POLLING booths opened across the conurbation this morning with voters heading to ballot boxes in what has been billed as the most important General Election in a generation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who gambled his premiership by triggering the vote, has sought to focus on his pledge to "get Brexit done" throughout the campaign.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, his rival in the race to Number 10, has instead tried to highlight his party's credentials on the health service and other domestic issues.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson said the polls showed it was still "absolutely possible" to deny the Tories an overall majority through tactical voting.

Across the BCP Council area hundreds of volunteers are manning polling stations.

The count, where it will be announced who will be representing Dorset residents in the coming parliament, is scheduled to take place at the Bournemouth International Centre after polling booths close at 10pm.

This morning the Echo visited polling stations across the conurbation.

Resident Nigel Gould, voting in Bournemouth, said: "This is the first time I've voted in more than 30 years. I spoilt my first vote at the age of 18, being a young anarchist. Now I'm an old anarchist and I realise how important my vote is.

"I'm voting for the people who will keep us in Europe.

"My Irish mother always said this – the Conservative voter will walk through fiery hailstones to vote, whereas the Labour man, if it looks like it might rain, won't go out.

"So this weather is great for the Conservatives."

Another Bournemouth resident, casting her vote at Boscombe Baptist Church, Palmerston Road, said: "I hope the turnout will not be affected by the weather and the fact it will get dark early due to this time of year.

"That is why I came out this morning.

"Hopefully, whoever is in charge will be able to break this Brexit stalemate."

Meanwhile, Jane Langford, from Parkstone, told the Echo who she voted for was between her and the ballot box. But she stressed the importance of coming out and having a say. She said: "I think it is our duty to come out and vote whatever the conditions.

"Let's face it no-one has to go far, it is all local."

And Poole resident Vivienne Lee said: "People died to give us this opportunity to vote.

"I have always voted."

Another Poole voter, who asked not to be named, said: "No matter what is being said to the contrary, this is obviously the Brexit general election and will forever be remembered as.

"Whatever the outcome is, I hope we don't have a hung parliament and more years of dithering and inaction on this issue.

"The country needs to move forward regardless."

A poll by The Daily Telegraph and Savanta ComRes, published on Wednesday night, placed the Tories five points ahead of Mr Corbyn's party - indicating the potential for a Conservative majority or a hung parliament.

But a separate poll by Kantar put the Tories on 44per cent, Labour on 32per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 13per cent.