UK & World News
Main Parties Have Much To Lose In Local Polls
Politicians have launched a final bid to secure votes before the local elections on Thursday.
The result will be seen as a referendum on the Coalition after a difficult few weeks for the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband is under pressure to prove he has mass appeal by picking up a significant number of seats.
Votes will be cast for local elections in England, Scotland and Wales and mayors in London, Liverpool and Salford.
Referendums on creating elected mayors will also take place in 10 English cities.
David Cameron has urged Conservative voters to be "proud" of their record in office and "the best value councils in the country".
But Mr Miliband said people should "vote Labour for real change to help people in tough times" - promising help with pensions, rail and bus fares and electricity bills.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has insisted the Lib Dems are making a difference in government and told activists "every vote for the Liberal Democrats and every Liberal Democrat councillor elected is a step towards a more liberal country".
The local election seats up for grabs were last contested in 2008, when the Conservatives were the big winners gaining 257 councillors across England and Wales.
Labour lost 334 councillors while the Lib Dems gained 33.
Labour is expected to make significant gains because the party posted one of its worst ever local election performances in 2008. Commentators will be judging not whether Labour has improved its position but by how much.
Scotland is a pressure point for Labour because the Scottish National Party has been making gains in what is considered a traditional Labour support base.
In contrast, the Conservatives are defending the best local election results of their time in opposition. The party will be expecting to lose seats - but will hope to emerge in better shape than the Lib Dems.
Mr Clegg's party is under pressure to improve on what was a disastrous set of local election results in 2011.
Lib Dem insiders believe that last year people hostile to the Coalition blamed their party, while this year they hope the Conservatives will take a hit.
In England, 128 councils are holding elections while votes at 32 unitary district councils in Scotland and 22 in Wales will also take place.
In London former Mayor Ken Livingstone will do battle again with Boris Johnson after losing to the Conservative candidate in 2008. Mr Johnson previously won by 53.2% to Mr Livingstone's 26.8%.
Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick, UKIP's Lawrence Webb, Independent Siobhan Benita, the Green party's Jenny Jones and the BNP's Carlos Cortiglia are also standing.
Boris Johnson is currently ahead of Ken Livingstone in the polls, although they have been much closer in previous weeks.
It will be a blow to either party if their candidate loses the high profile role. But both Mr Johnson and Mr Livingstone are big characters who have appeal (and lack of appeal) outside of their party allegiance.
Twelve candidates are running for mayor in Liverpool and four in Salford, and mayoral referendums are taking place in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds,Manchester, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield, Wakefield and Doncaster.