IT’S almost all over...

The candidates have done all they can to convince electors to cast their votes their way in what’s shaping up to be an historic day in Thurrock politics.

Our chief reporter Neil Hawkins went out on the campaign trail with the three main candidates to gauge feelings on the street.

What he encountered was passion, laughs, a few sternwords...and even the unpleasant sight of a bloke’s bare backside!

Will star backing help get Polly in the hot seat?

SOME might have taken breaking a foot while out campaigning as a bad omen, but Labour’s Polly Billington has hardly let the mishap slow her down.

Comedian Eddie Izzard and badger-loving Queen guitarist Brian May both visited Thurrock to give her their backing, but has the rest of her campaign enjoyed the same star appeal?

Voters in Grays may have been impressed with her Stand Up for Grays campaign, and she has clearly been working hard to raise her profile in the town.

On the doorstep, she invariably opens with the line: “Hi! I’m Polly and I want to be your MP.”

It’s an engaging statement which did appear to go down well, most of the time.

Polly and her team will be hoping they’ve done enough to bring back the area’s many traditional Labour voters after a lot of them went for the Tories in 2010, ending Labour’s long hold on the seat.

Many of those who opened their doors to Polly when I joined her in Grays said they were lifelong Labour voters and nothing, and no one, was ever going to change that.

But others said they still felt badly let down by the Blair years, and were going blue, or even purple.

If Ed Miliband is to be Prime Minister, you feel his party – and Polly – have to win back seats, like this one.

Seats the party once considered as sure-fire certainties.

The purple campaign...

UKIP has built upon its success at last year’s local elections, mounting a highly-visible campaign.

There’s quite a few streets within the constituency where you can catch candidate Tim Aker’s grin on a billboard .

I joined Tim and his team on a walk through the St Chad’s area of Tilbury just days after two national polls put him in the lead in Thurrock.

Even before the polls, confidence was growing in the party amid the belief Thurrock was its big chance.

What I saw was residents approaching the candidate, him knowing their names, and them telling him why he was getting their vote.

He waved at passing residents and binmen – all the while stressing how he wants to see change in Thurrock.

A meeting with Nigel Farage at the Circus Tavern drew a crowd of more than 1,000 Kippers recently, and the same week, the party launched its manifesto in Aveley.

The launch was a huge vote of confidence in Tim from the party, and they hope it may prove to be a pivotal moment in the tightly-fought election race in Thurrock.

Ukip clearly means business this time case you hadn’t already noticed.

While the future of leader Nigel Farage and his chances in South Thanet today are up in the air, here in Thurrock Tim and his ultra-confident team believe they have what it takes to turn the borough purple and yellow.

Jackie after return ticket

I CLIMBED aboard the Jackie Doyle-Price battle-bus – you must’ve seen or at least heard it – for a drive from Purfleet to Chadwell St Mary and back.

For all the many beeps of the horn or cheery, supportive waves, there are always some who go a little too the ‘gent’ in Tilbury, who bared his bum at the bus. Charming!

One has to presume it was a gesture of a man who may not be backing Jackie this time around..?

Anyhow, Jackie won in 2010 by just 92 votes, and she knew from Day One she wasn’t going to please all the people all the time. Far from it.

She also knows not many Tories win consecutively in traditionally- Labour strongholds.

But she is a fighter who is undeterred and clearly has relished this campaign. Jackie’s admitted that standing as an incumbent was always going to be bigger challenge.

A win today would be seen as a far bigger achievement for her than getting elected in the first place – and victory could well ease the way for David Cameron’s return to Downing Street. She’s not been short of heavyweight Tory support either.

The PM himself, Chancellor George Osborne and former Foreign Secretary William Hague have all been to Thurrock in recent weeks.

She is confident their presence will help do the trick and get her over the line once again – and she doesn’t care if it’s by one or 1,001 votes.

Also standing in Thurrock

Jamie Barnes – Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol

Rhodri Jamieson-Ball – Lib Dem

Aba Kristilolu – All People’s Party

Daniel Munyambu – Independent

Watch the results come in live on the Gazette website from 10pm on Thursday.