Local election results in London and UK LIVE: Voters head to the polls across Britain

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Others are preparing to go to the polls to vote in a large number of local elections in the UK on Thursday.

Millions of Britons are expected to vote as polling stations open at 7am to decide who should head their local government.

Londoners will decide who runs the capital’s 32 boroughs, while residents of five boroughs – Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets – will vote for a directly elected mayor.

The results are also expected to be crucial for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future as he grapples with the fallout from the partygate scandal. A poor result for the Tories across the country is likely to raise new questions about his leadership of the party.

Education Secretary Michelle Donelan argued that Mr Johnson was “an asset, not an obligation” in elections after some Tory councilors appeared to distance themselves during campaigns.

Ms Donelan told Sky News she could “understand” why hopeful councilors wanted to show that they will “work hard on all those things that affect everyday life” rather than focus on what is happening in Westminster.

Live updates

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Watch: our daily political briefing

Political Daily Briefing: May 5

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Johnson ‘an asset, not an obligation’, says minister

Top Tories have insisted that Boris Johnson is an “asset, not an obligation” for fear the prime minister’s behavior will repel voters.

The Education Secretary, Michelle Donelan, appeared on Sky News and said Mr Johnson was “an asset, not an obligation” in elections – despite the party’s decline in national polls following the partygate saga.

When asked whether Johnson’s future as leader could be jeopardized if the Tories suffered a heavy defeat, Environment Secretary George Eustice acknowledged that “all prime ministers will always be very aware of the vote in their parliamentary party”.

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Why are local elections important?

Local elections do not enjoy the same prominence as general elections, where turnout is always low and rarely exceeds 40 percent.

However, these elections will decide who is responsible for planning issues, housing and waste collection, public transport and road maintenance near an individual.

They will also empower voters to have a say in national issues at a time of political turbulence – including the cost of living crisis, the partygate saga and the government’s response to the war in Ukraine.

For Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, the results will provide an early indication of whether his rebranding of the party over the past two years has convinced voters.

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What’s up for grabs?

Polling stations are open all over the UK and will remain open between now and 10pm.

In England, more than 4,000 councilors in 146 boroughs are running for election in major cities, including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and all 32 boroughs of London.

All 32 councils in Scotland and all 22 in Wales also hold elections.

In Northern Ireland voters elect 90 members, representing 18 constituencies, to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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Good morning

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the local elections in London and the UK.

Polls are expected to open in five minutes and remain open until 10 p.m.

We’ll have all the results here as they come in, as well as today’s other political developments as they happen.

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