BRITISH ELECTIONS LIVE: The polls are open!

Sadiq khan zac goldsmith face off staring versusChris Ratcliffe/Getty ImagesConservative Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith (L) and Labour Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan attend a rally against a third runway at Heathrow airport, in Parliament Square on October 10, 2015 in London, England.

Britain votes! The nation is going to the polls today after weeks of bitter campaigning, voting on everything from city mayors to regional assemblies, local councils to police and crime commissioners.

Here are the key stories:

  • London is electing a new mayor after an ugly battle between Labour and Conservative contenders Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith that has at times descended to accusations of outright racism.
  • Today’s elections will serve as a crucial early test of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. The left-wing politician is attempting to square his popular support among the broader party against a sometimes hostile MP base.
  • The Conservatives could push Labour into third place in Scotland in Scottish Parliamentary elections, as the SNP seeks to maintain its overwhelming support
  • The elections come hot on the heels of a toxic row over alleged anti-Semitism within Labour’s ranks — threatening to harm the party’s electoral chances.

This is a liveblog of the day’s events and will be updated frequently. Refresh the page for the latest news, or click here.

LATEST:

0712 — RESULTS SCHEDULE

Wondering when results will start coming in after the polls close? Over at The Guardian, Rowena Mason has a good roundup of when we should expect to start hearing who won there. The short answer is that some results will trickle in overnight — including by-elections, and the Scottish Parliament, with council results coming in in dribs and drabs well into Friday.

The key vote that many are watching — the London mayoral race — is expected between 5PM and 10PM on Friday.

0700 — POLLS OPEN

Polls are open! If you’re eligible to vote in any of the UK’s various elections held today (more info on that below), then head along to a polling booth at any time between now and 10PM tonight.

0600 — GOOD MORNING!

Hello, and welcome to Business Insider UK’s liveblog for the 2016 elections!

Polls open in an hour in what promises to be an series of exciting elections. Here’s what you need to know going into it.

The Basics

There are a number of elections being contested across the UK today. These are:

  • Mayoral elections in London, Bristol, Liverpool, and Salford.
  • Council elections at 124 English councils.
  • Police Commissioner elections in England and Wales (but not London).
  • Northern Irish assembly elections.
  • Welsh assembly elections.
  • Scottish Parliament elections.
  • London assembly elections.

If you’re unsure of what you’re eligible to vote in, then BuzzFeed has put together a great tool. Just enter your postcode and it will tell you what elections are being held in your area.

Polls are open between 7 a.m. BST and 10 p.m. BST — go to your local polling station to vote, unless you signed up in advance for a postal vote. You don’t need to take your polling card with you to vote, but if you didn’t register (or were already registered), then it’s too late now — sorry!

We’ll get exit polls immediately after polls close at 10 p.m. BST (it’s actually illegal to publish any before then), with the proper results coming in as they’re counted overnight and into tomorrow morning.

Today is a test of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership — and David Cameron’s

Jeremy CorbynCarl Court/Getty ImagesLabour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, addresses supporters and members of the media as he launches his party’s local election campaign on April 5, 2016 in Harlow, England.

These elections will be a critical early test of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party.

The veteran politician has huge support among the party base, but the Parliamentary party is far less warm towards him, amid fears his politics are too left-wing for the general public.

A strong result will be taken by his supporters as a vindication of his approach, while heavy losses could provoke open rebellion in the Commons.

The elections will also serve as a barometer of public confidence in David Cameron’s government. It has been a year since the Conservative Prime Minister returned to power with an outright (though slim) majority, allowing him to discard his coalition partners; today will give us a indication as to what Britain thinks of the Tory’s performance flying solo thus far.

Right now, it’s not looking great for Corbyn. Polling in late April suggested that Labour could be in line for the “worst council defeat in opposition in 34 years,” according the The Telegraph, with the party standing to lose as many as 220 council seats if it polls 4 points behind the Conservatives.

We’re about to discover the electoral cost of Labour’s anti-Semitism row

Over the last week or so, Labour has been caught in a ugly firestorm over allegations of anti-Semitism within the party.

Two senior Labour party members — MP Naz Shah and former London mayor Ken Livingstone — have been suspended over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks, and on Monday, the Telegraph reported that the party has secretly suspended more than 50 party members over “anti-Semitic and racist comments.”

Labour is battling to keep the crisis under control, launching an independent inquiry into the issue. But the Conservatives have hammered Labour on the issue, with David Cameron bringing it up on the eve of the elections during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

We will soon discover whether the row has harmed Labour in the polls.

Labour is tipped to win in London

The London mayoral election is a two-horse race between Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Ken Livingstone. Though Tory Boris Johnson has served as mayor since 2008, London as a whole is traditionally Labour heartland, and Khan is odds-on favourite to win.

Ken livingstone london mayorPeter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)Former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

The race is complicated by the fact that one of the Labour figures suspended in the anti-Semitism row is Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor, who made (and repeatedly defended) bizarre remarks claiming that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist. Khan was swift to condemn Livingstone, but it remains to be seen whether the issue has affected his chances.

With that said, the Conservative campaign in London hasn’t been free of accusations of racism either. Rhetoric in the election has been remarkably ugly, with Goldsmith attacking Khan — a Muslim — as a “radical” and attacking his judgment for sharing a platform with alleged Islamic extremists.

Khan’s camp has countered that Goldsmith’s tactics amount to “dog-whistle racism,” intended to play on voters’ prejudices.

The Tories could move into second place in Scotland

The nationalist SNP currently has a resounding majority in the Scottish Parliament — 69 seats to second-place Labour’s 37. The SNP will be seeking to maintain this majority, while the Conservatives — who currently hold 15 seats in Holyrood — are angling to slip past Labour into second place in Scotland.

There’s a question mark over the future of the police and crime commissioner elections

The most interesting result to come out of the police and crime commissioner elections, held in England and Wales, won’t be the winners — it will be the turnout.

Introduced in 2012, turnout in these elections has typically been abysmal, and many are calling for them to ditched altogether.

Stay tuned for more…

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats are battling in their first major elections since leaving government, and the Welsh and Irish assemblies are up for grabs.

We’ll be covering all the day’s events live, reporting on the ground and linking out to other coverage we’re appreciating, so check back in regularly for the latest developments and the exit polls and results after the polls close.

This is a liveblog of the day’s events and will be updated frequently. Refresh the page for the latest news, or click here.

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