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Local elections Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Voters go to the polls
A family's kitchen near Leeds has become a polling station
Voters are going to the polls in council elections across England on Thursday.

Polling is also taking place in the capital's mayoral elections as well as those which will elect the first members of the new Greater London Assembly.

Outside London, polling stations will be open for the Romsey by-election caused by the death of Tory MP Michael Colvin in a fire at his home.

Elections are also being held for 152 local authorities in England over seats last contested in 1996.


Click here for details of live election night video and audio.

Nearly 10,000 candidates are battling for more than 3,000 seats in the council polls with more than 20 million out of 43 million electors in Britain - including those in the capital - having the chance to vote.

But although Thursday is official polling day, a number of authorities opened polling stations early as part of an experiment aimed at encouraging more people to use their votes.

Some polling stations were open over the weekend or in supermarkets, while some councils have also used mobile polling statoins, electronic voting and more postal voting.

In London, the eventual winner of the mayoral contest will hold the largest personal mandate of any politician in the UK.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie voted in Westminster at 0850 BST on Thursday, while Tory leader William Hague and wife Ffion were also voting in central London.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy had a postal vote.

Independent candidate Ken Livingstone cast his vote at Mora Primary and Nursery School in Cricklewood, north west London on Thursday morning, while Labour's Frank Dobson voted in central London.

Tory candidate Steve Norris cast his vote in Battersea, south-west London, with Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer voting in Barnes, west London.

London's mayor and the 25-seat GLA will first take office in Marsham Street, close to the Houses of Parliament in central London before eventually moving to a new building near Tower Bridge.

Results from all the elections across England will begin filtering through early on Friday morning.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Carole Walker
"The biggest personal mandate of any elected politician"
See also:

26 Apr 00 | Local elections
25 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Links to more Local elections stories are at the foot of the page.


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