeks ago that there was no one to campaign in their marginal seat. “They have lost many, many local councillors over the last few elections that would have been door-knocking for them,” he says. “There’s hardly anyone left”.

The Conservative campaign has also been surprisingly defensive, particularly in the last few weeks. Sunak has visited what would normally be considered ultra-safe seats.

You can read more of that here: Thursday briefing – The UK campaign trail’s highlights, lowlights – and washouts


Rishi Sunak hasn’t posted to social media since polls opened, but he did post a series of messages in an hourly countdown to “stop the Labour supermajority”, suggesting among other things that Labour intend to raise taxes, scrap exams, demolish the green belt and “tax you just for driving”.

There is no such thing as a “supermajority”. A government in the UK either has a majority or it does not.


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