Election 2019: Council polls close in England and NI

Polling stations came in all shapes – including the White Horse Inn in Priors Dean, Hampshire

The polls have closed in the council and mayoral elections across England and Northern Ireland.

Voting finished at 22:00 BST in the elections for 248 English councils, six mayors and all 11 councils in Northern Ireland.

Counting will begin on Thursday night, with results for 108 English councils expected before 06:00 on Friday.

The other 140 English results are expected throughout Friday, while the Northern Irish ones will take longer.

No local elections are taking place in Scotland and Wales.

This is the biggest set of local elections in England’s four-year electoral cycle, with more than 8,400 seats being contested.

A further 462 seats are up for grabs in Northern Ireland.

By-elections can take place in some council wards even if that council is not scheduled for elections this year. Check your council website for details.

The first results are expected to start coming in at just after midnight. Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, and Halton in Cheshire are the two councils expected to declare first.

More results will come in from 00:30, and by 06:00 results from just under half of the English councils (108) are expected to have come in.

The remaining 140 are scheduled to come in throughout Friday, mostly between midday and 19:00 BST. Cheshire East is expected to declare last at 21:00.

The Northern Irish results will take longer to come through because of a more complicated voting system.

The polls have just closed. A phrase we’re perhaps quite accustomed to these days.

All day, voters in many parts of England and in Northern Ireland have been casting their ballots, expressing their views on the politicians who had put themselves up for scrutiny, stepping forward for the chance to be part of important decisions about our communities.

Each and every area will have its own stories, each of us our own motivations for which box, or none, we tick.

What happens in towns, villages and cities, and the decisions made by town halls and councillors has a huge bearing, of course, on these results.

Whatever happens in the next 24 hours as the results emerge, bear in mind that the results of these local elections are not a beautifully clear, let alone reliable, crystal ball that will reveal the future.

But these contests are an enormous set of elections, much bigger than the normal set of local ballots, and an important chance to test how the craziness of our national politics right now is going down with the public.

Of the 248 elections in England, 168 have been district councils which are in charge of setting and collecting council tax, bin collections, local planning and council housing.

There were also elections taking place for 47 unitary authorities and 33 metropolitan boroughs which look after education, public transport, policing and fire services, as well as all the services of district councils.

In Northern Ireland, councils are responsible for services including local planning and licensing, waste collection and enforcing safety regulations to do with food, workplaces and the environment.

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after casting her vote at a polling station near her home in the Thames Valley as voters headed to the polls for council and mayoral elections across England and Northern Ireland.
Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after casting her vote

Voters in 10 local authorities in England needed to either show ID or produce their polling card before they can vote as part of a trial scheme.

Those in Braintree, Broxtowe, Craven, Derby, North Kesteven, Woking and Pendle had to show ID before they could vote.

Voters in Mid Sussex, North West Leicestershire, and Watford local authorities were required to show their polling card.

Everyone else in England was able to vote as usual, with no need to bring along a polling card or any proof of ID.

But in Northern Ireland, voters needed photo ID, with the polling card received through the post being for information purposes only.