Voters across the United Kingdom go to the polls in local elections

Q&A Will the local elections be a guide to how the General Election might

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has urged voters not to give the Tories a landslide victory as the polls opened in local elections.

The result erases memories of the 2013 election for the Conservatives, which saw fail to win a majority for only the second time in the local authority's history, and forced them into a coalition administration with the Liberal Democrats and some Independent councillors.

There are 4,851 council seats up for grabs across England, Scotland and Wales.

"In areas where we hope to win back MPs when we get back to the General Election, like Cheltenham and Eastleigh and Wells, we've done exceptionally well - our vote share has gone up".

Experts had forecast that the contests in parts of England and the whole of Scotland and Wales would be hard for the Labour Party.

Experts warn against using the results to predict the outcome of next month's vote, noting that such elections are normally fought on local issues, and are often used to punish the sitting government. However, the party has since claimed a resurgence, especially among the anti-Brexit electorate - which accounted for over 48 per cent of the referendum vote past year.

Despite seeking to focus on Labour's economic credentials, questions from journalists to Hammond and Brexit minister David Davis at the campaign event focused largely on reports of EU negotiators hiking the bill that Britain could face when it leaves the European Union.

The votes have largely been overshadowed by news of the snap general election, next month but will be closely watched by the major parties for any sign of a shift in their favour.

Polling stations close at 10pm, and results are expected to start coming in from around midnight.

Speaking outside her Downing Street office on Wednesday, May took aim at Brussels for making "threats against Britain" over the divorce proceedings.

Some results from the various authorities will be declared in the early hours of May 5, although most are expected to come during the day.

"The Conservatives are doing very well and that is nearly certainly likely to have some spillover into the local elections", said Roger Scully, politics professor at the University of Cardiff.

These are precisely the kind of areas the Conservatives do need to make inroads in.

"Let's see what happens".

He also said that numerous traditional Labour supporters he was meeting "didn't really recognise the Labour party as representing what they wanted".

The pro-EU Liberal Democrats, who were nearly wiped out in the 2015 general election after entering a coalition government with the Conservatives, are hoping to pick up some momentum for the June vote with gains today.



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