PERHAPS part of the reason that the North-East has felt so neglected by politicians for so long is that votes didn’t really count here.

To the north of the River Tees, they just weighed the Labour vote, while to the south, in North Yorkshire, the Conservative vote was even heavier.

But, to the north of the river at least, everything has changed in the last four years. Brexit has finally killed off the voting certainties of previous generations, and today we will begin to learn whether new habits are taking root.

With political parties desperate now to win votes up here, it feels like the region has been rediscovered by Westminster this year, with visits, policies and mentions spilling out all of the time.

For voters, this is good – at last every vote is worth its own weight. There are no foregone conclusions, not even in Durham. Every vote will influence the outcome, either in advancing the wave of change or in staying its progress.

On previous local election days, when results seemed in the bag, there was an understandable temptation to stay at home. Today is different, and we urge everyone to make their voices heard. To paraphrase a well known saying, every vote now matters.