File: Brussels is braced for new rounds of Brexit battles, aware that a bullish Prime Minister Boris Johnson is feeling reinvigorated after an electoral victory in December.
LONDON - Britain goes to the polls on Thursday to determine the immediate future of Brexit, in a vote described as the most important in a generation.
More than 4,000 polling venues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including a windmill, several pubs, a hair salon and a chip shop, open their doors at 7am for a day of voting until 10pm.
All eyes will be on the winter weather, with forecasts of near-freezing temperatures, rain and even snow that could affect turn-out in the first December election in nearly a century.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who took over from Theresa May in July after she was unable to get parliament to approve her EU divorce deal, is hoping to secure both a mandate and a majority.
Johnson's Conservatives need just nine more seats for a majority, which would allow him to push through his own Brexit deal with Brussels and take Britain out of the bloc by the end of January.
Johnson said Thursday was a chance to end more than three years of political deadlock and uncertainty.
"Just imagine how wonderful it will be to settle down to a turkey dinner this Christmas with Brexit decided," he said in a final message to voters.
Looking to stop Johnson is the main opposition Labour party.
Victory would make its 70-year-old leader Jeremy Corbyn the first Labour prime minister since Gordon Brown in 2010 and the oldest first-time premier since Viscount Palmerston in 1855.
Corbyn is proposing to renegotiate softer exit terms with Brussels within three months and put them to a new referendum, alongside an option to remain in the 27-member bloc, after a three-month campaign.
A franchise extension would enable millions of EU nationals in Britain to vote in the referendum.
Corbyn said Britain was at a crossroads and the election was "truly historic".
"Vote for hope. Vote for real change," he said.