Boris Johnson is braced for the seemingly loss of hundreds of council seats in essential local elections anticipated to set off fresh Conservative infighting over his future.
Voters throughout the nation are delivering their verdict within the first large check of public opinion because the Partygate scandal broke – and with the Metropolitan Police set to announce additional fines, as soon as the polls have closed.
The Conservatives are more likely to lose “a few hundred seats”, in keeping with the elections guru John Curtice, paying the worth for a collapse in assist over the No 10 events and the cost-of-living disaster.
At Westminster, Tory rebels hoping to topple Mr Johnson will resume “conversations” about their techniques as quickly because the polls shut at 10pm on Thursday, one MP has predicted.
Polling day additionally introduced fresh condemnation on the prime minister from his former chief aide Dominic Cummings, who repeated his name for “regime change”.
A vote for the Conservatives was a vote for “more taxes regulation” he tweeted, in addition to “neglect of security/armed forces” and “A&E disasters/NHS neglect” and “idiots babbling about trans”.
The first outcomes are due from midnight on Thursday, with the verdicts from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, South Tyneside and Wigan indicating whether or not Labour’s vote is holding up in its northern strongholds.
After 2am, the end result from Sunderland, the place the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats hope to finish 40 years of Labour management, can be a vital “red wall” check.
Key outcomes from London will observe, first from Westminster, which is a Labour lengthy shot and the place a loss can be disastrous for the Tories who’ve run the council since 1964.
After 5am, it is going to be revealed whether or not Labour has managed to retake Southampton from Conservative management and snatch Wandsworth, one other flagship London Tory stronghold.
All 32 councils in Scotland and all 22 in Wales are holding elections – in addition to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the place the nationalist Sinn Fein social gathering is poised to safe a historic victory.
Mr Johnson voted early at a polling station in Westminster, arriving on foot and waving to reporters, though one perplexed member of the general public questioned aloud: “Is that Simon Cowell?”
After voting, the prime minister tweeted a video during which he mentioned of his social gathering “it’s Conservatives who deliver, Conservatives who get the bins collected”.
Keir Starmer held palms together with his spouse Victoria as he arrived at a polling station in Kentish Town, north London, to cast his vote within the local elections for Camden Council.
The Labour chief tweeted afterwards: “Today is our chance to send the Tories a message they can’t ignore: Britain deserves better.”
Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat chief, voting in southwest London, predicted the Conservatives can be punished for failing to ease the ache of fast-rising dwelling prices.