161 councils up for election today
Local elections will be held today in the United Kingdom covering all 32 London boroughs, all 36 metropolitan boroughs, 74 second-tier district authorities, 20 unitary authorities and a number of mayoral posts around the country.
There are 4,216 seats being contested and currently the Labour Party controls 78 councils, the Conservatives have 54 and the Liberals eight with 21 councils under ‘no overall control’.
In seats, Labour have 1,788 seats, the Conservatives hold 1,574 and the Liberal Democrats have 732 seats. There are 122 seats held by others.
A year before a general election the national opposition Labour Party needs to be making substantial gains if it has any chance of winning next year. If they take fewer than 200 extra seats then they could be in trouble and their leader Ed Miliband might be challenged.
The Conservatives will be pleased if they lose fewer than 200 seats and the Liberals, with a dramatic drop in the opinion polls might equally be pleased if they lose less than 200 seats.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has been storming ahead in the opinion polls for the European elections but it remains to be seen if they can make a breakthrough in local elections. They would be pleased to pick up 100 additional councillors and may possibly make a breakthrough in London. So far UKIP has struggled to make headway in urban areas where most of the councils up for election today are situated. UKIP is standing 2,150 candidates in their biggest effort to date.
The local election results today along with the European elections will define the strategies for the political parties as they go into the final twelve months of the national parliament.
Polling stations are open between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time.