WITH the UK heading back to the polls on December 12, we have taken a look at what has happened in recent votes in Reading.

There are two parliamentary constituencies which are in or cross over into Reading: Reading East and Reading West.

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Between them, they elected one Conservative and one Labour MP in the last general election, held in June 2017.

Labour took the largest share of the vote – 46.3 per cent in total, ahead of the Conservatives with 45.5 per cent and the Lib Dems with 6.0 per cent.

This contrasted with the picture in the European Parliament elections this May, the most recent occasion on which the country went to the polls, when the Lib Dems took 28.2 per cent of the vote in Reading's local authority area, the largest share.

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The Brexit Party finished second, with 22.3 per cent, and the Greens third with 17.3 per cent.

The South East – the EU constituency in which Reading lies – returned four Brexit Party MEPs, three Liberal Democrats, one Labour, one Green and one Conservative to Brussels in May.

Turnout was, however, much lower in those elections – while 71.3 per cent of the electorate came out to vote across the two constituencies in 2017, just 38.7 per cent did in the local authority for the European Parliament elections this year.

Both those turnouts, however, were beaten by that for the referendum on the topic which will dominate December’s general election: Brexit.

Many commentators think that a decision between leaving and remaining in the European Union will form the basis for many voters’ choices in polling booths this year, rather than traditional party lines.

The major parties have each made significantly different pledges for the UK's departure.

While the Conservatives have said they will push through a departure on the terms of the deal Prime Minister Boris Johnson has negotiated, the Labour Party has said it will agree a closer alignment with the EU and hold a second referendum on its deal against the option to remain.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to immediately revoke Article 50, keeping the UK in the EU, while the Brexit Party will pursue a "no-deal" departure.

The Brexit referendum in 2016 brought more voters to the polls across the UK than any referendum or general election in 24 years. In Reading, 72.5 per cent of the electorate voted, with a majority in favour of remaining in the EU, with 58.0 per cent of the vote.

The EU Referendum result in Reading in June 2016

Remain: 43,385 (58.0 per cent)

Leave: 31,382 (42.0 per cent)

The vote share for the top three parties in each constituency in June 2017

Reading East

Labour: 27,093 votes (49.0 per cent)

Conservative: 23,344 (42.3 per cent)

Liberal Democrats: 3,378 (6.1 per cent)

Reading West

Conservative: 25,311 (48.9 per cent)

Labour: 22,435 (43.3 per cent)

Liberal Democrats: 3,041 (5.9 per cent)

Top three parties in Reading for the European Parliament in May

The Lib Dems: 28.2 per cent

The Brexit Party: 22.3 per cent

The Greens: 17.3 per cent