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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 28 October 2020


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AFTER ONE OF the ugliest campaigns in recent history, voting day has arrived in the UK.

The electorate is going to the polls to answer one simple question: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union.  

Stick with us as we follow all of today’s happenings and go into the night with the election result.

Will they stay or will they go? Let’s find out.

Afternoon, folks. It’s Christine Bohan here on liveblog duty. We’ll be following the voting as it happens across the UK today, and will be continuing on into the night through to tomorrow morning as the results come in.

Got any thoughts? Leave a comment below, send us a mail to tips@thejournal.ie, or tweet us @thejournal_ie.

Very long and nerve-wracking 20 hours ahead for the UK…

Just to give you an idea of what to expect between now and the result, here’s a rough outline of the timings.

10pm: Polls close and ballot boxes are brought to one of 212 counting venues. (There won’t be an exit poll, by the way).

11.30pm: The turnout figures will begin to be announced.

12.30am: First results should begin to come in. The UK Electoral Commission is expecting Sunderland, City of London, and Foyle to all announce their results around now.

3am – 4am: The majority of the local results should be announced.

4am: With most of the local results in, the 12 voting regions will start to announce their results. The overall picture should start to become clear around now.

6am – 7am: The final regional results will be announced.

Any time after 7am: The chief counting officer will declare the overall national result at Manchester Town Hall.

Six polls  have been published between yesterday and today – no moratorium rules in the UK, apparently – with four showing the Remain side in the lead.

Interestingly, the two polls which show Leave ahead were both done online, which reflects a trend throughout the campaign: polls done by telephone have consistently put the Remain side ahead, while online polls, which are used far more frequently in the UK than here in Ireland, have tended to show the Leave side in front.

These figures show the results of 18 polls which have been taken over the last ten days

So right now, it would seem that the polls are definitely leaning towards Remain. However, as BuzzFeed’s Europe editor Alberto Nardelli reminds us: 

Ipsos MORI, which published the final poll of the campaign this morning, also asked the public what they think will actually happen.

53% say they think the UK will remain with the EU, 26% say they think Leave will win, while a massive 21% of people don’t know what’s going to happen.

Let’s do our own little poll here. Whatever about what you’d like them to do, what do you think will actually happen? 

Poll Results:

 The UK will stay (2186)
 The UK will leave (646)
 I don't know (266)

If reason doesn’t work, go for emotional blackmail.

German newspaper Bild says if the UK votes to stay, it will accept that England’s controversial goal in the 1966 World Cup final did actually cross the line.


The extra-time goal scored by Geoff Hurst gave England their only World Cup win 50 years ago when they defeated Germany at Wembley. However the goal was hugely controversial because it was unclear whether it actually crossed the line or not.

Our reporter Michael Sheils McNamee is voting in Derry, and says the match may have affected the turnout at his station.

The final television debate was on Channel 4 last night, moderated by Jeremy Paxman, and it’s fair to say it shed more heat than light.

The discussion featured Katie Price, Edwina Curry, Peter Stringfellow and Sandie Shaw of Eurovision fame, among others. Here’s a 90-second condensed version of what happened.

This is very moving.

People have been leaving flowers outside Batley Town Hall, a polling station in the constituency where Jo Cox was an MP.

EU referendum Source: PA WIRE

EU referendum Source: PA WIRE

Interesting stat from the most recent YouGov poll:

44% of people polled thought the Leave campaign had been dishonest, while 45% thought the Remain campaign had been dishonest.

It speaks to the intensity of the campaign that the figures are so high on both sides.

Our reporter Michael Sheils McNamee has been speaking to people who have just voted in Derry to get a sense of the mood in that part of Northern Ireland.

derry polling Source: Michael Sheils McNamee

Jennifer, who is a recent retiree, said that she voted to Remain.

I voted yes because I’m from a generation that knows what the EU was about, where it was started from – it was to stop wars in Europe, which it has done.

The other thing is, because I’m transgender, a lot of the legislation for transgender people was due to Europe, because the UK government weren’t interested, or they were forced  to pass gender recognition legislation but it was Europe that made them do it So that’s why. 

Margaret, a 55-year-old retiree, said she voted to Remain: 

It actually would have been better for me personally the other way, but I think it’s better for Northern Ireland to stay.

A woman who didn’t wish to give her name told him:

I voted to stay in because I don’t want the borders.

Lillian, 61, retired, said she was a ‘firm believer’ of voting to Remain:

I voted to stay in because of all the employment rights that the young people have gained since the Working Time Directive in 1999. People in this town never had proper holidays until that legislation came in. Not only that, this town has benefited from all the peace funding from the EU. This town wouldn’t look as well today without all the funding that we received, so I’m a firm believer of staying in.

It may have just been the timing or that particular polling place which had more Remain voters than Leave voters. If anyone who is voting today wants to let us know their thoughts, send us a couple of lines to tips@thejournal.ie.

Our reporter Cormac Fitzgerald was just talking to Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes, who says the result will be tight, but he thinks Remain “could just do it”.

“There’s been a push toward the Remain side – whether that makes the impact, I don’t know,” he said.

It’ll be tight. It’s not going to be 60-40 or 55-45 or anything like that.

I just feel the momentum has swung in [the Remain side's] favour in the last week, which may prove telling in the last analysis.

9/10/2015 Forums For Refugee Crisis Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Our reporter Daragh Brophy is about to jump on a plane to Scotland to cover the referendum result – oh, and the small matter of a certain controversial US presidential candidate who is due to touch down later on…

This poll of polls, which looks at the average of all published opinion polls over the last month, has two interesting findings.

Firstly, despite the heated campaign over the last four weeks, the actual changes in support have been very small. Remain has dropped from 49% to 46%, while Leave has grown from 40% to 44%. Leave has dropped slightly over the past week while Remain has risen slightly.

Secondly, 1 in 10 people polled still don’t know which way they want to vote. This part of the electorate could be crucial in swinging the vote either way, whether or not they turn out to vote.

One question that might be puzzling readers on this side of the Irish Sea is why there isn’t going to be any exit poll in the EU referendum when polls close at 10pm.

There are two main reasons for this.

  • Firstly, there would be a major problem with getting an accurate exit poll, given how there’s no way to know how people are likely to vote within given constituencies, making sampling very difficult. 
  • Secondly, there’s nothing to compare this to. With exit polls at general elections, pollsters can compare the results to previous elections to work out what the national swing is – but this is a one-off event (presumably!) on a single issue.  

The weather has been causing problems in some parts of the country, which is likely to have an effect on turn-out.

The Guardian reports that at least two polling stations have had to be moved elsewhere after torrential rain fell on parts of London and the south-east of England.

These pictures from PA Wire show the extent of the flooding in Essex. Typical June weather, really.

Summer weather June 23rd 2016 Source: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Summer weather June 23rd 2016 Source: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Summer weather June 23rd 2016 Source: Neil Lancefield/PA Wire

This is one of the more unusual polling stations being used today (you can just about see the sign at the front of the truck).

EU referendum Source: Matthew Cooper/PA Wire

The truck is holding a generator which is providing lighting for the polling station in the shipping container, located in Halesowen in the West Midlands. That’s some effort.

It’s still too early to say what turnout is, but it’s likely to hit between 60% and 70%.

Research for the Electoral Reform Society found that 62% of people said they will definitely vote today (for comparison, the turnout in the UK’s general election last year was 66%).

Some constituencies will go higher, though. Scotland’s chief returning officer has already predicted that turnout in Scotland will be between 70% and 80%.

Earlier today, we asked readers how you think the UK will actually vote. Drumroll please…


So as of right now, with more than 2,700 votes cast so far, 71% of readers think the UK will remain, 20% think they will leave and 8% aren’t sure either way.

We’ll see tomorrow morning how many of you actually got it right…

One sign that turnout could be relatively high: there are numerous reports on Twitter of people having to queue to be able to cast their vote.

Helpful reminder for all of you who like a good nail-biting vote: we’re going to be liveblogging the results from 10pm tonight through to the early hours of tomorrow morning. Pull up a chair (or your laptop) and join us.

giphy (1)

It may be a sign of how tense this vote is that that are some odd conspiracy theories floating around about the voting process.

A number of people – mainly on the Vote Leave side – have expressed concern on social media that filling in the ballot paper with a pencil could lead to their vote being rubbed out and/or changed.

One Twitter user and UKIP supporter even took a video at her polling station of a police officer who, she said, was called after she tried to lend her pen to other voters.

The Manchester Evening News reports that scores of voters are reportedly bringing their own pens to polling stations to stop their vote from potentially being erased.

The UK Electoral Commission has tweeted to tell people that pencils are provided, but pens can be used if the voters want. 

Deep breaths all round.


Betfair is predicting that there is an 84% chance people will vote in favour of remaining in the EU, based on the way that the betting on the referendum has gone so far. 

It currently has the Remain campaign at odds of 1/8 while Leave is longer at 5/1.

Hi – it’s Susan Daly, taking over our #euref liveblog for a little while.

Our reporter Daragh Brophy is on the way to Glasgow at the moment – he’s going to update us on Donald Trump’s eagle-has-landed appearance there.

In the meantime, he’s been speaking to Scots in nearby Paisley about the referendum – the majority of them are in the ‘Remain’ camp.

Remember we were noting the ripple of panic among a few worried voters that making their mark with a pencil would allow ‘someone’ to potentially tamper with their ballot?

Some tweeters are less than sympathetic and have been having a laugh with the #usepens hashtag:

That didn’t take long.

This is the second nailbiting referendum within the UK in two years – let’s not forget Scotland’s vote on independence (or not, as it turned out) in September 2014.

We bet David Cameron is certainly thinking about it tonight and reflecting whether he’s done enough to repeat the slim success of his ‘Stay’ argument that time around.

There is a thoughtful op-ed in today’s Financial Times which focuses on the decision to again use “predictions of economic disaster” as a method of persuasion. Have a read of Mure Dickie’s piece and see if you agree with the contention that Cameron hasn’t learned anything from his Scottish campaign.

This forecast is bad news for those commuters stranded at Waterloo station in London and some other areas of the UK because of flooding:

Source: Met Office - Weather/YouTube

There is expected to be further downpours, particularly in the southeast, which is not going to help those desperately trying to get home to vote by 10pm tonight.

It’s the final stretch for polling stations in the UK – they are due to close in 20 minutes and counting will start immediately.

The intrepid Sineád O’Carroll will be here with you overnight, following the results as they trickle out locally.

Right, on that note, we’ll leave this liveblog here for now.

Sinéad O’Carroll is fully rested and ready to bring you through the overnight results over here.

Go say hello.

Thanks for staying with us today.

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