Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 20:40 UK

Election day entering final phase

The polling station at St Jude's Church in Southsea in Hampshire
Seats will be decided in 159 local authorities in England and Wales

Millions of voters have been heading to the polls in local elections across England and Wales.

About 4,000 seats on 159 councils are up for grabs, along with the London Mayor post and London Assembly.

Polls opened at 0700 BST and close at 2200 BST. There has been a mix of sunshine and showers in most areas.

Results are expected overnight for more than 100 councils, but voters in Wales, some parts of England and in London must wait until later on Friday.

Most of the English local authorities are electing a third of members to serve for another four years.

Sarah and Gordon Brown
Prime Minister Gordon Brown voted in London along with his wife Sarah

But all seats are up for grabs in the 22 Welsh unitary authorities.

Voters will have to wait until at least Friday lunchtime for their results, however.

The result of the London mayoral vote is not expected until Friday evening.

It will be decided by a system under which electors name their first and second choices for mayor.

The city has 5.5 million registered voters and there are 10 candidates in all.

These include Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone, Conservative Boris Johnson and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick.

David and Samantha Cameron
Tory leader David Cameron and wife Samantha cast their votes in London

The others standing are Richard Barnbrook of the BNP, Gerard Batten of the UK Independence Party, Sian Berry representing the Green Party and Alan Craig of Christian Choice.

The other candidates on the ballot paper are the Left List's Lindsey German, independent Winston McKenzie and Matt O'Connor for the English Democrats.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah cast their votes early on Thursday at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster.

This polling station is a few minutes away from Downing Street.

Conservative leader David Cameron went to the polling station in Oxford Gardens Primary School, near his home in London's North Kensington.

BBC ELECTION COVERAGE
You can watch comprehensive election coverage on Election Night with David Dimbleby on BBC One and the BBC News Channel at 2335 BST and live on this website

He was joined by his wife Samantha.

Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, cast his vote at a leisure centre in Putney in south-west London.

Meanwhile about 10 polling stations in the north London borough of Barnet did not receive ballot papers until "some minutes" after the election began at 0700 BST.

In a statement, Barnet Council said it "sincerely apologised" to those voters affected but stressed all of the polling stations had opened on time.


Your comments:

At my Barnet polling station we were told that the ballot papers did not arrive on time due to "a problem at the printers". Um... how long have we known about this election?! Surely the ballot papers must have been printed weeks ago to be sent out to postal voters? And it was obvious when they did arrive that the officers had never had any training as they spent time sorting out the different forms. You couldn't make it up...
Suzy, London

My son, a major in the army, serving in Northern Ireland, receives a postal vote. He has voted and returned his ballot paper. At home we have received his poll card, so obviously he has another vote too. Little wonder there is so much ballot fraud.
C Tolley, Worcestershire

I was first to my polling station this morning at 0645 and voted alone at 0700. I was a bit shocked really to see not an election metal box secured with padlock to take the votes but a cardboard box tied up with string.
Anne, Feltham, London

It seemed quite busy there, although people were having problems understanding the rules. Someone was folding up their ballot papers and had to be told not to do it. I don't see why there's all the confusion - it's only ticking boxes!
Billy, London

I have just heard on the news about voting numbers being written on the voting slip. This has always happened at our polling station and when my husband questioned it he was told that was the way it was done. This obviously makes your vote public knowledge and we will certainly be questioning it again if it happens tonight.
Amanda, Cheam, Surrey

My polling station in Southwark has refused to let me put an X on the ballot paper with a pen. For the last nine years they always make people use a pencil. I fear Harare-style corruption.
James, London

The gate on one of the access routes to my local polling station in Walthamstow wasn't open this morning when I arrived at 0725, leaving me to climb over the gate to get to the polling station
Davina, London



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THE ELECTION RESULTS
COUNCIL RESULTS
  Councillors Councils
Party +/- Total +/- Total
CON 257 3155 12 65
LAB -334 2365 -9 18
LD 33 1804 1 12
PC 31 205 -1 0
OTH 10 898 0 0
NOC - - -3 64
159 of 159 councils declared.

Find your results

Results in more detail

London Mayoral results
Overall results
Name Party Votes
Johnson CON 1,168,738
Livingstone LAB 1,028,966
Paddick LD 878,097
Berry GRN 409,101

Find your results

Results in more detail

London Assembly Results
Overall results
Party Constit' Top-up Total seats
CON 8 3 11
LAB 6 2 8
LD 0 3 3
GRN 0 2 2
BNP 0 1 1

Find your results

Results in more detail


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