General Election Sleaford and North Hykeham - the polls are closed and counting begins!

The counting hall at OneNK leisure centre.
The counting hall at OneNK leisure centre.

On a night which is being described as the most important in British politics for a generation, the polling stations have closed in Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency and the counting is beginning.

We are here at OneNK sports centre in North Hykeham and so far 60 ballot boxes have been delivered to the counting hall from surrounding polling stations.

Boxes being dropped in at the counting hall.

Boxes being dropped in at the counting hall.

Polls closed at 10pm after what has been described as a very good turn out, despite the wet and windy weather for much of today (Thursday).

Six candidates have been pounding the doorsteps for votes over the last few weeks looking to secure votes needed from the electorate of 94,761.

There have been 116 polling stations open today, including two in Sleaford set up due to regular venues being booked up due to the unusual timing of the election.

Voting papers are currently being verified by the eight teams of counters - there are 78 count staff on duty including supervisors and assistants.

Ballot boxes being delivered to the counting hall

Ballot boxes being delivered to the counting hall

A spokesman for count authority North Kesteven District Council said all ballot boxes are expected to have been received in the counting hall by midnight. "Some ballot boxes are being dropped in at Sleaford and then being brought here in a job lot. More than half of those are already there at NKDC offices."

So far Simon Tooke for the Green Party, Linda Edwards-Shea for Labour, Caroline Johnson for the Conservatives and Oliver Craven are confirmed to be already at the count monitoring the verification of voting papers process.

In 2017 Dr Caroline Johnson held her seat for the Tories with a majority of 25,237 - 38.4 per cent of the vote.