VOTERS are going to the polls to elect thousands of councillors across the UK. While local issues will be high on the agenda, wider national issues are also likely to have an impact on the results of the ballot. Here’s some of the key issues to look out for:

Voters delivering their verdict on the Tories

Jittery Tories will be waiting to see how much their party will be punished at the polls for the Downing Street partygate scandal, with the local elections also being viewed as a key test of the UK Government’s handling of the cost of living crisis.

If the Conservatives do suffer dire results, the issue of how much longer Boris Johnson can survive will be back on the agenda, with a number of Tory MPs warning they are waiting on the outcome before deciding whether to send in letters of no confidence.

Will Labour see a revival in Scotland & Wales?

Recent polls have suggested Labour could win be on track to win second place in Scotland’s local elections, with the Tories at risk of losing that position which it has held in every contest since 2016.

In Wales, Labour is also hoping for a better result than in 2017, when it lost more than 100 seats and control of three councils. Under the leadership of Mark Drakeford, the party comfortably held onto power in the Senedd in last year’s election, winning just one seat short of the first-ever majority in Wales.

Sinn Féin hopes for success in Northern Ireland

The election for the Stormont assembly has been billed at the most important in a generation, and it’s also the first to take place since Brexit and the introduction of the Northern Ireland protocol.

With polls suggesting that Sinn Féin is on course to become the largest party for the first time, the looming questions are whether a power-sharing agreement can be formed with the DUP and, in the longer term, what it means for the push for a united Ireland.

Can Plaid Cymru build on gains of 2017?

The party which campaigns for Welsh independence currently leads four councils in Wales and made some gains at the previous local elections in 2017. Leader Adam Price acknowledged the party had a “disappointing” performance in the 2021 Senedd election, but is hoping to capitalise on voters being disillusioned with Westminster parties.

Election of mayors

It’s not just councillors being voted in on May 5, some mayoral elections will also take place in England including in five London boroughs, which are all currently held by Labour, and Watford, which has a Liberal Democrat mayor. South Yorkshire is also electing a combined authority mayor, which takes in the four councils of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.