- Conservative Boris Johnson has been re-elected as mayor of London
- Labour make big gains in English local elections, with the BBC projecting a 38% vote share ahead of the Tories' 31% and Lib Dems' 16%
- Nine cities reject the idea of an elected mayor, but Bristol says "yes". Doncaster also votes to keep its mayor
- The SNP pulls ahead as the largest party in the Scottish council elections, while the Lib Dem vote collapses in several areas
- Labour leader Ed Miliband says the election shows his party are "regaining ground"
- David Cameron says the elections took place against a "difficult national backdrop" for the Conservatives
- Justin Parkinson
- Lucy Wilkins
Thursday 3 May: Welcome to the BBC's election coverage, with live updates of results and commentary from the local elections in England, Wales and Scotland, and mayoral elections in London, Liverpool and Salford.
Click here for an outline of the expected timings of results overnight and during the day on Friday.
The SNP will be hoping they can maintain their momentum after last year's spectacular Scottish Parliament victory. This year will see many close battles, particularly against Labour, and much talk ahead of the polls has been about the critical battle in Glasgow. Labour require a single gain to take control whereas the SNP would need a substantial 19, but the SNP gained five Scottish Parliament constituencies from Labour in the city last year, reducing it to three - so it's not beyond the realms of possibility.
2206Ross Hawkins, Political correspondent, BBC News
A Labour source says the party is confident of progress in key areas in the Midlands and South where there are no Labour MPs and where it needs to win in the 2015 general election.
You can watch the BBC's Vote 2012 special on BBC One and the BBC News Channel, from 2335 BST on Thursday to 0400 BST on Friday morning. Coverage switches to BBC Two later on Friday, with regular updates between 1200 BST and 1800 BST.
comments on the BBC News website: So, the Conservatives will lose seats, Labour will gain some. One will say "We did better than we expected" and the other "We did really well" cant we have something new please?
tweets: The first ballot box has arrived at the @lincdrillhall from Carholme ward ready to be verified and counted #localgov #elections
Listen to an Election Special from midnight until 0400 BST on Radio 4, and from 0030 BST until 0500 BST on Radio 5Live.