Britons braved wintery temperatures to vote in their General Election on Thursday (February 28), with last minute opinion polls predicting a slender Conservative victory.
GV Big Ben from Westminster Bridge
GV Public go into polling booths (2)
CU Woman hands ballot paper to voter
SV People voting in booths (3)
SV Heath leaves No. 10, into car
GV Heath's car departs No. 10
GV Sign "Polling Station"
SV Heath greeted by officials
GV Press surround Heath .. Heath enters polling starion
SV Wilson with Mrs. Wilson surrounded by press
SV Mr. & Mrs. Thorpe
GV Thorpe surrounded by press
GV & SV Thorpe enters polling station (2)
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Background: Britons braved wintery temperatures to vote in their General Election on Thursday (February 28), with last minute opinion polls predicting a slender Conservative victory.
Early reports indicated a heavy turn-out of the country's forty million voters after a three-week campaign fought in the midst of a major economic crisis and over almost exclusively economic issues.
For the first time in forty years the minority Liberal Party showed a strong come-back with a steady opinion poll rating of around twenty per cent.
The three party leaders -- Mr. Edward Heath, Conservative. Mr. Harold Wilson, Labour, and Mr. Jeremy Thorpe, Liberal -- all voted early at their respective polling stations then left for tours of the seats they were contesting.
Both Mr. Wilson and Mr. Heath have safe seats but Mr. Thorpe's seat of North Devon is marginal.
SYNOPSIS: Wintery weather failed to deter Britain's forty million voters turning out in heavy numbers for the General Election on Thursday. With last-minute opinion polls predicting a slender Conservative victory the large turn-out was expected to aid Labour, the traditional beneficiaries of a heavy vote.
The election, called after a national miners strike, was held after just a three weeks campaign -- the shortest in Britain since the Second World War.
One of the earliest voters was the Prime Minister, Mr. Edward Heath. He voted in the City of London and Westminster constituency after driving from Number ton Downing Street.
The polls had all given Mr. Heath leads varying from just one per cent up to a landslide five per cent following a strong Conservative campaign based on a plank of "who runs the country". Mr. Heath asked voters to give his party a stronger mandate to solve the country's pressing economic problems.
Mr. Harold Wilson, Britain's Prime Minister from 1964 until 1970, was also an early voter in the City of London and Westminster. With his wife he had to bustle his way through pressmen and enthusiastic supporters.
It was a hard day for the Liberal's Jeremy Thorpe and his wife, Lady Harewood. After voting they drove through the large Devon North constituency to meet party workers. On the latest polling prediction Mr. Thorpe's party could possibly hold the balance of power in Parliament.