Guide to EU referendum timings on the night: when will we know the result?

Written by David Singleton on 23 June 2016 in Diary

TV crews have set up in Westminster and most of the key declarations will be rolling in from 2am.

The Electoral Commission has estimated that the final verdict in the referendum on European Union membership will be delivered "around breakfast time" on Friday.

However, the final outcome should become clear before it is officially declared by the chief counting officer.

The results are declared by local authority area, with voting happening in 380 regions. While some areas will declare shortly after midnight, the real action is expected to get under way after 2am.

By 5am, some 80 per cent of authorities are expected to have made a declaration...




Polls close. But unlike on general election night, there is no exit poll this time. Sky News has commissioned a YouGov poll that will be released after 10pm – but this is not an exit poll and should not be treated like one.


12.30 AM

Sunderland prides itself on being the first to declare in general elections. It is also expected to be among the first to declare in the EU referendum. With strong support for Ukip in some parts of Sunderland, the Leave campaign can expect a strong showing. A lead of six points or more would be seen as early evidence that a Brexit could be on the cards. On the other hand, a narrow victory for Leave would give hope to the other side.

Newcastle upon Tyne, Wandsworth and the City of London are also in line to declare early. All three should be behind staying in the EU – or else the Remain camp are in trouble…


1 AM

Gibraltar and the Isles of Scilly are due in soon, but their small voter numbers won’t shed much light on the national picture.

More telling could be results coming in from Stockport and Salford, where Leave are expected to do well among traditional Labour voters. We should now get an idea of just how few of these voters were lapping up Jeremy Corbyn's speeches on the campaign trail.

Another result to look out for is Swindon, once declared Britain’s most ‘average’ town. Polls suggest Swindon will clearly back Leave, but the Remain camp are hoping that many of the town’s middle-income voters who normally support David Cameron could yet swing behind the PM for one last hurrah.


1.30 AM

A clutch of Northern Irish results should come in around now. There has been limited polling here, but most areas in Belfast are expected to back Remain.


2 AM

Now things are beginning to get lively. Remain will be expecting solid victories in Westminster, Ealing and Oxford, where high numbers of graduates and younger voters can surely be relied upon to back staying in the EU.

Remain should also be boosted by a host of Scottish results rolling in. They include the Shetland Islands, Angus, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and Clackmannanshire.

Meanwhile, Leave is expecting wins in Welsh boroughs such as Blaenau Gwent and Neath Port Talbot.


2.30 AM

The eurosceptic stronghold of Castle Point in Essex is expected vote convincingly for Leave, with polls suggesting 70% in favour of quitting the EU.

In northern England, Darlington could be a bit closer. The market town has also been leaning towards Leave – but only slightly. A clear result either way would be very interesting.

The general election bellwether seat of Crawley is another interesting one to watch around now. As was the case in May last year, both sides are hopeful...


3 AM

Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency of Islington is expected to have declared by now (or perhaps slightly earlier) and the Labour leader can expect a very good result for Remain on his home turf.

West Oxfordshire, home of David Cameron’s Witney constituency, is expected to declare at 3am. Expect commentators to chew over the symbolism of that result.

Boston and Cambridge are also likely to declare around now. Boston is a Leave heartland, while Cambridge is strongly in favour of remaining in the EU.

A Remain landslide is on the cards when Edinburgh declares. The Scottish city is the bookies’ favourite for top Remain percentage of voters (you can get 2/1 with Ladbrokes as I write this).


4 AM

With over 200 results probably declared, both camps should have a good idea of how the vote is looking by now. Unless it’s on a knife edge, broadcasters might soon start officially calling the result.

Great Yarmouth and Blackpool should both boost the Leave vote share. Brexiteers are also looking for a resounding victory in Tendring, which houses Douglas Carswell’s Clacton constituency.


4.30 AM

Now the big London boroughs are landing to boost Remain's vote share. They include the hipster haven of Hackney, where voters would rather sell their grandmother than side with Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. The London borough is the bookies’ second favourite for top Remain percentage of voters.


5 AM

Manchester will deliver its verdict, with Remain banking on a solid lead. With 80 per cent of authorities now having declared, we should have a very good idea of where we stand….

6 AM

Among the last counts to arrive will be from Bristol, followed by Harborough. But will they be too late to change anything?


7 AM

Once all the regional totals have been declared, Electoral Commission chair (and chief counting officer) Jenny Watson will declare the result from Manchester Town Hall.

That is, unless it is so close that major recounts are needed…



Our sister title PoliticsHome has all the action through the night over at its comprehensive liveblog.



Picture by: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images


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