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UK voter registration website crashes ahead of historic Brexit ballot

Britain is about to decide whether it will abandon the EU, but technical problems have led politicians to call for an extension to voter registration.

Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

As Britain prepares to decide whether it will break away from Europe, technical problems with the website where people register to vote have caused controversy.

On 23 June, the British public will vote on whether the UK should leave the European Union -- an outcome nicknamed "Brexit". The deadline to be eligible to vote was midnight on Tuesday, but a last-minute rush to register saw the Electoral Commission website fail to display the registration form from around 10.15pm until after the deadline.

"It is vital that everyone who wants to participate in this historic referendum is able to," said the Electoral Commission in a statement. "The registration deadline is set out in legislation and we have said to the Government this morning they should consider options for introducing legislation as soon as possible that would extend the deadline. We would support such a change."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among the political figures calling for the deadline to be extended.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons today, Prime Minister David Cameron urged voters to continue to register.

The deadline saw the highest ever applications to register in one day, with more than 525,000 people applying -- more than the 480,00 who registered ahead of the last General Election.