General election: When is the vote and which candidates are running?

As the general election approaches all the political parties are vying to break the ongoing deadlock in Westminster.

Campaigning officially began after parliament was dissolved on 6 November, with the major parties battling to hold the balance of power and decide the future of Brexit.

Here are the key facts you need to know about the upcoming vote.

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When is the general election?

The election will take place on Thursday, 12 December, making it the first winter poll since 1923.

MPs backed the pre-Christmas election by 438 votes to 20, having rejected it three times previously, after Boris Johnson agreed to ask the European Union (EU) for a fresh Brexit delay.

It will be the fourth major nationwide vote in four-and-a-half years, following the 2015 and 2017 general elections and the 2016 EU referendum.

General elections are meant to take place every five years but, under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, snap polls can be triggered with the backing of three-quarters of MPs.

What time do polling stations open and close?

Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm.

The address for your local polling station will be printed on your polling card alongside a small map.

Alternatively, you can find the address by entering your postcode on the Electoral Commission website.

If you will be unable to vote in person, you can apply for a postal vote or a proxy vote.

Boris Johnson called the snap election in a bid to solve the Brexit crisis (EPA)

Which candidates are standing in my area?

A full list of candidates running in your area is available on the website of your local authority.

The Conservatives will contest seats in 635 of the 650 constituencies across the UK, while Labour are standing in 631 constituencies.

Smaller parties will stand in areas where they believe they have the most realistic chances of winning or making gains.

In line with tradition, most parties will not put forward candidates to challenge the House of Commons speaker – Lindsay Hoyle, whose constituency is Chorley.

Can I vote for a new prime minister?

Because the UK is a parliamentary democracy, you cannot vote directly for the prime minister, you can only select a new MP for your area.

Boris Johnson will contest his seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip like any other candidate, as will Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Islington North.

The leader of the party with the most MPs will then be invited to form a government by the Queen.

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