Voting underway in Sunderland as polls open – and eyes of the world wait to see if we’re first to declare

A runner brings in the first ballot box to the  Sunderland Tennis Centre as counting commences in the General Election 2015. Picture by Paul Kingston/PA Wire
A runner brings in the first ballot box to the Sunderland Tennis Centre as counting commences in the General Election 2015. Picture by Paul Kingston/PA Wire
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All eyes were set to focus on Sunderland tonight as it looked to maintain its proud election record of being first past the post when it comes to declaring a result.

A constituency in the city has been the first to declare in the six general elections since 1992.

In the last three general elections, the three Sunderland seats were the first to declare – and before midnight.

It is predicted that the first constituency will announce its election result at 10.50pm tonight.

But will Sunderland get there first?

According to Betting Firm Sporting Index, the first MP will arrive a couple of minutes later than the current record of 10.48pm – declared by Houghton and Sunderland South in 2015 when Bridget Phillipson was returned as MP

Ed Fulton, political spokesman for Sporting Index, said: “Sunderland’s constituencies have always led the way for first past the post records in recent general elections, and it will take a quick turnaround in any area to beat the record of 10.48pm held by Houghton and Sunderland South.

“That said, Washington and Sunderland West and Sunderland Central could give their neighbors a close run, and all eyes will be on when the first results are announced.”

The three Sunderland seats have traditionally been regarded as Labour strongholds.

In Houghton and Sunderland South, Labour’s Bridget Phillipson is seeking to be re-elected as MP in the challenge of Richard Bradley (Green), Paul Edgeworth (Liberal Democrat), Paul Howell (Conservative), Michael Joyce (UKIP) 
and Mick Watson (independent).

In Sunderland Central, Labour’s Julie Elliott will also be hoping to be returned to Westminster, with Sean Cockburn (independent), Rachel Featherstone (Green), Niall Hodson (Liberal Democrat), Gary Leighton (UKIP) and Robert Oliver (Conservative).

And in Washington and Sunderland West, Labour’s Sharon Hodgson is aiming to be re-elected in the challenge of Tom Appleby (Liberal Democrat), Michal Chantkowski (Green), Bryan Foster (UKIP) and Jonathan Gullis (Conservative).

Polling stations were due to close at 10pm tonight before counting starts at Silksworth Community Pool Tennis and Wellness Centre.