Sunak and Starmer make final pleas to voters ahead of General Election

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have made their final pleas to voters ahead of the polls opening for the General Election.

Millions of people across the UK will cast their vote between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, with opinion polls suggesting Labour are on course to secure a big majority in the House of Commons and form a new government.

Prime Minister Mr Sunak insisted Thursday represents a “pivotal moment” for the country’s future, as he claimed Labour would “wield their unchecked power” to increase taxes should they secure a “supermajority”.

Rishi Sunak takes questions from the media
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to members of the media during a huddle while visiting Braishfield Primary School in Romsey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Labour leader Sir Keir said the UK “cannot afford” five more years under the Conservatives, adding Britain can “begin a new chapter” under his party.

An exit poll, published shortly after 10pm on Thursday, will provide the first indication of how the election has gone on a national level.

These take place at polling stations across the country, with tens of thousands of people asked to privately fill in a replica ballot as they leave, to get an indication of how they voted.

The first of the 650 seats are likely to declare their results from 11.30pm.

Mr Sunak, speaking ahead of polls opening, said: “Today is a pivotal moment for the future of our country. People across the United Kingdom will go to the polls and vote for the kind of country they want to live in and who they want in charge of their destiny.

“And there is a very clear choice. A choice between higher taxes with Labour or lower taxes with the Conservatives. Higher immigration with Labour or lower immigration with the Conservatives. Your pension raided under Labour or protected with the Conservatives.

“The reality is simple. If the polls are to be believed the country could wake up tomorrow to a Labour supermajority ready to wield their unchecked power, put up everyone’s taxes and leave the UK vulnerable to the threats we face at home and abroad.

“They will do lasting damage to our country and our economy – just like they did the last time they were in power. Don’t let that happen.”

Mr Sunak said he knows how “frustrated” people are following an “extremely difficult” few years, adding: “But the answer is not to usher in a Labour government with licence to tax you and your family to the hilt, run amok with your hard-earned money and change the rules to lock them in power for a generation.

“You have the power, you have a voice, you have a vote – use it to stop Starmer, to stop a Labour supermajority and their slew of taxes.

“Mark my words, they are coming for your pension, your home, your car. You name it, Labour will tax it. Your vote matters, vote Conservative today.”

Sir Keir Starmer walks among a crowd at a campaign event
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer at West Regwm Farm in Whitland, Carmarthenshire (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir said: “Today, Britain can begin a new chapter. A new age of hope and opportunity after 14 years of chaos and decline.

“This is a great nation, with boundless potential. The British people deserve a government that matches their ambition. Today is the chance to begin the work of rebuilding Britain with Labour.

“The choice today is clear. Between a changed Labour Party that stands ready to restore politics to service and rebuild Britain. Or a Tory party that crashed our economy, left public services in ruin, and now wants to give us Liz Truss 2.0 with more unfunded spending promises.

“We cannot afford five more years under the Conservatives. But change will only happen if you vote Labour.

“If the country votes for change with Labour, we’ll get to work immediately with our first steps for change.”

Sir Keir pointed to pledges to boost the economy, the NHS, schools and border security, adding: “Britain’s future is on the ballot. Today, vote to turn the page on the last 14 years. Vote for a changed Labour Party that is now ready to serve and change Britain. But change will only happen if you vote for it.”

Sir Ed Davey and Daisy Cooper wave at supporters while walking in front of a pink car
Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey and deputy leader Daisy Cooper during a visit to Hammond’s End Farm in Harpenden (James Manning/PA)

The Liberal Democrats are hoping to make gains, with leader Sir Ed Davey saying: “This election is a historic chance to end years of Conservative chaos and save the NHS and care.

“People can finally voice their anger at soaring NHS waiting lists, sky-high mortgage bills and rivers and beaches ruined by sewage.

“In many parts of the country, only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives and deliver the change the country is crying out for.

“People in these seats have a clear choice: vote Liberal Democrat to elect a strong local champion, or face another five years of the Conservatives taking you for granted.”