Voting underway in South Tyneside as polls open for General Election

Portable polling station ahead of general election 2017.
Lizard Lane South Shields
Portable polling station ahead of general election 2017. Lizard Lane South Shields

South Tynesiders were going to the polls today as the General Election arrived.

As the country prepared to decide who will be voted into 10 Downing Street, ten hopefuls were hoping to be named as South Tyneside’s two MPs for the South Shields and Jarrow constituencies, both widely regarded as being safe Labour seats.

In South Shields, there was a five-way choice between Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour), Felicity Buchan (Conservative), Richard Elvin (UKIP), Shirley Ford (Green) and Gita Gordon (Liberal Democrats).

It was also a five-way fight in Jarrow between Stephen Hepburn (Labour), James Askwith (UKIP), Robin Gwynn (Conservative), David Herbert (Green) and Peter Maughan (Liberal Democrats).

Polling stations opened at 7am and were set to close at 10pm before counting will begin at Temple Park Centre, where the results were due to be announced.

As the respective campaign trails ended, it emerged that Theresa May visited a greater range of seats than any other party leader by travelling to 68 different constituencies during the seven-week election campaign, new analysis shows.

The main party leaders have covered thousands of miles in the run-up to Thursday’s election, with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn campaigning in 63 constituencies, while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron took his campaign to 37 different seats.

Analysis by the Press Association found that Mrs May made 63% of her campaign visits to Labour seats, taking in 23 Labour-held marginals such as Ealing Central and Acton, where Dr Rupa Huq took the seat in 2015 with a tiny majority of 274.

She also visited 20 Labour strongholds, including the ultra-safe seats of Birmingham Ladywood, Oxford East and Leeds Central, according to election visits figures up to the end of Wednesday.

The campaign took the Prime Minister to 18 Tory seats, half of which were marginals, while Mrs May spent little time targeting Liberal Democrat seats, visiting only Richmond Park during her campaign.

Mr Corbyn focused more on Labour strongholds than any other type of seat, spending 37% of his visits addressing crowds of 
party faithful, compared with only 5% in Labour marginals.