DRAMATIC late-night General Election counts could be a thing of the past in some parts of East Lancashire.

Town halls are considering switching the counts from Thursday night to Friday morning because of new postal voting rules and high staff costs.

But the change has proved controversial, with opponents claiming it would spoil the excitement of the General Election, which has to be held by June 10.

In East Lancashire, town halls have not yet made a final decision but at least one is planning to go for a morning count.

A Pendle Council spokesman said: “There has not been a definite decision made yet, but I think we are looking at a Friday count.”

In Blackburn, where Jack Straw will be defending his seat, bosses say they have not yet decided whether to switch the count.

Spokesmen for Rossendale and Burnley councils also said the matter was still being debated.

But the late-night drama looks set to be repeated in Hyndburn, where Labour will be looking to hold on to the seat vacated by outgoing MP Greg Pope, and Ribble Valley, the constituency of Tory Nigel Evans. Both councils said they were likely to maintain the Thursday night count.

The Conservatives have written to Blackburn MP and Justice Secretary Jack Straw, urging him to issue guidance to election officers to preserve evening counts.

Party chairman Eric Pickles said all counts should be held at the same time.

And a Facebook group, called Save General Election Night, has already attracted more than 2,000 members.