PEOPLE formed huge queues yesterday as they braved the wintry weather to cast their votes in the General Election.

Many of them were heading to the ballot box for the third time since 2015.

With stark differences between the major parties and the country polarised by Brexit, the stakes in this election were high.

Voters in Brighton turned out in force.

One woman who had been waiting over half an hour in a queue said it was busiest she had seen it in 20 years of voting.

The Greens’ Caroline Lucas was among the first candidates in Brighton to vote.

At her polling station in Florence Road, Brighton, volunteers were concerned about a low turnout.

Voters faced heavy rain before the polls closed at 10pm.

Ms Lucas was in good spirits. As she left, she said: “I’m not complacent but I’m very hopeful.”

This is the first election in nearly 100 years to be held in December.

Pundits thought the winter date would reduce the number of people heading to the polls but voters in Brighton were undeterred by the bad weather and turned out in their droves.

The Argus spoke with several buffeted by the high winds and heavy rain in St James’s Street in the Kemptown constituency.

Lisa Kerridge, from Hollingbury, said: “The rain won’t put me off. We’ve got bigger things to think about, without a shadow of a doubt.

“Anyone who hasn’t voted just won’t have their say – and they can’t moan afterwards.”

An elderly couple outside Morrisons said they had already voted for the Conservative Party.

They did not wish to be named, but said: “We’ve both voted and we’re not put off by the weather. Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t come over very well. We won’t be voting for him.

“The parties have made so many promises.

“It will be interesting to see how many of them they manage to keep.”

Voter Rachel Stower said she was prepared to switch her normal allegiances in this election.

She said: “I usually vote Lib Dem but I’ll be doing anything I can to get rid of the Tories. These are desperate times and I just want to get rid of Boris.”

Others said they were planning to vote later.

Esema Dickson, 33, was pressed for time.

He said: “I haven’t voted yet. I had to go to work and now it’s cold and I’m going home. But there’s a polling station near my house and I’ll try to vote later.”

A homeless man known as Mr Dogg, who has been rough sleeping in Brighton for several years, was also planning to vote later. He said: “The weather wouldn’t put me off. I’ve seen much worse.

“I’ve slept in minus seven: that’s when it gets cold. I just hope my polling card is at the shelter.”

He said the most important issue for him was Brexit.

He said: “I’ve been a bit lackadaisical in the past.

“But the most important thing for me is staying in Europe. I’m Irish. If we leave the EU my country might go back to war.

“I remember getting on a bus when they started the peace process and there were troops with machine guns. I don’t want to see that again.”

Online, Twitter users were shocked by what they believed to be an extremely high turnout in Brighton.

One said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s record turnout everywhere this election.”

Another said: “I’ve never seen a queue at my polling station but there was this morning.”

Yet another Twitter user said: “I’ve just seen an old lady who can barely walk cast her vote at an extremely busy Hove Rugby Club polling station.”

One commenter on Twitter said: “The polling station at Hove Town Hall was busier than I’ve ever seen it.”

Over the course of the

campaign most polls had the Conservatives ahead by at least six per cent.

Labour have remained in a clear second place, well ahead of the Liberal Democrats in third.

The Brexit Party started their election campaign polling at roughly ten per cent of the vote share, but that figure slumped after the party’s decision not to contest Conservative-held seats.

A major YouGov poll on Tuesday predicted a 28-seat Tory majority – the largest since 1987.

But pollsters said the situation was so volatile that Britain could face another hung parliament.