UK local elections

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UK local elections
UK local elections

The vital election battlegrounds

There’s a lot going on tonight, but helpfully this helpful graphic should help you pinpoint what to keep an eye out for and where the key races may be.

Pictured: Counting underway in Blackpool South by-election

The ballots are already being counted in the Blackpool South by-election, where candidates are vying to replace Tory MP Scott Benton who resigned earlier this year.

The constituency had been a safe Labour seat before Benton’s election in 2019, where the Conservatives received 49.6% of the vote and won with a majority of 3,690.

However, the omens aren’t looking good for another Tory victory tonight, with forecasts suggesting it will swing back to Labour.

An election official empties a ballot box to count the votes, during the Blackpool South Parliamentary by-election, in Blackpool, Britain, May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Ballots are sorted at the count centre in Blackpool, north-west England on May 2, 2024, during the Blackpool South by-election. In line with other by-elections in recent years, Labour is expected to seize the Blackpool South parliamentary seat from the Tories after their MP resigned over a lobbying scandal. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Ballots are sorted at the count centre in Blackpool, north-west England on May 2, 2024, during the Blackpool South by-election. In line with other by-elections in recent years, Labour is expected to seize the Blackpool South parliamentary seat from the Tories after their MP resigned over a lobbying scandal. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A ballot box is delivered to the count centre in Blackpool, north-west England on May 2, 2024, during the Blackpool South by-election. In line with other by-elections in recent years, Labour is expected to seize the Blackpool South parliamentary seat from the Tories after their MP resigned over a lobbying scandal. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

‘Message was loud and clear’, say Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats, who are always competitve during the local elections, seem to be in a good mood before the results come in.

The party’s leader Sir Ed Davey said:

The message across the country today was loud and clear. Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government.

People are sick of the Conservative party’s endless infighting, unaffordable mortgages, an NHS in freefall and filthy sewage being pumped into their rivers and seas.

They want change and they want to see the end of Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party in office. That is why, up and down the country, so many lifelong Conservative voters backed the Liberal Democrats today, because they know Liberal Democrat councillors will never take them for granted and fight for the issues they care about.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey speaking to media at the polling station at Surbiton Hill Methodist Church, south west London, after casting his vote in the local elections. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Elections. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

What did the polls say before today?

Labour appeared confident about their chances before the polls closed, and given the voting forecasts, not many would argue their bullishness is misplaced.

Labour have held a lead in the polls over the Conservatives for more than two years as people turn sour on the Tory-led government.

One recent poll suggested Labour could gain 44% of the vote at the next General Election, with the Tories wallowing on 18%, squeezed by Reform UK polling at 15%.

While local elections are a different beast to national votes – turnout tends to be lower and people tend to vote on local issues – the Conservatives are hopeful of losing as few seats as possible, as opposed to winning more.

Labour feeling confident as polls close

Labour are in a confident mood after the closure of the polls, and say they are expecting to win seats in key battlegrounds.

Pat McFadden (pictured below outside Westminster this morning), Labour’s National Campaign Coordinator, said:

‘We are proud of the positive campaign we have run, focused on turning the page after fourteen years of decline under the Conservative Party.

These elections have been about offering change. We have set out our plan to get Britain building again, take back our streets, and bring opportunity to every corner of the country, while the Conservatives have once again stayed silent on the issues that matter.

The most important election of the night is the historic by-election in Blackpool, caused by yet more Tory chaos and scandal. It’s the only election today where voters have had the opportunity to directly reject Rishi Sunak’s party in Westminster.

It’s going to be a long night and the full picture of results from local elections may not be clear until over the weekend, but we expect to see Labour gains that show we’re making progress in the places we need to win the next general election.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (14414744af) Labour Campaign Coordinator PAT MCFADDEN is seen inWestminster during morning media round. Pat McFadden appears on breakfast shows., London, England, United Kingdom - 02 Apr 2024

Polls have closed

Polls have now closed in today’s local elections.

If you were able to get in line before the clock hit 10pm, then stay as you will be able to vote.

The first results are expected to come in by 12.30am.

Sadiq Khan got in on the dogs at polling stations action when he and his wife Saadiya brought their dog along with them to vote this morning.

His Tory rival Susan Hall also went out to vote this morning at her local polling station in Hatch End, as polls give the incumbant a significant lead over his Conservative challenger.

Forget dogs at polling stations, now it’s time for… donkeys?

We’ve all heard of dogs at polling stations, but donkeys?

People heading to vote in the village of Godshill in the New Forest this morning were greeted by an ass stood outside their polling station.

It’s unclear whether his owner was inside or the donkey was trying to cast its vote in the district election.

What are the other mayoral elections taking place?

While the race to become Mayor of London unsurprisingly takes the most attention, there are 10 other mayoral races taking place in England today.

Most of these are to elect combined authority mayors, also known as metro mayors – politicians who will chair combined authorities made up of multiple council areas.

The following regions are holding these polls today:

  • East Midlands
  • Greater Manchester
  • Liverpool City Region
  • North East
  • South Yorkshire
  • Tees Valley
  • West Midlands
  • West Yorkshire
  • York and North Yorkshire

There is also one mayoral election in the city of Salford.

Triumph in the face of adversity

While many voters will cast their ballot in their local village hall or school, some people in Cambridge had a slightly different experience.

Due to issues accessing the Milton Road Library in the morning, people who turned up to vote were told they had to do so from the back of a volunteer’s car.

Who is running to become Mayor of London?

Among the biggest votes taking place today is the London mayoral election.

Labour mayor Sadiq Khan headed to the polls today looking for a third four-year term in charge of Britain’s most populous city.

He is facing competition from a host of candidates, including Conservative Susan Hall, Reform UK’s Howard Cox, the Green Party’s Zoe Garbett and Liberal Democrat Rob Blackie.

The full list of London mayoral candidates is as follows:

  • Sadiq Khan – Labour Party
  • Susan Hall – Conservative Party
  • Zoe Garbett – Green Party
  • Howard Cox – Reform UK
  • Rob Blackie – Liberal Democrat
  • Femy Amin – Animal Welfare
  • Count Binface – Count Binface
  • Natalie Campbell – Independent
  • Amy Gallagher – Social Democratic Party
  • Tarun Ghulati – Independent
  • Andreas Michli – Independent
  • Brian Rose – London Real
  • Nick Scanlon – Britain First

It wouldn’t be election day without… dogs at polling stations!

One of the most comforting sights on election day is the dogs of Britain sitting outside the polling station while their owners head inside to cast their vote.

epa11314141 Enzo the dog waits at a polling station in London, Britain 02 May 2024. Voters in England will be able to elect councillors and mayors in local elections. This is expected to be the final time ahead of the UK wide general election later in the year.  EPA/NEIL HALL
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ryan Browne/Shutterstock (14457792be) A dog at Ecclesfield Red Rose polling station in Sheffield Local Elections, Sheffield, UK - 02 May 2024
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 02: A man holds a dog on a lead as members of the public arrive to vote at a polling station at St. Paul's church in the Jewellery Quarter on May 02, 2024 in Birmingham, England. Polls have opened across 107 authorities in England where voters are set to determine the fate of nearly 2,700 council seats. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

When can we expect the first results?

With polls closing at 10pm, you might be forgiven for thinking it could take a while for the results to come through.

And while it may take some time for the larger votes to be confirmed, the first council results could come just after midnight.

There will be a steady trickle of results through the night, with councils in Hartlepool, Sunderland, Bolton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Portsmouith, Southen-on-Sea and Exeter all expected to delcare before 3am.

The result in the Blackpool South by-election should be announced by 4.30am.

However, larger votes such as mayoral and PCC elections will take longer than this, with Londoners having to wait until Saturday for their mayoral election result to be confirmed.

Pictured: People head out to vote

One of the most interesting things about voting day is the variety of where Britain’s polling stations are actually located.

Whether it be a local cafe (top), a Salvation Army office (second top) or a village hall (bottom), it seems there’s almost no barrier when it comes to finding somewhere to vote.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ryan Browne/Shutterstock (14457792bu) A voter arrives at The Bank View Cafe polling station in Langsett, Sheffield. Local Elections, Sheffield, UK - 02 May 2024
A person walks outside a polling station at the Salvation Army building during local elections in Blackpool, Britain, May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maureen McLean/Shutterstock (14459632t) Voters were at the Polling Station at Datchet Hall in Datchet, Berkshire today casting their votes for the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Local Elections, Police and Crime Commissioner Voting, Datchet, Berkshire, UK - 02 May 2024
A sign hangs from the window of a polling station, during local elections, in Great Budworth, Britain, May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Molly Darlington

What time do the polls close?

Polling stations across England and Wales opened at 7am this morning, giving the volunteers who run them from your local church, school or social club an early start.

Despite that, more than 12 hours later they are still open and if you haven’t voted yet you still have the opportunity to get out and do so.

Polling stations don’t close until 10pm and as long as you in line by the time the clock strikes the hour you’ll be able to cast your vote.

What’s on the line in the local elections?

It’s a big day for people with an interest in how their local area is run. This is what’s on the line:

  • In England more than 2,600 council seats are up for grabs across 107 local authorities
  • Nearly a dozen mayoral elections are taking place, including for the London mayoralty and a number of new combined authority mayors in England
  • In the capital 25 London Assembly seats are up for grabs
  • Voters in England and Wales will elect 37 police and crime commissioners (PCC)
  • And there’s a by-election in the constituency of Blackpool South to elect a new MP

Good evening

Good evening and welcome to MailOnline’s live coverage of the UK local elections.

Millions of people have gone to their local polling stations today to make their vote count in council, mayoral and PCC elections.

There’s even a by-election taking place on what could be a chastening night for the Conservative Party, with predictions they could be in line for big losses across the country.

It will be a night full of intrigue and here at MailOnline we’ll do our best to keep you abreast of all the developments as they happen.

Key Updates
  • Polls have closed

  • When can we expect the first results?

  • What’s on the line in the local elections?

 

 





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