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Live Updates: UK Local and Mayoral Elections 2024 Unfold Across the Nation

Hundreds of thousands of voters are heading to the polls in England today for local elections, seen as a crucial test of public opinion before the general election.

The elections encompass various positions, including the Mayor of London, members of the London Assembly, and mayors in 10 other regions outside the capital.

Across 107 local authorities, voters will cast their ballots, with additional focus on the mayoral race in London and the selection of 10 mayors outside the capital. Notably, a by-election in Blackpool South will determine the new Member of Parliament following the resignation of former Conservative MP Scott Benton.

Furthermore, voters across England and Wales will participate in the election of 37 police and crime commissioners (PCCs). It’s important to note that these elections do not extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Regarding the political landscape, polling suggests that mayoral races in Tees Valley and West Midlands are finely balanced and will be closely monitored for their potential national implications.

Projections indicate that the Conservative Party may face significant losses, with forecasts suggesting they could lose up to half of the council seats they are defending. Some rebels within the party, critical of Rishi Sunak’s leadership, have threatened action against him if the results are unsatisfactory. However, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has reiterated support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, asserting his secure position regardless of the election outcome.

For eligible voters, there are three methods to participate: in-person voting at local polling stations, postal voting (if arranged in advance), or nominating a proxy to vote on their behalf (also if pre-arranged). To vote, individuals must be aged 18 or over, registered at an address within the voting area, and be a British citizen, Irish or EU citizen, or eligible Commonwealth citizen, without any legal impediments to voting.

The importance of local councils cannot be overstated, as they oversee numerous public services, including care for the elderly and disabled, road maintenance, and waste collection.

Reflecting on previous local elections, most council seats were last contested in May 2021, after the 2020 elections were postponed due to the pandemic. In those elections, the Conservative Party made significant gains, securing 235 more seats, while Labour suffered a loss of 327 seats.

As for the current London mayoral race, Tarun Ghulati emerges as a notable candidate, the only Indian-origin contender among the 13 individuals vying for the position. Aged 63, Ghulati boasts an educational background from the University of Jaipur and an MBA from Delhi University, as per his LinkedIn profile.

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