Image source, PA Media/Reuters

  • Author, Paul Seddon
  • Role, Political reporter

Party leaders made their final plea to voters during a hectic campaign day ahead of Thursday’s general election.

In one of his most confident statements yet, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said his party was “ready for whatever comes next” as voters prepare to go to the polls.

He told reporters the changes he had made to Labour since becoming leader in 2020 were being “vindicated”.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak used a campaign event to reiterate his call for voters to deprive Labour of a “supermajority”.

Speaking in Hampshire, the Prime Minister said the result was not “a foregone conclusion” and he would “fight for every vote”.

The Conservatives, who failed to close their large deficit to Labour in the national opinion polls during the campaign, are making warnings about the dangers of a large Labour majority an increasingly important part of their campaign.

Earlier, Conservative Party minister Mel Stride said Labour would “very likely” win the largest majority in modern British history. Sir Keir described the comment as “voter suppression” aimed at “keeping people at home”.

Speaking at a rally in the West Midlands, the Labour leader called for complacency and warned voters seeking change of the dangers of waking up on Friday to “another five years of Tory government”.

“If you want change, you have to vote for it,” he added.

Yet he told reporters earlier on board his campaign plane, en route from Scotland to England, that he was “confident in the hard work we have done”.

“Overall – I’ve probably tempted fate in the last few hours – we’ve had a very good campaign,” he said.

He added: “And we are ready for what is to come, if the country places its trust in us.”

At a rally in Hampshire with his wife and parents after a day of campaigning in southern England, Sunak urged voters not to “sleepwalk” into a Labour “supermajority”.

He repeatedly warned that if the party were given the keys to Downing Street, taxes would rise, the cost of green measures would increase and the UK would turn into “Europe’s soft approach” to illegal migration.

He acknowledged that voters “may still be hesitant to give us their support again,” adding that he understood their “frustration” with him and his party.

But he said Thursday’s vote was “not a referendum on the past” but a “choice about the future of our country”.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

  • Lib Dem leader Ed Davey stepped out in a pink Thunderbirds-themed Cadillac on another campaign day in Tory-held target seats
  • Reform UK’s Nigel Farage led the chants of “we want our country back” from an army vehicle in Clacton, where he stands. You can see a full list of candidates standing here
  • Scottish First Minister John Swinney focused his plea on tackling child poverty and forging closer ties with Europe, calling on “every SNP voter” to turn up on Thursday
  • The co-leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales said they were aiming to win “at least” four seats

Polling stations in the UK open at 7am BST on Thursday and close at 10pm. Votes will be counted overnight.

Based on figures from the last elections in 2019, there is a good chance that about one in five voters has already made a decision and voted by mail.

Most results are expected in the early morning. Full results are expected early Friday morning.

The elections are taking place with revised constituency boundaries, to take account of population changes in recent years. About nine out of ten seats have changed to a greater or lesser extent.

It is also the first general election where people in England, Wales and Scotland will need a valid photo ID to vote in person.