We’re off. It’s election day. Good luck!

The polling stations are open. The kettle is on in committee rooms. Good Morning and GoTVs are being delivered. The tellers are wrapped up well, collecting data on who’s voting, even how they are voting. Data officers are heads down. The Shuttleworths are being warmed up. The knocker uppers are getting ready to get the straggling voters out.

Votes will take place in all 32 councils in Scotland and all 22 councils in Wales. Elections are being held in 146 English councils, including all 32 boroughs in London. In Northern Ireland, voters will select 90 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont.

Across all four nations, 21,352 candidates are standing, including 3,664 Lib Dems.

Counting begins in some English councils soon after the polls close at 10pm tonight and elsewhere tomorrow. Some counting may go into Saturday.

The team here at LDV will be juggling election duties with reporting the results. We wish all those standing and campaigning the best of luck.

Please send your photos of today to LDV: [email protected] and we’ll publish as many as we can.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are vying to gain the most members in the Northern Ireland Assembly and thereby to nominate the next First Minister. The centrist Alliance is also reported to gaining ground.

In Wales, Lib Dem eyes are on Powys where 42 Lib Dems are standing. There has long been a strong Lib Dem team in the county and they have been joined on the campaign trail by many of the activists from Shropshire who put energy behind Helen Morgan’s election.

In Scotland local government elections have been run using the Single Transferable Vote system since 2007, a legacy of the Lib Dem/Labour coalition at Holyrood. The party is defending the 67 councillors elected in 2017 and hopes to make gains. Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has been concentrating his efforts outside the held seats, supporting spirited campaigns in places like Glasgow, Dunfermline, East Kilbride, Ayrshire, Perthshire, West Lothian and Stirling. The party hopes to make some gains across the country, including Edinburgh, Fife and the Highlands. Look out for young candidates becoming councillors in these places.

Local elections are always influenced by national trends. Some areas buck the trend and in less turbulent political times, local issues dominate. I suspect that we may see national issues having a greater influence in this round of elections given the current scandals and general sense of chaos in the government. Its failure to understand the impacts of the cost of living crisis is critical. Agricultural minister George Eustice had his “let them eat cake” moment when he told people they should eat from supermarkets’ value goods lines. Rishi Sunak does not understand that losing even a few pounds of income a week in real terms can drive people to the food bank or to turn off the heating. Boris Johnson gave a classic response when told that a pensioner spent all day on London’s buses to keep warm: ”I introduced the 24-hour Freedom Pass”. That’s it then. You can survive under this government while snacking value foods on the bus providing you are old enough for a bus or train pass. Some Tories are trying to distance themselves from their Westminster counterparts.

Partygate still matters. This is from Tuesday’s Politics Home:

“One campaigner based in London described Tory council candidates as being “angrier than MPs”, with those standing for election being “lambasted on the doorstep over partygate. “No local issues coming up at all, just Boris,” they said. Concerns over the impact of partygate were echoed by another local government figure, who described the doorstep as “really really grim”.”

How today’s voting goes, along with the postal votes already in, we will know by the end of Friday. Some wards will be counted tonight, some tomorrow and a few counts may continue into Saturday.

We’ll be covering the elections on LDV as results and articles come in over the next few days. Other coverage on the Lib Dem and ALDC twitter feeds. And the BBC and many others.

 

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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