How to follow the general election results like a pro - the key moments to watch out for

The polls have closed in the election - and now ballots are being counted.

At first, the results trickle in. But then the pace steps up.

Election 2024: Live updates as exit poll says Labour will win landslide

We expect to have the lion's share of counts called by around 4am.

So what are the key times to watch out for?


The exit poll has been released, indicating that Labour will win a landslide 170-seat majority.

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Follow the results here

The exit poll consists of data collected from across the country which is then used to produce an estimate of the election outcome.

They are generally on the money when it comes to the overall result, but there's a slight margin of error when it comes to the number of seats for the respective parties.


It's usually constituencies in the North East that come through first.

Houghton & Sunderland South was the first to declare.

It's the seat of shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson, who won to return to parliament - and likely a job in government.


A handful more seats are expected to have come through by 1am.

We will start to get a sense of how things are going at this point and whether the exit poll is broadly accurate.

One of those seats expected to come through at this point is Basildon and Billericay, where Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden is standing - having switched from a seat in Durham.

Normally a safe Tory haunt, if this goes to a recount then it will show the depth of trouble the party could be in.


Four hours after polls close, and we could be seeing how the Red Wall is faring.

Both the Redcar and Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland seats are expected to have come through by then.

These are areas emblematic of the coalition of voters Boris Johnson won over in 2019 - and it will show if those voters have stayed blue.

If not, then Jacob Young and Simon Clarke will not be heading back to Westminster as MPs.

We will also have an indication of how things will be going in Scotland.

Seats like Rutherglen and Hamilton and Clyde Valley should have declared, with Labour hoping it will be able to rebuild its presence north of the border.

The SNP, meanwhile, will be hoping the scandals of the past few years will not have turned away the support that has seen them be the largest party in Scotland since 2015.


At this point we should be well past 100 seats declared - and we will be getting a real feel for how the election has gone.

We will know just how accurate the exit poll was, what colour the next government will be, and maybe even an indication of the size of its majority.

We could start getting some high-profile cabinet casualties as the results in Godalming and Ash (Chancellor Jeremy Hunt) and Portsmouth North (Penny Mordaunt) are expected.

Below are some of the main seats to keep an eye on:

Bristol Central: The Green Party is hoping to unseat Labour shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire

Caerfyrddin: Plaid Cymru might be able to clinch Tory chief whip Simon Hart's constituency

Chichester: The Liberal Democrats may take Education Secretary Gillian Keegan's seat

Chingford and Woodford Green: Veteran Tory Sir Iain Duncan Smith is contesting against Labour and independent Faiza Shaheen

Fareham and Waterlooville: Suella Braverman's seat - with one poll suggesting she is facing a surge from Reform

Forest of Dean: Transport Secretary Mark Harper could lose his seat to Labour

Great Grimsby and Cleethorpes: The constituency featured in our Target Towns series - Sky News has explored in depth the election through the lens of the Lincolnshire seat. Sarah-Jane Mee will be here to bring you the result as it happens

Godalming and Ash: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is fighting against the Liberal Democrats

Islington North: Will Jeremy Corbyn be able to win his seat as an independent - or will Labour retain it?

Portsmouth North: Penny Mordaunt's future as an MP - and Tory leadership hopeful - could be on a knife-edge as she battles against Labour

Rochdale: George Galloway is hoping to hold onto the seat he won earlier this year in a by-election which Labour had to abandon

Welwyn Hatfield: Media veteran and defence secretary Grant Shapps is expected to lose his seat to Labour.


By this point, we will likely know who will be forming the next government, with a majority of the 650 seats declared.

The result in Rishi Sunak's seat (Richmond and Northallerton) is expected around this time. No incumbent prime minister has ever lost their seat at an election, so if this happens to the current occupant of Number 10 it will be a cataclysmic outcome.

Here is what you need to be keeping an eye out for:

Aberdeenshire North and Moray East: Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross could lose the battle for this seat - which he took the nomination for at the last minute from an ill colleague

Ashfield: Lee Anderson, a former Labour councillor and Tory MP, who now represents Reform, is hoping to hold the Midlands seat for his latest party

Boston and Skegness: This is where Reform leader Richard Tice is standing, hoping to unseat the Conservatives

Braintree: Home Secretary James Cleverly's seat, which he is expected to hold against Labour - if he does not it will show the Conservative Party might be in real trouble

Brighton Pavilion: Green candidate Sian Berry is hoping to hold the party's only Westminster berth, which Caroline Lucas is stepping back from

Clacton: Nigel Farage might finally win a seat in the Commons at the eighth time of asking

Devon Central: Mel Stride, a key Sunak ally and cabinet minister, could be ejected by Labour

Holborn and St Pancras: Sir Keir Starmer's seat - it is a very safe Labour constituency. Mark Austin is here to keep an eye on the man who looks set to be the next prime minister

Richmond and Northallerton: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's seat. If the Conservatives lose here, it will be a sign things have gone very wrong - and Anna Botting is there to keep us updated throughout the night

Somerset North East and Hanham: With boundary changes and the electoral forecasts, Jacob Rees-Mogg is fighting here to keep his seat in Westminster from Labour


Barring a mass of recounts - which is not impossible - most of the counting should be done by this point in the morning.

Seats like Attorney General Victoria Prentis's Banbury, Johnny Mercer's Plymouth Moor View and Liz Truss's Norfolk South West are expected around this time and could throw up some late scalps or remarkable comebacks.

Outgoing and incoming MPs will have done their acceptance or departure speeches - and the party bigwigs will head to London.


Lead politics presenter Sophy Ridge and deputy political editor Sam Coates will be taking over the Sky News political coverage from the night shift.

Sky News contributor Adam Boulton will also be present to give his insight on the election results.

We will have an early morning episode of Politics at Jack and Sam's and special editions of Electoral Dysfunction and the Sky News Daily podcast.


If the Tories have lost, Rishi Sunak is likely to announce his resignation at some point - most likely outside Downing Street before leaving for the final time and heading to Buckingham Palace to formally quit.

At this point, Sir Keir Starmer would head to the palace and accept an invitation from the King to form a government. He would then travel back to Downing Street and address the assembled media.

If Rishi Sunak manages to stay in Number 10, he will address the media gathered outside Downing Street and get back to work. In this scenario, Sir Keir would likely be the one delivering a resignation statement.

Friday afternoon

Regardless of who wins the election, a new cabinet will likely be picked.

On Friday afternoon, expectant MPs will likely be seen walking up Downing Street for a meeting with the prime minister to be asked to serve in the new government.