Around 48 million British voters are going to the polls on Thursday for local elections in England and to elect new members of devolved parliaments in Scotland and Wales.
This Election Day, dubbed “super Thursday,” will see a mayor elected for the capital London, and new councilors in 143 boroughs, as well as new members of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments.
Voters are going to polling stations to elect around 5,000 seats in 143 councils across the country.
The election is also on for 39 police and crime commissioners and 13 mayors, including London’s.
Current London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the Labour Party candidate facing 19 challengers, including the Conservative Party’s Shaun Bailey.
People are also voting on 25 London Assembly seats.
In Hartlepool, people will elect a new MP in a by-election.
According to polls held at the end of April, the Conservatives enjoy a strong lead with 43%, followed by the Labour Party with 34%.
The Tories are defending 2,052 seats, while Labour will try to hang on to 1,621.
Scottish voters are going to the polls to elect 129 new members of the local parliament, while Welsh voters will elect the 60 MSs of the Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament).
The election in Scotland is the first general election since the Brexit vote, which pro-independence parties, including the Scottish National Party, say dealt a major blow to the country’s economy.
First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that the country should have its own say on the future and has pledged to hold a second independence referendum, dubbed indyref2.
In a 2014 independence referendum, the No side won out, but that was before Brexit prevailed in 2016 – a result most Scottish voters opposed, and one that is expected to shift the voting math.
In its manifesto, the SNP promised its voters to “hold a post-pandemic independence referendum to put Scotland’s future firmly into Scotland’s hands.”
However, in the final days of the election campaign, Sturgeon said the country’s priority will be recovering from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the new Scottish Parliament is formed by a pro-independence majority, the politics of both Scotland and the UK will have to deal with the prospect of indyref2.
Elections across the UK will start at 7 a.m. (0600GMT), and polls will close at 10 p.m. (2100GMT).
Due to the pandemic, most vote counting will start Friday morning, and some even on Saturday, but exit polls will indicate the results to a great extent.