MEMBERS of the public across East Lothian and the UK will be using the first past the post (FPTP) system when they go to the polls on Thursday, December 12, to vote in the General Election.

Unlike the single transferable vote system used in the East Lothian Council elections, FPTP is a straight race to the line, with voters only allowed to vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes winning.

Voters mark an 'x' on their ballot paper next to the candidate they wish to vote for - they must not mark any of the other candidates' boxes or their ballot paper will be spoilt.

Once all the votes across the constituency have been tallied, the candidate with the most votes is elected.

Voting takes place between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, December 12, with the East Lothian result expected to be declared some time early in the morning, potentially any time between about 2am and about 4am, although this is liable to change depending on how close the result is.

The final UK-wide result is not expected to be known until well into the Friday morning.

The General Election is to elect the UK Government at Westminster, with all 650 seats across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland up for grabs.

To win a majority, a party would need at least 326 seats.

Traditionally, a General Election is held only once every five years, but this will be the third General Election since May 2015, coming only two and a half years after the last one in June 2017.

The last election resulted in a hung parliament, with the Conservatives losing their majority and finishing with 317 seats, while Labour came second with 262 seats.

In Scotland, the SNP won 35 of the 59 seats, more than half, although that did represent a loss of 21 seats from their historic 2015 result. However, it was still enough to see them finish as the third largest party across the UK, well ahead of the fourth-placed Liberal Democrats, who won 12 seats UK-wide.

The Conservatives increased their number of seats in Scotland from one to 13 to finish second, while Labour and the Liberal Democrats, both of whom also had won only one seat in Scotland in 2015, also made gains, winning seven and four seats respectively.

East Lothian, which had been one of a swathe of Labour seats to fall to the SNP in 2015, was one of Labour's gains last time around in 2017, Martin Whitfield overturning sitting MP George Kerevan's majority of nearly 7,000 to regain the seat for Labour with a majority of 3,083.

The Conservatives' Sheila Low was a close third, a little over 500 votes behind the SNP.

Unlike in the council elections and the Scottish Parliament elections, 16 and 17-year-olds cannot vote in the General Election - voters must be 18 or over.