Polls open as parties do battle across England

Millions of voters will descend on church halls, libraries and schools today to vote in English local elections.

The Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems – and other smaller parties or residents groups – will be battling it out to either keep hold of or take control of councils across the country.

Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm, with those queuing when the venues close still able to vote.

The majority of councils will declare votes overnight, but some will release results during the day on Friday.

Image:Five councils will trial the voter ID plans at next week's local elections

Mayoral elections are also taking place in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Watford.

::All you need to know about the local elections

Voters across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster will be choosing a regional Sheffield City Region mayor for the first time.

Five councils will be trialling a voter ID scheme to crack down on electoral fraud.

Counting begins across the UK in 2016 local council elections
Image:Most councils will declare results overnight on Thursday, with some on Friday during the day

Voters in Swindon and Watford will have to present their poll card, or if it has been mislaid, photo ID such as a driving licence or passport.

In Woking voters will have to provide photo ID such as a driving licence or bus pass.

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Constituents in Bromley and Gosport will have to show photo ID or two forms of ID, including one with an address on.

:: Sky News will bring you live coverage of the local election results on web, mobile and TV on Thursday night and throughout Friday. A live blog will be running throughout the night while a special programme will provide analysis of the results as they come in hour-by-hour.

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