• Video report from ITV News Political Correspondent Angus Walker

Voters have headed to the polls today to cast their ballots in what has been billed as the most important General Election in a generation.

The contest is the first to be held in December in nearly 100 years: the last general election held in December was in 1923.

The 2019 election follows polls in 2015 and 2017.

Polling stations in 650 constituencies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland opened their doors at 7am before the 10pm cut off.

Prime minister Boris Johnson - accompanied by his pet rescue dog, Dilyn -was the first party leader to cast their vote on Thursday.

He arrived at the Methodist Central Hall in the Cities of London & Westminster constituency, walking Dilyn inside before posing briefly for pictures cuddling the Jack Russell moments after putting his cross down.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, voted in Islington, north London, together with his wife Laura Alvarez.

He posed briefly for the cameras, giving a thumbs up.

Nicola Sturgeon, together with husband Peter Murrell, was up and about early, too, to vote in Glasgow.

She also posed to wave after putting her cross down.

Meanwhile, in the same city, Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, cast her vote, accompanied by husband Duncan Hames.

She was smiling broadly as she made her way through the camera crews.

Anyone over the age of 18, who has previously registered to vote, can attend and mark their ballot paper until 10pm.

After this time, counting will begin straight away, with results due to be announced in the early hours of Friday.

Following heavy rain and strong winds this week, Thursday is expected to be an “unsettled day” weather-wise while voters visit polling stations.

Two cold weather warnings have been issued for election day, with ice and wintry showers expected in parts of Scotland.