Voting in today’s crucial ‘Super Thursday’ elections is entering its crucial final few hours before polls close at 10pm.
Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson were among those casting their ballots early on Thursday.
They have been followed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and his Tory rival Shaun Bailey.
Polls close at 10pm in what is Starmer’s first major test as Labour leader, with supporters eager to see progress is being made after the disastrous defeat in the 2019 General Election under his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.
Labour Party hope to make gains on councils, retain power in the Welsh Senedd and hold on to the stronghold of Hartlepool in a crunch parliamentary by-election.
There is a lot at stake in Scotland, where the SNP are battling to achieve a majority in the Scottish Parliament – something Nicola Sturgeon believes will push Boris Johnson into agreeing to a second independence referendum.
Meanwhile the Tories are hoping to hold on to metro mayoralties in the West Midlands and Teesside, and make further inroads in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ areas in the Midlands and North.
Out on the campaign trail, Starmer said: "We've got to rebuild into the next general election – that is the task at hand."
For the latest on the local elections, follow our updates below
Millions of voters hit the polls across Britain for ‘Super Thursday’ elections
Millions of voters trekked to polling stations across Britain today in the first election of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year’s ballots were shelved for 12 months as the Covid-19 crisis tightened its grip on the UK – meaning the 2021 votes were the biggest for decades outside of a general election .
Voters donned face masks and took their own pencils as booths opened from 7am, with the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, London Assembly, and Hartlepool by-election up for grabs.
More than 5,000 council seats in England were also contested, along with 13 mayoralties and 39 police and crime commissioner positions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and fiancee Carrie Symonds shrugged off the rumbling sleaze row about the redecoration of their Downing Street flat to vote early at Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall – without their dog Dilyn.
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Huge queues outside polling stations across country
Voters have been greeted by huge queues outside polling stations today due to social distancing measures.
Dan Freedman tweeted: “Mad queues at the polling station in North Finchley – if this is replicated everywhere it will surely have an impact on turnout- how many people will see the queues and decide not to bother?”
Kevin, from Scotland, added: “I had to queue at the polling station and the ballot box was full, good turn out in Cathcart. It stretched from outside the building to the gate and onto the street.”
Mad queues at the polling station in North Finchley – if this is replicated everywhere it will surely have an impact on turnout- how many people will see the queues and decide not to bother? pic.twitter.com/qiyspGCq0x
— Dan Freedman (@NewsmanDan) May 6, 2021
Furry friends steal the spotlight on ‘Super Thursday’ election day
Voters flocked to the polls across the UK for the bumper “Super Thursday” elections – but their canine companions stole the show.
Adorable pictures of dogs – and even a peacock – at polling stations flooded social media as voting took place in the first set of polls since 2019.
Across the UK, people turned out to elect councillors, mayors and police and crime commissioners, as well as members of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments.
In London, mayoral candidates Sadiq Khan and Laurence Fox brought their pets along for company but Boris Johnson left his dog Dilyn at home.
Click here for some of the best pictures of dogs at polling stations today.
Election candidate’s quirky campaign video upstaged by rude graffiti
An election candidate has become a big hit online after his musical campaign went viral.
But he seemingly had no idea it had an accidental rude ending.
Taxi driver Altaf ‘Tiger’ Patel decided to go one step further than simply outlining his list of promises to get into office – and made his very own Bhangra music video.
It amassed over 100,000 views online after viewers labelled it 'weird' but also 'incredible'.
One thing they and unfortunate Mr Patel missed however was an inadvertently rude ending to the video.
Click here to read the full story.
Nicola Sturgeon brands former Britain First deputy leader ‘fascist and a racist’
Nicola Sturgeon has called the former deputy leader of Britain First a “fascist and a racist” in an election day clash today.
Ms Sturgeon slammed Jayda Fransen after she accused the First Minister of “flooding” the country with immigrants.
Ms Fransen is standing as an independent in Glasgow Southside – the same constituency contested by Ms Sturgeon.
She confronted the SNP leader outside what appeared to be a polling station, according to footage posted online.
Ms Sturgeon told her: “You are a fascist, you are a racist and the southside of Glasgow will reject you.”
Scotland’s First Minister then walks away with party members as Ms Fransen pursues her, talking about “mass immigration” and “Marxism”.
Polling stations made Covid compliant to protect voters from virus
Hand sanitiser, a one-way system and social distancing markers are just some of the measures taken to protect voters from coronavirus.
Tim Ridgway said he was ‘very impressed’ with the changes at his local polling station.
He tweeted: “Loads of hand sanitiser, stewards on the door and one way system with lots of social distancing markers. Bring your own pencil very much optional (but please do if it makes you feel safe….)”
What time do polling stations close today?
Polling stations have opened, and it's time to cast your vote in the local elections 2021.
Around 48 million people are eligible to vote today, Thursday May 6, in England, Scotland and Wales.
Polling stations opened at 7am this morning, but there is plenty of time left to vote.
The polling stations will close at 10pm, after which you won't be able to vote – but there is a small exception.
Click here to read the full story.
Khan says London turnout ‘low’
Sadiq Khan says turnout across the capital has reportedly been low today in a bid to shore up his support.
The Labour London Mayor is expected to be re-elected fairly comfortably, but is clearly not getting complacent and doesn’t want Labour supporters to think it’s a done deal.
He tweeted: “LONDON: reports show that voter turnout is low across our city.
“If you love London & what we stand for, please come out and vote for it.
“We had a Tory mayor just five years ago – if you don’t vote, they could win again.
“Already voted? Please RT and ask friends to £VoteLabour.”
Hari gets into the spirit as race for London Mayor heats up
More dogs at polling stations content.
This is Hari, pictured in Bexley, South London, today.
Owner Steven Reilly-Hii said: “We passed the polling station on the way to the park, I'd already done a postal vote, but thought I'd get into the spirit of things with a photo on twitter as we went by.
“Hari was more concerned with getting to the park, but he did take an interest in the nearby bin, and avoided a fox poo near to the polling station, so not sure if there's any clues as to his mayor of London vote within that.”
What results will we actually get overnight?
Very few. Only 18 or so councils are counting overnight, with most of them – along with the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments – only getting going on Friday or Saturday.
They include Derby which has swung from Labour to Tory-run no overall control (NOC) in recent years.
And Southend has been run by a Labour, Lib Dem and Green 'rainbow coalition' since the Tory leader was voted out in 2019.
But the biggest overnight result headline-wise will be the Hartlepool by-election. Polls have tipped the Tories to win the Westminster seat, which has been Labour since its creation in 1974.
Voters brave the weather to take part in the democratic process
The stakes are high on “Super Thursday” as voters in England, Scotland and Wales go to the polls.
It is the first time people have had the chance to vote en masse since the start of the pandemic, with the results set to provide an indication how Labour’s recovery is going under Keir Starmer.
And in Scotland the results of the Parliamentary election could determine whether there’s another move toward indepence, with Nicola Sturgeon expected to force the issue with Whitehall if her SNP does well.
What ‘war with France’ fishing dispute is about – and why it’s happened on election day
A tense stand off is taking place in waters around Jersey after two Royal Navy gunships were ordered to patrol a potential blockade by furious French fishermen.
Boris Johnson sent two offshore patrol vessels to monitor the situation at the Channel Island on Wednesday night as a dispute erupted over post-Brexit fishing rights.
On Thursday morning, dozens of French fishing boats gathered outside St Helier in protest at changes to fishing rules, prompting fears they might attempt to blockade the harbour.
The timing of the row is pretty extraordinary as voters head to the polls for the first elections since 2019.
Dubbed “Super Thursday”, elections are being held for councillors, mayors and police and crime commissioners, as well as parliamentary elections in Wales and Scotland.
The escalation in tensions over fishing in Jersey’s waters is a coincidence – and the Prime Minister is required to act in support of the Crown Dependency.
Nuns have their say as Scotland goes to the polls
It’s a big day north of the border, with a lot at stake in Scotland’s Parliamentary elections.
These pictures show a group of five sisters from Carmelite Monastery in Dysart cast their vote at Dysart Community Hall, West Port, Dysart.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to lock horns with Downing Street over independence if her SNP party is successful.
Tory MP tweets wrong flag from 400 years ago to celebrate election day
A Tory MP’s attempt to celebrate election day by waving a flag backfired when she used a 400-year-old version that doesn’t include Northern Ireland.
Andrea Jenkyns shared the emblem on Twitter just after 6.30am as polls prepared to open across England, Wales and Scotland.
But instead of the current Union flag, she shared the flag of Great Britain – without Northern Ireland – that was used from the early 1600s until the beginning of 1801.
The version is missing the diagonal cross of St Patrick of Ireland.
Council confirms church warder did oversleep ahead of polling station opening
Earlier on today The Mirror reported that a baffled voter had to cast his vote in the back of a car because a church warder ‘overslept’ .
Toby Porter said he cast his vote in Oxford at 7.25am, and the normal polling station was “up and running” by 7.30am.
He said around a dozen people voted in the car before the centre at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies was opened.
“We found it funny. Everyone was enjoying the novelty,” he told the PA news agency.
Now a spokesman for Oxford city council has explained what happened.
He said: "The keyholder overslept and for a short time at 7am electors were voting using the POs' (presiding officers) cars. This is standard procedure when a station building isn't open on time and part of the training we give them. The key is that ballot papers are ready to be issued at 7am, wherever that may be. The building was open within 15 minutes."
A spokesman for Oxford city council said: "The keyholder overslept and for a short time at 7am electors were voting using the POs' (presiding officers) cars. This is standard procedure when a station building isn't open on time and part of the training we give them. The key is that ballot papers are ready to be issued at 7am, wherever that may be. The building was open within 15 minutes."
Some of our favourite dogs at polling stations so far
Politics often brings out the worst in people, so it’s heartening that amid all the bickering one election day tradition is bringing people together.
For the last few years it has been obligatory for dog owners to snap their pets outside polling stations, and today is no different.
Here is a selection of our favourites.
— Daniel Dylan Wray (@DanielDylanWray) May 6, 2021
— Anna Skipwith (@hellosocialLdn) May 6, 2021
— Dogs Trust (@DogsTrust) May 6, 2021
— Martin Orchard (@OrchardMartin) May 6, 2021
Voters battle through snow to get to polling stations on crucial day in Scotland
Spare a thought for the people of Farr, close to Inverness, today.
While it might be a bit chilly across most of the country, people there have to battle through more than most.
Pictures show the village cloaked in snow on election day. Scottish Parliamentary elections could be crucial today, with parties urging as many people as possible to have their say.
However because Covid will slow down counting, it could be 48 hours before people find out the result.
Nicola Sturgeon visits polling station in crucial election in Scotland
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has met voters at a Glasgow polling station on the morning of what her party has dubbed one of Scotland’s most important elections.
The SNP leader visited Annette Street Primary School in Govanhill – part of her Glasgow Southside constituency – along with Roza Salih, who is the lead SNP candidate on the Glasgow regional list.
At the polling station, Ms Sturgeon and Ms Salih met three Syrian Scots who have lived in Scotland for eight years – 63-year-old Adnan Abdulbaki, and Iqbal Abdulbaki and Abdulruhman Abdulbaki, both 20 – as they prepared to cast their vote.
Ms Sturgeon said it is “great we’ve got everybody who lives here able to vote”, saying it is an “exciting” and “special thing to do”, to which they agreed.
Sadiq Khan brings dog to polling station as he looks to continue as London mayor
Bringing dogs to polling stations is a long established tradition, and Sadiq Khan – who is seeking re-election as mayor of London – has joined in.
The Labour candidate, who has led the city since 2016, brought pet Luna with him as his wife Saadiya cast her vote.
Mr Khan has already voted by post.
Scottish Labour leader casts votes as he calls on public to back party
The leaders of Scotland’s political parties are heading to the polls to cast their own votes in the Scottish Parliament election.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar voted at his local polling station at Pollokshields Burgh Hall in Glasgow on Thursday morning.
Mr Sarwar is standing against First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Glasgow Southside constituency, which includes Pollokshields.
Flanked by his wife and four-year-old son, Mr Sarwar was in a buoyant mood, chatting with voters and answering questions from journalists.
He said he used both votes for Scottish Labour and urged other voters to do the same.
Keir Starmer casts his vote on crucial day for his leadership
Labour leader Keir Starmer has cast his vote today in a crucial day for his leadership.
He and wife Victoria were pictured outside the Greenwood Centre polling station in North London.
He has called on voters to deliver a blow to Boris Johnson as he attempts to claw back from Labour’s disastrous 2019 General Election campaign.
‘It’s one rule for them, another for the rest of us’ says Starmer
Labour’s Keir Starmer has called on voters to punish the Tories for cronyism as they go to the polls today.
He tweeted: “From bending tax rules for those who have Boris Johnson’s phone number and handing out contracts to their mates to wasting your money on contracts that don't deliver.
“It's one rule for them, another for the rest of us. There’s a clear choice at today’s elections.”
Handy tool tells you where your nearest polling station is
Not sure where you should be casting your vote? This handy tool will help.
Just type in your postcode and find out where your nearest polling station is.
See your nearest polling station for the local elections or visit InYourArea
Labour leader’s final message to voters ahead of crunch election
Labour leader Keir Starmer has said it would take time to rebuild his party after the worst general election result since 1935 under Jeremy Corbyn, adding: “I never thought we would climb the mountain we have to climb in just one year.”
In his final message to voters he said: “This is a changed Labour Party. Under new leadership, we are putting working people and their communities first.
“Your priorities will always be Labour’s priorities, with Labour councils, councillors and mayors utterly focused on delivering the secure jobs, safer streets and health services we all want to see.
“They are the first step of Labour’s plan to rebuild Britain, based on security and opportunities across the country.”
Public ‘cast votes in car after church warder overslept’
A reminder that in election times, everything doesn’t run smoothly all the time.
Voter Toby Porter posted a picture of ballot box in the back of the car, after the church where polling was due to happen was locked.
He wrote: “The church warden has overslept apparently so just cast my vote in a car.”
— Toby Porter (@tobyhporter) May 6, 2021
Key battles to watch – and where Labour must win
The Mirror has compiled a handy round-up of the key reas to keep an eye on as the Super Thursday results come in.
The most high-profile race is the Hartlepool by-election., but council results in Durham, Bury and Rotherham will be telling as Keir Starmer faces his first test at the polls.
Labour will be hoping for a good result in Tory-controlled Basildon, while the West Midlands metro mayoral race is a key test for Keir Starmer’s leadership of Labour.
Pre-election poll gives Tories ‘vaccine bounce’ lead over Labour
Pre-election polling suggests the Tories are enjoying a ‘vaccine bounce’ – giving them a significant lead over the opposition.
Research by YouGov for The Times found Boris Johnson and co had a 10-point lead over Labour – just one point down from a week ago.
Nearly ninety per cent thought the vaccine programme had been handled well, with half of them crediting the Prime Minister.
More than half of the public thought the government’s response to the pandemic had been bad, but only one in five thought Labour would have done better, according to The Times.
The poll, carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday, put the Tories nationally on 43 per cent – ahead of Labour on 33 per cent.
Voters go to the polls in crucial Hartlepool by-election
Voters are having their say in the cruical Hartlepool by-election today, with polling stations beginning to fill up.
The by-election will indicate what progress – if any – Labour has made in regaining votes in its former northern heartlands.
Hartlepool was held by Labour with a majority of 3,595 in 2019 even as other bricks in the so-called “red wall” crumbled – in part due to the Brexit Party splitting the Tory vote.
Defeat would be a blow to Sir Keir Starmer and provide a rare by-election gain for a governing party.
Boris Johnson sought to manage expectations ahead of the elections, playing down his chances of taking Hartlepool – despite one recent poll putting the Tories 17 points clear and bookmakers making Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer clear favourite to win the seat.
Boris Johnson arrives to cast his vote
The Prime Minister has arrived to cast his vote in Westminster this morning.
He faces a crucial day at the polls – with today’s election the first natiowide poll since the start of pandemic.
Boris Johnson was accompanied by partner Carrie Symonds as he arrived at a Westminster polling station.
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