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What to look out for as the EU referendum results come in

Your hour-by-hour guide.

It’s that time again, folks:  your handy guide from the New Statesman to when you can expect results from the European referendum and what they mean for the overall results.

First: a disclaimer. We haven’t had a referendum on European membership since 1975. We have no idea what turnout will be and crucially if turnout will be wildly different throughout the country. The margin for error here is large, but these are useful hitching-posts throughout the night – or, at least, as useful as I can make them at this stage.

22:00: Close of poll. There will not be a lot to report on at this stage.

There won’t be an exit poll although I imagine a few of the pollsters might decide to chance their arms on doing an on-the-day one. However, these are very far from the all-singing, all-dancing exit polls that the BBC, Sky and ITV pay for on election night and are much, much less reliable. So don’t start celebrating/mourning/selling sterling just because Survation or whoever suggest that we’ve voted to Leave.

My advice is to use this time to stock up on vital supplies: fast food, dips, fizzy drinks and hard liquor. (And also, given the increasingly Leavy-y tilt of the polls, canned goods and bottled water.) Also open the New Statesman liveblog and switch onto ITV. I will be popping up on both throughout the night.

23:00: There’s an old joke from Spitting Image that will be appropriate at this time. “Nothing has happened,” opines the Conservative early on in election night. “That’s not true,” exclaims his Labour counterpart, “A lot has happened.” “It’s the same old two-party story,” sighs the Liberal Democrat, “Actually, a little bit has happened.”

Tell it at home and have them rolling in the aisles.

0:00: Results from Gibraltar and the Isles of Scilly will come in. Although the actual numbers of votes are very small, in percentage terms this ought to be Remain’s high watermark. As far as victory margins are concerned, it will be all downhill from here.

00:30: Sunderland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne will declare. Leave should be well clear of Remain in Sunderland if Brexit is indeed going to happen. Anything short of a seven-point gap between Leave and Remain in Sunderland is very good news for Britain Stronger In Europe.  Newcastle is finely balanced but ought to be better for Remain than Sunderland.

It is entirely possible that Leave could lead at this point and still lose.

00:45: Remain ought to get a big win out of City of London – that is, just the area around London Wall and the City, not the whole city, which will declare in stages throughout the night. London’s financial district has just 7,000 permament residents but they trend Remain. 

The bigger prize in terms of votes Swindon, a marginal in general elections but a fortress as far as Brexit is concerned. At this point in the evening, I'd expect a Leave lead.

01:00: Oldham and Darlington will declare. It’s not necessarily all over for Leave if they don’t have an overall lead at this point but it would be a bad sign for them if they weren’t ahead at this point.

01:30: Peak Leave? In percentage terms, at any rate, they should be well up by the time that Basildon, Hartlepool, North Hertfordshire, Stockport, Salford and Merthyr Tydfil  declare. Only the tiny, in population size if not in length of name Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar is likely to return a Remain lead, and that should be more than cancelled out by results elsewhere.

I can’t say with absolute certainty that if Leave don’t lead at this point in the night they’ve lost, but their chances of victory will be narrowed if they aren’t out in front at this point.

02:00: The first big batch of Scottish results, from Clackmannanshire, North Ayrshire, Stirling, the Shetland Islands, East Ayshire and Angus ought to get Remain back in contention. Also likely to run up the score for Remain: Wandsworth, Westminster and Warwick.

Keeping Leave in the race should be Denbighshire and Blaenau Gwent, Neath Port Talbot, Dover, Pendle, Hart, Tamworth, South Tyneside, and Wrexham.

Anyone with a clear lead at this point can feel cheerful but not home and dry just yet.

02:30: We should start to be able to say who’s winning the referendum around about now, as areas around the country start to declare. Wth looking out for Crawley, Enfield, while Castle Point is in contention to provide Leave with one of its largest margins of victory.

03:00: Results will be coming thick and fast, including Jeremy Corbyn’s stomping ground of Islington. The winner should be clear unless it’s a nail-biting finish although I doubt the broadcasters will feel safe in saying so for a few hours. Oxford, one of the contenders for Remain’s biggest victory margin of the night, declares.

03:30:  Edinburgh and Cambridge will duke it out to be the biggest Remain backers. Elsewhere, expect conversations to turn to David Cameron’s coming reshuffle or the looming Boris Johnson premiership depending on which sideis ahead at this point.

04:00: My birthplace of Tower Hamlets is increasingly riddled with hipsters, which means it should give Remain a fairly big win. But the big contender for Remain’s best area – at a tempting 16/1 with the bookmakers – is Brighton and Hove.

04:30: The bulk of Britain’s remaining big cities to bolster my metropolitan snobbery by voting for Remain by a heavy margin unless it is a landside for Leave.

05:00: Most of London will have declared by this point – if it is close, this could be the moment when Remain wins, or it could be the moment when the many balding men of Brexit can breathe a sigh of relief.

06:00: Allegedly Bristol will declare at this point. Bristol counts are notoriously slow so I am dubious. We will know who has won by this point, regardless.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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Copeland must be Labour's final warning

Unison's general secretary says Jeremy Corbyn is a friend - but must also take responsibility for turning the party's prospects around. 

No one objective could argue that last night’s by-election results were good for Labour.

Whilst it was undoubtedly pleasing to see serial fibber Paul Nuttall and his Trumpian politics put in their place in Stoke, this was never a seat where the result should have been in doubt. 

But to lose Copeland – held by Labour for 83 years – to a party that has inflicted seven years of painful spending cuts on our country, and is damaging the NHS, is disastrous.

Last autumn, I said that Labour had never been farther from government in my lifetime. Five months on the party hasn’t moved an inch closer to Downing Street.

These results do not imply a party headed for victory. Copeland is indicative of a party sliding towards irrelevance. Worse still, Labour faces an irrelevance felt most keenly by those it was founded to represent.

There will be those who seek to place sole blame for this calamity at the door of Jeremy Corbyn. They would be wrong to do so. 

The problems that Labour has in working-class communities across the country did not start with Corbyn’s leadership. They have existed for decades, with successive governments failing to support them or even hear their calls for change. Now these communities are increasingly finding outlets for their understandable discontent.

During the 2015 election, I knocked on doors on a large council estate in Edmonton – similar to the one I grew up on. Most people were surprised to see us. The last time they’d seen Labour canvassers was back in 1997. Perhaps less surprisingly, the most common response was why would any of them bother voting Labour.

As a party we have forgotten our roots, and have arrogantly assumed that our core support would stay loyal because it has nowhere else to go. The party is now paying the price for that complacency. It can no longer ignore what it’s being told on the doorstep, in workplaces, at ballot boxes and in opinion polls.

Unison backed Corbyn in two successive leadership elections because our members believed – and I believe – he can offer a meaningful and positive change in our politics, challenging the austerity that has ravaged our public services. He is a friend of mine, and a friend of our union. He has our support, because his agenda is our agenda.

Yet friendship and support should never stand in the way of candour. True friends don’t let friends lose lifelong Labour seats and pretend everything is OK. Corbyn is the leader of the Labour party, so while he should not be held solely responsible for Labour’s downturn, he must now take responsibility for turning things around.

That means working with the best talents from across the party to rebuild Labour in our communities and in Parliament. That means striving for real unity – not just the absence of open dissent. That means less debate about rule changes and more action on real changes in our economy and our society.

Our public servants and public services need an end to spending cuts, a change that can only be delivered by a Labour government. 

For too many in the Labour party the aim is to win the debate and seize the perceived moral high ground – none of which appears to be winning the party public support. 

But elections aren’t won by telling people they’re ignorant, muddle-headed or naive. Those at the sharp end – in particular the millions of public service employees losing their jobs or facing repeated real-terms pay cuts – cannot afford for the party to be so aloof.

Because if you’re a homecare worker earning less than the minimum wage with no respite in sight, you need an end to austerity and a Labour government.

If you’re a nurse working in a hospital that’s constantly trying to do more with less, you need an end to austerity and a Labour government.

And if you’re a teaching assistant, social worker or local government administrator you desperately need an end to austerity, and an end to this divisive government.

That can only happen through a Labour party that’s winning elections. That has always been the position of the union movement, and the Labour party as its parliamentary wing. 

While there are many ways in which we can change society and our communities for the better, the only way to make lasting change is to win elections, and seize power for working people.

That is, and must always be, the Labour party’s cause. Let Copeland be our final warning, not the latest signpost on the road to decline.

Dave Prentis is Unison's general secretary.