Leaders cast votes as Britain goes to the polls under dreary skiesReported by Metro.co.uk on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 (on May 2, 2012)
*David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have joined Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone in casting their votes in mayoral and council elections being held across England, Wales and Scotland.*
David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave the polling station in Westminster (Picture: PA)
Conservative incumbent Mr Johnson and his Labour challenger Mr Livingstone both voted early in the London mayoral elections, with prime minister Mr Cameron and leader of the opposition Mr Miliband being joined by their wives Samantha and Justine as they later cast their ballots.
Deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg voted alone in the Stannington area of Sheffield as his Spanish wife Miriam does not have a vote.
Boris Johnson and wife Marina after casting their votes (Picture: Getty)
More than 5,000 council seats are up for grabs across 181 local councils, while ten cities - Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield - are holding referendums on whether to have elected mayors.
New mayors are also being elected in Liverpool and Salford as well as London.
Ed Miliband and wife Justine cast their votes in north London (Picture: PA)
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are expecting bruising midterm defeats, while voters are expected to give proposals for directly-elected mayors a lukewarm response.
The bleak weather was also predicted to dampen voters' appetites to cast their ballots.
Ken Livingstone, his wife Emma and their son Tom arrive at a polling station in north London (Picture: PA)
'It will be a cold and wet morning for central and southern areas of England, and much of Wales,' said meteorologist Paul Mott of MeteoGroup.
'There'll be heavy rain across the south midlands throughout the morning, with patchy rain for parts of southern England, so it will be fairly wet for anyone venturing outside.
Nick Clegg casts his vote in Sheffield (Picture: PA)
'The rain will ease later in the day but it will still be a cold and damp afternoon.
'In northern England and Scotland, though, it will be dry and very mild at about 18 or 19C, with the highest temperatures in Glasgow.'
According to early reports turnout will be considerably lower in London than four years ago.
The seven candidates vying to run London explain why you should vote for them today:
Boris Johnson (Conservative): 'I believe my plan will make London ever safer – with 1,000 more police and 2,000 for local policing. It will continue our investment in transport. It will help business with low-cost loans. It will create 200,000 jobs over the next four years, while cutting council tax.'
Ken Livingstone (Labour): 'I will stand up for Londoners with a fare cut worth £1,000 to the average farepayer, action on soaring rents, loans and grants to help with childcare, an energy co-op to cut household energy costs, and reversing the Tories' police cuts.'
Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat): 'I will cut fares for those who can least afford to travel, with a one-hour bus ticket, early-bird Tube discounts and part-time season tickets. I will build 360,000 new homes, mostly social housing. And I will give young people a positive alternative to gangs with new Youth Hubs across the city.'
Jenny Jones (Green): 'A Green London will be a model for the world in addressing climate change, a city more equal, healthy and affordable. By voting Green on the Assembly, Londoners can make sure whoever is elected mayor is held to account and City Hall acts in the interests of London.'
Lawrence Ward (UKIP): 'We want to cut business rates, to stop the wasted empty houses in our city and to have a zero tolerance on crime, particularly gang-related crime. UKIP will be a true voice for Londoners on the Assembly.'
Siobhan Benita (Independent): 'People are tired of the traditional parties, I am the alternative. Vote for me if you want a mayor who will build low-cost homes, improve the education system, freeze fares, keep Tubes running later and address the top-five local concerns in every borough.'
Carlos Cortiglia (BNP): 'If you are fed up of demagogy, false promises and manipulated elections, give me your support to walk together towards real democracy in Britain.'
PICTURES: Britain goes to the polls
Links: Full news story
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