GE2015 sketch: Charlotte Church, Ukip name-dropping

Charlotte Church: Announced Labour vote. Picture: PA
Charlotte Church: Announced Labour vote. Picture: PA
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THE tensions of the tightest and most nail biting election in living memory continued on polling day with a fight, a lost name on ballot papers and late interventions by a pop star and a football club as millions of voters across the UK went to vote on who should govern the country.

The day began with the polls opening and the party leaders among the first to vote around the country with everything at stake.

With so much at stake, party leaders were out early to cast their votes.

David Cameron arrived with wife Samantha at a polling station in his Witney constituency in Oxfordshire, while Ed Miliband and his wife Justine voted in his Doncaster North seat in the contest which will decide which of the two men will enter No 10.

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Mr Miliband was beaten to the polling booth at Sutton Village Hall by around half a dozen early voters, who were bemused to find a large group of photographers, reporters and television crews waiting in the middle of the briefly closed-off road.

Ukip’s Nigel Farage cast his vote in his Kent constituency of Thanet South knowing that his political future is on the line having promised to step down as party leader if he is not elected.

Afterwards he tweeted: “I’ve voted. I can’t tell you who for!”

Last out after his Land’s End to John O’Groat’s campaign marathon was Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg who was voting with wife Miriam in his Sheffield Hallam constituency.

Mr Clegg went to vote facing a fight to hold on to his own Sheffield Hallam seat, and urged voters to stick with the Liberal Democrats as the only party able to provide a “stable” influence on a Tory or Labour administration.

Mr Farage predicted many undecideds would swing behind the Eurosceptic party as it seeks to translate regular third places in national polls into an influential Commons presence in any post-election negotiations.

“We have a feeling there are lots of people out there who are shy Ukippers who don’t tell the opinion pollsters how they will vote,” he told an eve-of-poll rally, adding that he was looking forward to the established parties waking up tomorrow with a “huge hangover”.

But the tension and excitement of the day saw incidents at various polling stations.

In Portsmouth a 28-year-old was arrested for a public order offence at a polling station at Wimborne Junior School for allegedly arguing with a teller who asked for his registration number.

Another voter subsequently took offence at the language used and got involved, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Hounslow Council has apologised after sending many voters to the wrong polling booth.

According to reports around 3,000 people may have been affected by the mix-up, with the wrong address being printed on polling cards.

The council is hand delivering letters to affected voters and is running a shuttle bus service between polling booths in Southville Road and Bedfont Library.

A spokesman said: “We are sorry, but the polling cards for some registered voters living in Bedfont have the wrong polling station details printed on them.

“We are hand delivering letters to those properties that have been affected.

“A free bus shuttle service between the two polling stations will be running until 2.30pm and again from 5pm to 10pm.”

There was a row in Darlington where papers at one polling station omitted the name of a Ukip candidate.

The name of David Hodgson did not appear on voting papers delivered to the Harrowgate Hill ward in the Darlington constituency.

Darlington Borough Council confirmed that 89 ballot papers had been issued without the full list of candidates.

“As soon as the issue was identified, corrected ballot papers were issued to the polling station concerned,” a statement on the council website said, adding that voting was continuing “as normal”.

Ukip said that it would be considering what action to take while Mr Hodgson said that there were “serious questions” for the council to answer.

“How can this have happened? Who is going to take responsibility? And what will be done to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again and no candidate ever finds themselves removed from the ballot paper in future,” he said.

“What is particularly galling is that Darlington Council is not prepared to take responsibility nor offer an apology.”

Meanwhile, it was reported that computer glitches have caused registration problems and disrupted voting for some in east London.

Some voters tweeted that when they arrived at the polling station Thursday, they were told they were not registered and unable to vote.

Hackney Council acknowledged some who registered online found that their information did not show up on their printed register. But it said almost all cases have been resolved, and that it was confident most locals will be able to vote without problems.

There were also concerns in Northern Ireland where a group of business and community leaders in Londonderry said that pre-election attacks, which included the home of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness being targeted by paint bombers, have created a climate of fear in the city.

A statement from the Unity Of Purpose group said: “These attacks against the people of this city have created an atmosphere of fear and a heightened sense of threat across the city. ‘We particularly condemn those attacks in built up areas that have subjected local people to terror and fear in their own homes.”

Among the first time voters was the 29-year-old singer Charlotte Church who made her own last minute intervention.

The Welsh singer, 29, revealed she has never before voted in a general election because she thought it was “condoning a broken system” and propping up an “illusion of democracy”.

But she has decided to cast her ballot for Labour today in a bid to keep the Conservatives out of her local constituency - and David Cameron out of Number 10.

In a blog post she wrote: “This country needs change. We need to sort out our house. The people are being ripped off and exploited by multinational companies, by the media, by our own elected officials, and all of this has got to stop.

“Whether Ed Miliband and the Labour Party are the right people to sort it all out is a moot point.

“David Cameron has presided over the most capricious, shambolic government that there has been in my lifetime. They are scandalous, and they cannot be the right people for the job.”

But there was also an unusual political intervention from a football club into local politics.

Hartlepool United urged fans to “think carefully” before voting for the sitting Labour MP, months after he criticised plans to sign the disgraced striker Ched Evans.

Iain Wright spoke out in December when the club was bottom of the league, saying that it would become a “pariah” if it signed the convicted rapist.

And when the club announced it would not give him a route back into football, Mr Wright expressed his pleasure at the decision by club bosses.

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