Today’s the day! Millions of people across the country are going to the polls as we speak, with the polls suggesting that the result is too close to call. Here’s your guide to a results night that will change the country for a generation…
- 10:00pm – Polls close and the count begins. Unlike a general election, there will be no exit poll as this is a referendum and there is no previous result to compare it to. Results will start to come through around midnight, and be announced by local authority, rather than constituency. This means there will be 382 declarations this evening.
- Around midnight – We can expect Sunderland, one of the first to declare at general elections, will be among the first tonight. If the vote is a dead heat, we could expect Sunderland to lean leave by 4 percentage points. Deviation from this could be a very early sign of what the result might be.
- 1am – Gibraltar, the tiny peninsula on the Iberian coast, will likely be the largest remain victory of the night, with polls suggesting support for remain could reach 90% or more. Gibraltar’s population of roughly 32,000 is unlikely to decide the vote, unless the polls are very close. As other results come in from Swindon and Hartlepool, we can expect Leave to take an early lead, but this is expected to shift back to Remain later on and narrow if it gets very close.
- 1:30am – Salford and Stockport will be the ones to watch here – both expected to be a dead heat if the vote is extremely close. Anything other than a close victory for either side could be taken as another early sign of the path the country has chosen.
- 2am – 26 authorities will declare, ranging from Oxford, Ealing and Shetland (expected to remain by 10-30 points), to Dover, North Antrim and Sandwell (expected to leave by similar figures). Close calls to watch will be Wrexham (dead heat) and Ipswich (leaning leave).
- 2:30am – Most declarations at this time are expected to be for leave, but if Anglesey vote remain overall, this could be a sign that the country may do the same. On the other hand, if Woking vote to leave, this could be a signal that pro-Europeans are in for a bad night.
- 3am – Declaration central! Expect over 100 declarations over the next 90 minutes. Dead certs for both sides include Cambridge and Tower Hamlets for Remain and Thanet and Boston for Leave (Boston may even have the highest vote to leave in the country, with 68%). Several ones to watch, but Dacorum and Watford, in particular, could be bellwethers for the final result.
- 3:30am – If several declarations during this time are leave, expect a very close result. Portsmouth will be a district both sides will be hoping to win tonight, with the result anticipated to be too close to call.
- 4am – From this time, regional results will start to be declared and we will begin to get a greater picture of how the country has voted. Declarations at this time will be make or break for either side, with Canterbury, Birmingham and Lewes all on a knife edge. Brighton and Hove is currently one of the bookmakers’ favourites to have the largest remain support in Great Britain. Expect 2:1 to vote Remain here.
- 4:30am – By this point, we should have an idea of which side is likely to win the night, unless the vote is down to the wire. If so, keep an eye on Warrington and Tewkesbury. Both lean leave by a couple points if there is a 50/50 split, so a remain victory here could shift the balance.
- 5am – Pace of declarations will slow a lot now, with the national picture being hopefully more clear. Amber Valley will be the one to watch at this time, being another district which is too close to call.
- 6am – Final results will be coming through now, with Remain expected to take Bristol by a big margin. If the vote is close, could Nottingham be the one that decides the referendum? It is expected to vote 54% for Remain in a 50/50 national split, so a shift either way could be the decider.
- 7am – By this point, the result should be clear, with the chief counting officer declaring the referendum result in Manchester at roughly 7:30 tomorrow morning. Expect a statement by the Prime Minister half an hour later.
There’s your guide to what is expected to be an extremely exciting night for both sides!