Prime Minister Theresa May and her Government are facing huge challenges at both local and central levels amidst the ongoing political turmoil surrounding Brexit. Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn remains under immense pressure around the party's stance on Brexit as well as the ongoing anti-Semitism row within the party and beyond. Both have been closely watching the results which started to come in at midnight.
‧ Voting took place to elect more than 8,000 councillors in 248 English councils
‧ Northern Ireland will elect 462 councillors in 11 councils
‧ You can check what time results are expected for your region HERE
‧ Remaining results are scheduled to come in throughout Friday, mostly between midday and 6pm BST
‧ Northern Ireland will take longer to come through because they have a different voting system
Follow below for live updates. All times BST.
Local elections 2019: Both leaders will be watching the results closely (Image: Getty/Express)
12.11am update: Herefordshire remains NOC
12.05pm update: Tories hold Tunbridge Wells
12pm update: Tories hold Maldon
11.55am update: Count phase two begins - results coming in fast
Here is a cluster just in:West Oxfordshire - Con hold Amber Valley - Lab gain from Con Blackburn with Darwen - Lab hold Gateshead - Lab hold South Oxfordshire - NOC gain from Con
11.40am update: Early results show Amber Valley set to fall from Conservatives to Labour
Unexpectedly, Amber Valley looks like it will move from a Conservative council to a Labour one.
11.20am update: Early results from North East Derbyshire
Results are coming in from NE Derbyshire and it seems that the Labour Council Leader Graham BaxterLabour has lost his seat to the Tories.
11.10am update: Corbyn: We're disappointed but the only party appealing to both sides
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is in Trafford, where Labour has been celebrating taking control of the council, which was previously under no overall control.
Speaking to the BBC, he admitted to being disappointed in the results.
He said: Of course we wanted to do better. We always want to do better. That’s why we’re in politics.”
He also admitted Brexit was a factor, but said Labour was the only party appealing to people on both sides of the debate.
He said: “Some of them were local factors. Some of them were people probably disagreeing with both parties on attitudes to towards the European Union.
“Our policy is that we are the only party that seeks to appeal to people however they voted in 2016, and to ensure that we try to defend jobs and working conditions in this country.”
Local elections: Corbyn celebrates the election result for Trafford Council (Image: PA)
11am update: Green Party feeling celebratory
The Green Party are very happy with their results so far - their co-leader Jonathan Bartley has called it "the biggest election night in our history".
By the most recent tally, they have gained 42 councillors.
10.15am update: Sunderland's Labour leader blaming party support for second referendum
Ian Lavery, the Labour party chairman, told BBC News this morning that the Labour leader of Sunderland council was blaming the party’s support for the option of a second referendum as the reason for it losing nine seats on the council.
He said: “People want to see Brexit over and done with.”
10am update: 'Three-party politics is back' - Sir Vince
Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Lib Dems, has tweeted that his party are the "big winners" of the night and heralded the return to three-party politics as the Conservatives and Labour suffered heavy losses.
Local elections 2019: Sir Vince's tweet (Image: Twitter/Vince Cable)
9.44am update: Peterborough a crushing loss for the Tories ahead of byelection
The Conservatives have lost Peterborough city council to no overall control after three years in charge of the consistently marginal authority.
The Tories now hold 28 of 60 seats on the council after the party lost three seats to Labour and one each to the Green party and the Liberal Democrats, but also gained one seat from Labour.
Ukip lost the only seat it held on the council to the Lib Dems.
Labour remains the second largest group on the council with 17 seats, followed by the Lib Dems with nine.
There is particular interest in the city because there will be a byelection in Peterborough on June 6 after the successful recall petition against Fiona Onasanya, who was elected as a Labour MP but then jailed for lying about a speeding offence.
9.40am update: Which councils have changed hands?
Read HERE for a full list of results and which councils have changed hands.
9.30am update: Are these elections just a big opinion poll on Brexit?
The obvious story emerging from these results is voters abandoning the two main parties over Brexit.
There is undoubtedly some truth in that, as remain voters are draws to Lib Dems while leave opt for independent or don't vote at all.
But we shouldn’t forget the importance of local issues, or that these elections are about electing councillors to run crucial local services ranging from collecting council tax, bin collections, local planning and council housing.
Local elections 2019 results: Lib Dem leader Vince Cable (Image: Getty)
9.15am update: Tory chairman says results deliver clear message over Brexit
Brandon Lewis, the Conservative party chairman, was on the Today programme this morning discussing the Conservative drubbing in the elections.
He said: "I absolutely accept that there is huge frustration, not just with our members and activists, but the public around where parliament and we have got ourselves to on delivering on Brexit. I think there is a very clear message to both parties that we have to get on with getting Brexit done."
8.46am update: Conservatives lose South Oxfordshire to NOC
Conservatives lost 23 seats mainly to LibDems who gained 11. The Greens took 5 seats.
The council is now under no overall control.
8.15am: That's the end of vote count phase one
Almost all of the councils expected to declare overnight have done so, so you can expect a little lull in results now.
To summarise: The Conservatives have lost control of 16 councils and have suffered a net loss of 409 seats. Labour has lost control of two councils and had a net loss of 60 seats.
The Liberal Democrats have made substantial gains. They have gained control of nine councils and achieved a net gain of 283 seats, according to the latest figures.
8am update: Stoke on Trent declares NOC but one of Tories better results
Stoke on Trent remains under no overall control (NOC) but Conservatives have gained 8 seats so should be more firmly in the driving seat than they were before.
Labour was targeting Stoke so this is one of the Conservative's better results tonight.
7.50am update: If you're just joining us, here's what's happened overnight:
It's been a pretty bad night for Labour and a terrible night for the Conservatives as voters punish the main parties over central politics and Brexit chaos.
But it's been a great night for the Liberal Democrats.
They were always expected to pick up seats, but they're taking entire councils, with eight won so far.
The Conservatives are down four hundred council seats and 14 councils. Labour are down 80 seats and 2 councils.
Less reported but equally significant is over 200 independent, or small party, candidates taking seats.
Results will keep coming in throughout the course of the day and we'll update this blog as they do.
Local elections 2019: Lib Dem councillors celebrate winning control of Bath and North East Somerset (Image: PA)
7.45am update: Lib Dems take Vale of White Horse from the Conservatives
Another council goes to the Lib Dems.
7.40am update: 'A plague on both your houses'
Change UK MP Anna Soubry, formerly a Conservative, has said the local election results deliver a Shakespearean threat to the main parties.
She tweeted: "Strikes me that on the basis of the results in so far - the message to both main parties is 'plague on both your houses.' People are voting for change and change is indeed coming."
The quote - 'a plague on both your houses' - is from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, delivered by Mercucio as he is dying as a result of conflict between the two central families.
7.20am update: Conservatives and Labour facing Brexit backlash as smaller parties pick up seats
National politics have played a major role in these elections, as voters punish the leading and opposition parties amid the Brexit turmoil.
The Conservatives have lost about 400 seats so far, with some expecting the figure to rise to at least 800.
Labour hasn't suffered quite as badly, gaining Trafford, but were dealt crushing blows in Hartlepool and Wirral.
The Lib Dems are emerging as major winners of the vote, already gaining more than 270 seats, and control of eight councils.
7am: Kate Whitfield taking over live reporting
6.17am update: Conservatives LOSE Chelmsford
The Lib Dems have collected yet another council from the Conservatives.
It may not be mauling the Conservatives were expecting, the Lib Dems are having a cracking night.
More misery for Theresa May.
6.05am update: 14 councils lost for the Conservatives
The Conservatives have now lost 14 council while gaining, as the Lib Dems really turn the screw.
The Tories have just lost control of Broxtowe, while the Lib Dems have just picked up another victory in North Devon, following hot on the heels of the Independents picking up North Kesteven from the Tories.
Theresa May's Windsor and Maidenhead council remains Conservative.
More losses for the Conservatives (Image: GETTY)
5.53am update: Lib Dems GAIN Hinckley and Bosworth
Another victory for the Libs Dems who have secured another Tory council.
The Lib Dems are now up 236 councillors, while the Conservatives have lost 347.
Labour currently losing 76.
5.18am update: Independents GAIN control of Ashfield
First victory of the night for the Independents who take control of the previously hung council.
Labour has also lost overall control of Bolsover.
The Tories hold West Lindsey and Dartford.
5am update: Tory LOSE Cotswold and Folkstone & Hythe
The Conservatives have lost the Cotswold to the Liberal Democrats.
Folkstone & Hythe is now under no overall control.
4.31am update: Lib Dems WIN again
A third victory of the night for the Lib Dems.
They have claimed North Norfolk, which was originally under no overall control.
4.21am update: Tory losses up to 200
A penny for Theresa May's thoughts.
Many thought they would suffer tonight and there are still many, many councils to announce their results.
203 councillors have lost their seats, with the Conservatives currently on 656.
4.13am update: 'Best ever result' - council leader in Eastleigh
Eastleigh Borough Council's leader Keith House hails the Lib Dems' retention of control.
He tweeted: "Best ever overall results for the Lib Dems in Eastleigh Parliamentary constituency.
"There are now no elected Conservatives at any level of local authority there: County, Borough, Town or Parish."
4.10am update: Conservative LOSE Winchester
The Lib Dems have won control of Winchester City Council, the Conservative leader and former council chief has said on BBC.
4.05am update: No change in Dudley
Dudley remains as no overall control.
This follows holds for Labour in Leeds, Luton and Slough.
4.03am update: More reaction from gutted Conservatives
The outgoing Tory leader for Bath and North East Somerset council Tim Warren, who lost his seat, argues Brexit is why his party is losing the council.
He said: "We had a bad night, to say the least.
"We expected it to be bad, but not this bad.
"We were being told on the streets that people couldn't trust the Conservatives any more, and wouldn't vote for them because of Brexit."
4.01am update: Labour PUNISHED in election
According to Sky News, Nia Griffiths - Labour's shadow defence minister - said: “The lesson from this one is there are a lot of local factors.
"But I think there is an issue that people are generally turned off politics."
She added: “When people want to protest they often look for something different.”
3.45am update: Labour GAIN Trafford
Massive victory here for Labour as they gain their first council.
So far they have lost two gained one.
The Conservatives are expected to endure a pretty torrid morning as the majority of their councils in the south begin to filter in.
The Guardian's take on where the results are up to (Image: The Guardian)
3.35am udapte: Double BLOW as Conservatives suffer losses
BBC reporter Phil McCann has said that Labour have taken Ashton upon Mersey from the Tories.
The Lib Dems have also got in on the act to win their first council of the night by claiming Timperley from the Conservatives.
3.30am update: Lost votes in Telford
Reports are coming out that votes have gone missing in the vote for a Shropshire election.
The BBC’s Joanne Gallacher tweeted: “Around 150 votes have gone missing between verification and counting in St George’s ward at Telford and Wrekin local election count.
“I’m told Conservative candidates have called their head office for legal advice.”
3.26am update: ‘A painful night’
Sean Anstee, the leader of the Conservatives in Trafford, described the evening as “a painful night” after his party lost control.
He said to the BBC that there’s been “a sense of frustration that we haven’t been able to get Brexit over the line”.
He added: “That is a frustration with Parliament.”
3.18am update: Labour down on last year
Polling expert Sir John Curtice says Labour are around eight points down on 2018.
It's been another difficult night for Labour as well. They've lost two councils, Hartlepool and Wirral, and missed out on a number of its targeted councils.
3.15am update: Conservative GAIN a council
Tough night for the Tories but here's a second victory for them.
They claim North East Lincolnshire.
3.09am update: Labour continue in two more councils
Plymouth and Hull are both held.
Boston and North Warwickshire still remain under Conservative control.
The Lib Dems remain in control of their second council of the night in South Lakeland.
Barry Gardiner clashed with Mr Cleverly (Image: BBC)
3.01am update: Round-up so far
As things stand then, we have Labour with 579 councillors, which is down by 54.
The Conservatives are second on 478 but with the largest loss on the night so far with 105.
The Lib Dems are the night's biggest winners by far claiming an additional 76 seats to take their tally to 179.
Green are up to 19 councillors, UKIP down to just 9.
2.48am update: Three more holds for Labour
Southampton, Cambridge and Harlow remain under Labour's control.
2.44am update: Sixth council LOSS for Conservatives
Worcester has fallen for the Conservatives.
The party missed out by one seat to remain in control.
In other news, Copeland's independent mayor Mike Starkie remains in charge in the second mayoral election result.
2.39am update: Labour's Brexit position failed - Jess Phillips
The Labour MP wrote on Twitter: "I'm off to bed as have to be up at 7am to do the school run.
"My final word is that I think our position on Brexit has failed. Bravery is needed.
"If you combine kindness and effectiveness with a bit of grit most people will respect you even when they don't always agree."
2.37am update: New mayor for Middlesborough
The first mayoral election result is for Middlesborough and it's gone to an Independent.
Andy Preston will now take over from Labour's mayor.
2.34am update: Latest council results...
Derby and Colchester are still under no overall control.
Reading, Wakefield and Ipswich remain Labour.
Rugby is still in the hands of the Conservatives.
2.05am update: Labour losses because of position on Brexit, Sunderland leader claims
Labour leader of Sunderland Council, Graeme Miller told the BBC: "We've seen a massive voter protest on that issue.
"Hopefully the party will learn from it and will not make that mistake again.
"I lost 10 councillors tonight because the Brexit message has stepped into and over local politics."
2.03am update: Tories lose FIFTH council
The loses keep coming for the Conservatives.
Southend-on-Sea joins the list of losses of what is turning into a bad night for Mrs May.
They have so far lost 70 councillors across England.
2.02am update: Lib Dems great night continues
The Lib Dems have held on to Eastleigh Borough Council in Hampshire.
They have so far gained 55 seats across the country...
2am update: More LOSES for the Conservatives
St Albans and Peteborough both fall from the hands of the Conservatives.
Portsmouth, Stockport and Thurrock are still under no overall control.
1.38am update: Conservatives GAIN council
Despite suffering a pretty tough night so far, the Conservatives have picked up their first council.
Walsall had been a key target of the Conservatives and was under no overall control.
Conservatives' 32 beats Labour's 26.
1.35am update: Conservatives hold Rushmoor
Another hold for the Conservatives.
James Cleverly, the Brexit minister, appearing on BBC (Image: BBC)
1.29am update: UKIP asks 'where's Nigel?'
Talking on BBC, UKIP's Mike Hookem says his party are back and "doing very, very well".
He added: "We've had two years of turmoil. We're back on the rise again."
When asked about the threat from Nigel Farage's Brexit Party he asks "where is Nigel?"
"His party has no polices, no structure whatsoever and a leader who dictates everything," he says.
"In local elections that matter to a lot of people - where is Nigel and this party?"
1.20am update: Brexit minister reacts to Conservative loss in Basildon
James Cleverly has been talking on the BBC about the shock loss of Basildon.
He said that "we knew it was very tight but that is obviously a disappointment".
He added that he was pleased with the retention of Swindon.
1.19am update: Three more councils retained by Labour
Salford, Coventry and North Tyneside remain under Labour's control.
1.17am update: UKIP splinter group get first seat
The For Britain Movement has gained its first ever seat in Hartlepool.
The group is a splinter group from UKIP it has been reported by The Guardian.
1.10am update: Hart remains no overall control
The Lib Dems and Conservatives continue to share no overall control of Hart District Council
1.07am update: Conservative LOSE Tandridge council
The results are coming thick and fast now, as are the loses for Labour and Conservatives.
Another big loss for the Conservatives as Tandridge becomes the fourth council to have no overall control.
1.04am update: Labour LOSE control of Wirral
Another council goes to no