Leeds council chiefs secure First Direct Arena for General Election count - the night after a Rod Stewart gig

Council chiefs in Yorkshire's biggest city have secured their preferred venue to hold the election count on December 12 - but say "not all local authorities have been as lucky".

The election count for eight constituencies in and around the city will be held by Leeds City Council at the First Direct Arena.

If MPs had voted to have the election on December 11, as had seemed possible earlier this week, officials would have been forced to find another venue as the arena is hosting a concert by Rod Stewart.

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An election count is held at the First Direct Arena. Pics: Steve Riding

But the council has been less lucky with some of its proposed polling venues, which are already booked for Christmas activities.

Leeds City Council’s Returning Officer Tom Riordan said: “We’ve been able to secure our preferred venue for counting, the first direct arena, but are aware that not all local authorities have been as lucky.

"It’s always going to be a big logistical feat organising a large election covering eight constituencies and this time of year provides extra challenge in that some small venues we’d normally use for polling are already booked for Christmas activities.

"I know that discussions with the Cabinet Office and Electoral Commission are ongoing and I hope that the additional costs of a winter election are reflected in the budgets that are agreed.

“We have a lot of experience in running elections on this scale, including a number of regional counts. Our officers are working to secure replacements and venues will be found, but electors may find themselves voting in different, and more unusual locations than usual.”

The decision to hold General Election on December 12 makes it the first December election since 1923. A pre-Christmas poll means voter turnout is likely to be depressed on the dark December nights.