UK & World News
Local Elections: Polls Close After Millions Vote
Polls have closed in today's local elections, with the political parties facing their biggest test of public opinion since the 2010 General Election.
Voters across England, Scotland and Wales cast their ballots for about 5,000 seats across 181 local councils.
Labour is looking to make council gains in England and Wales after losses in 2008, while the Conservatives are hoping to defend seats they gained.
In Scotland, the council elections are being held in their own right this year instead ofthe same time as the parliamentary election.
The decision followed the 2007 election fiasco which saw around 100,000 spoilt ballots.
The problems were blamed on a confusing array of voting systems, coupled with the use of electronic counting.
In London's mayoral contest, Labour's Ken Livingstone is trying to win back the post he lost to Conservative Boris Johnson in 2008.
Siobhan Benita (Independent), Carlos Cortiglia (British National Party), Jenny Jones (Green), Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats) and Lawrence Webb (UKIP) are also standing.
Twenty-five seats on the London Assembly are being contested.
City mayors will also be chosen for Salford and Liverpool.
Referendums on whether to have directly-elected mayors are taking place in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.
Doncaster, meanwhile, is staging its own vote on whether to abandon its elected mayor and go back to having a council leader and a Cabinet of councillors.
The Conservatives gained 257 councillors across England and Wales in 2008, taking control of 12 councils in the process.
Labour lost 334 councillors and nine councils while the Liberal Democrats gained 33 councillors and one council.
The first results in the local council elections are expected within a couple of hours of polls closing.