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Polling stations open for historic referendum between 7am and 10pm

After months of heated debate and impassioned pleas to voters, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decide Britain’s future relationship with the EU is finally upon us.

From 7am today (Thursday) until 10pm, 131 polling stations across West Berkshire will be open to allow residents to vote on whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union or leave. Results for the historic EU referendum are expected to be called throughout the night with all results tallied before 7am tomorrow (Friday).

In West Berkshire, the team of 125 counters hope to declare a “remain” or “leave” verdict by around 3.30am after counting up the answers from some 116,653 registered voters.

The very latest polls yesterday (Wednesday) put the outcome on a knife edge, with remain edging forward only very slightly, and YouGov research suggests that West Berkshire, too, is split down the middle.

Ahead of the historic vote, we asked prominent remain and leave supporters Newbury MP Richard Benyon and Wokingham MP John Redwood respectively to give us their final pitches.

Richard Benyon said: “The very clear message I have received from businesses large and small across West Berkshire is that we need to remain part of the world’s biggest single market.

“This vote is also about what kind of Britain we want now and in the future: I want to live in a Britain that continues to be outward-looking, tolerant and inclusive.

“In an uncertain and competitive world, Britain is safer, stronger and better off in a reformed EU.”

John Redwood said: “Vote Leave to restore our democracy.

“Out of the EU we will be better off, freer, and have more influence in the world.

“We will be leaving the EU, not Europe.

“We will still trade with them and do many things together, as we do with the USA without sharing governments.

“Vote leave to take back control. It means we can take back control of our money, and spend it at home on our priorities.”

Meanwhile, Newbury’s war memorial has been defaced by political placards as voters take to the polls in today’s [Thursday] EU referendum [pictured below].

The cenotaph outside St Nicolas Church at West Mills was erected to honour those who fought and died in World War I more than a century ago.

As voters decide Britain’s future relationship with the EU local residents found the boards placed at the monument.

Disgusted Liberal Democrat Tony Vickers contacted the Newbury Weekly News to say: “Clearly this is an election offence and this is clearly something that shouldn’t be happening today.”

Mr Vickers added that the owner of the land was being sought to try and get the notices removed.

Local resident Sarah Lowes took to Twitter to say: “Appalled to see someone has left these posters on Newbury War Memorial.”

West Berkshire Council spokesperson Martin Dunscombe later said that the council was aware of the issue and was in the process of removing the boards.

Keep an eye on our rolling coverage throughout the day and night for all the latest developments and updates.

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