Council election polls open in England and Anglesey as coalition parties brace for losses after campaign dominated by Ukip

 

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are today braced for losses as voters go to the polls in local elections following a campaign that has been dominated by the UK Independence Party.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has not ruled out coming fourth to Ukip, while Tory fears that the party will eat into their vote have led to an increasingly bitter war of words.

Bookmakers are predicting Nigel Farage's candidates could scoop more than 100 seats, and Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that Conservatives face losing votes to Ukip.

"Of course it's mid-term, the Government has had to make difficult decisions, we're responsible for making a series of difficult cuts and difficult choices," he told the BBC yesterday.

"I think people understand that but often it's not welcome and often it can lead to people feeling frustrated."

Nearly 10,000 candidates are battling for seats at 34 English top-tier counties and unitary authorities as well as the Isle of Anglesey council in Wales.

Mr Clegg appeared to be preparing the ground for his party to come behind Ukip today.

"You know, we have been beaten by Ukip before in the polls," the Deputy Prime Minister told Channel 4 News last night.

"What I am saying is that these things come and go in politics and I've seen them in my time come and go.

"Ukip beat us in 2009; a year later we won 24% of the vote in the general election and Ukip were nowhere."

Although mid-term elections are traditionally expected to favour opposition parties, Labour is playing down expectations of making significant gains with sources keen to stress the local authority elections are mainly being staged in Conservative heartlands.

In South Shields, votes will be cast to return an MP in a parliamentary by-election triggered by former Foreign Secretary David Miliband's decision to step down to become head of the International Rescue Committee in New York

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was "certain we can overcome our country's problems".

He added: "The choice is between a One Nation Labour party that knows we rebuild Britain by standing up for the many and a Conservative-led government that only stands up for the few."

Ukip is fielding over 1,700 candidates in today's polls, only just behind Lib Dems.

William Hill and Ladbrokes are both predicting the anti-European Union party will return in excess of 100 seats.

After polls close at 10pm early results that should indicate how the parties are doing are expected to come from Staffordshire, East Sussex, Dorset, Hampshire and Lincolnshire.

The first full council result is likely to come from Lincolnshire at around 2.30am tomorrow. The Tories have had control of the council since 1997.

Votes are also being held in mayoral elections in Doncaster, where incumbent Peter Davies, who resigned from the English Democrats, is fighting for re-election as an independent, and North Tyneside.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003