Boris Johnson ‘out of touch’ over cost of living crisis, says Keir Starmer
Top conservatives have come forward in support of Boris Johnson as projections warned a loss of “hundreds” of seats for Tories.
Appearing on Sky News, education minister Michelle Donelan said Mr Johnson was “an asset, not a liability” in elections.
Earlier, in an article for The Independent, Sir John Curtice warned that the Conservatives were on course to suffer major losses in the first big test of public opinion since the Partygate scandal hit headlines.
Meanwhile, the leader of one grassroots Tory group said that anger about the No 10 parties, topped up by fears over rising living costs, pointed to the party’s supporters staying at home on today.
It follows claims from Angela Rayner that Tory election candidates are ashamed to be linked with the prime minister, by running as “local Conservatives” and pleading with voters not to “punish” them for the Partygate scandal.
“It speaks volumes that Boris Johnson’s own Conservative candidates are ashamed to be associated with him and trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes,” Labour’s deputy leader said.
In Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein is headed for a historic win in 90-seat Assembly, with opinion polls projecting its emergence as the largest party.
Wales’ First Minister and Leader of the Welsh Labour party Mark Drakeford votes in local elections
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has been pictured voting in the local elections with his wife Clare.
They cast their votes at St Catherines Church Hall polling station, in Pontcanna, Cardiff, South Wales.
Holly Bancroft5 May 2022 10:42
Mortgage borrowers face squeeze on living costs as Bank of England poised to raise rates
The Bank of England is poised to raise interest rates to their highest level in 13 years as it seeks to rein in rising living costs, writes Ben Chapman.
Its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets on Thursday to deliver its latest decision on rates amid spiralling inflation fuelled by a surge in energy costs. Consumer price inflation is forecast to hit 9 per cent later this year, with some analysts predicting it could go into double digits.
Economists expect the MPC to hike rates from 0.75 per cent to 1 per cent on Thursday – a level not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009.
Holly Bancroft5 May 2022 10:32
Voting underway in Northern Ireland
Voters are heading to the polls in a crucial election to appoint the 90 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
A total of 239 candidates are running in 18 constituencies across Northern Ireland, including a record 87 women.
The election will not only decide who is appointed to the assembly, but will also decide who holds the post of first minister.
If Sinn Fein, an Irish nationalist party that seeks union with Ireland, becomes the largest group in the assembly then Northern Ireland could see its first ever Sinn Fein first minister.
This would be a tremendous milestone for the party, which has long been linked to the IRA.
Read more about what a Sinn Fein victory would mean for Northern Ireland here:
Holly Bancroft5 May 2022 10:17
Starmer casts his ballot
Keir Starmer looked in good spirits this morning as he cast his ballot in the local elections.
The Labour leader arrived at a polling station at the TRA Hall in London earlier with his wife Victoria.
Matt Mathers5 May 2022 09:50
Dogs at polling stations
Elections in the UK have become renowned for “dogs at polling stations” as pets wait outside as their owners cast their ballot.
The polls opened at 7am and the pictures are already flooding in.
This dog waits patiently outside a polling station in Sunderland, where voters are electing city councillors.
Matt Mathers5 May 2022 09:14
Scots head to the polls
Scots are going to the polls in an election dominated by national issues and the cost of living crisis.
Parties north of the border have urged voters to “send a message” to the governments in Westminster and Holyrood with their votes.
The cost of living crisis, prompted by an increase in fuel bills, national insurance contributions and inflation, has been top of the agenda for Scotland’s parties throughout the campaign.
Matt Mathers5 May 2022 08:42
Prime minister arrives at polling station to vote
Boris Johnson appeared to be in good spirits as he appeared at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster to cast his vote in the local elections.
The Prime Minister was smiling and wished reporters a good morning, but was otherwise tight-lipped about an election in which the Conservatives are predicted to lose hundreds of council seats.
Appearing on foot at the polling station at around 7.40am on Thursday morning, Mr Johnson was not with his wife Carrie but was accompanied by his dog Dilyn.
Matt Mathers5 May 2022 08:17
Polling stations open in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
More than 4,000 councillors in 146 councils are standing for elections in major English cities, including Manchester and Leeds, while all of London’s 32 boroughs are up for grabs.
Last contested in 2017, all of Scotland’s 32 councils and all 22 in Wales are also holding elections, with polls due to close at 10pm.
While many votes will be determined on local issues, the election will also be the first major electoral test for Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer since the Partygate scandal emerged and the cost-of-living crisis, as energy firms report considerable profits, our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn writes.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain5 May 2022 08:12
Local elections 2022: What are the key battlegrounds?
The councils in England that will receive most attention are in London, where Wandsworth could swing to Labour after 44 years of being in the hands of the Tories.
Recently, the area has been drifting to the left, with all three of the borough’s MPs now Labour, including Fleur Anderson in Putney, which was the only seat the party gained from the Tories in 2019.
The Conservatives also face challenges in Westminster, with their large majority diminishing over the years, and Barnet, where Labour’s poor performance in 2018 has been associated with concerns about Jeremy Corbyn among the Jewish community.
In Tower Hamlets, while there are unlikely to be too many upsets in the council elections, the race to become mayor will be one to watch, with controversial former mayor Lutfur Rahman standing again.
He was forced to step down after an election court found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices, but he has faced no criminal prosecution.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain5 May 2022 08:00
When to expect the results for local elections
Millions of voters will head to the polls across the UK in a matter of hours, with local elections being held across England, Scotland and Wales.
In England there are over 4,300 seats being contested – including all London boroughs – while all of Scotland’s 32 councils and 22 Welsh councils are up forgrabs.
They will coincide with Northern Ireland’s assembly election, with voters deciding on 90 members, representing 18 constituencies, to send to Stormont.
Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn looks at the estimated timings for key declarations for the local elections:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain5 May 2022 07:48