UK Politics
Number of councillors After 150 of 150 councils
  1. Labour, 2350 councillors, +79
  2. Conservative, 1332 councillors, -35
  3. Liberal Democrat, 536 councillors, +75
  4. Green, 39 councillors, +8
  5. UKIP, 3 councillors, -123
  6. Others, 144 councillors, -4

Conservatives fighting for every vote in 'difficult' local polls

Conservative councils are cheaper to run and deliver better services, the party's chairman has said as the local election campaign nears its end.

Brandon Lewis conceded Thursday's polls in England would be "difficult" for his party but it was fighting for "every vote in every ward in every council".

He attacked rivals' bin collections records and singled out Tory-run Trafford, a Labour target, for praise.

Thursday's polls will see elections in 150 councils across England.

The Conservatives are defending 1,365 seats and face a strong challenge from Labour, particularly in London.

While not being drawn on specific targets or the party's hopes on overall vote share, Mr Lewis said a successful night would see the party "get more of those Conservative councillors elected".

Labour, he suggested, was talking up its chances of winning control of "every council" in the capital, including historic Conservative flagships like Wandsworth and Westminster.

But he said he hoped voters there and elsewhere would ultimately recognise what he said was the greater value for money and efficiency on offer from Conservative councils.

"Eight years into government, these elections are always going to be a difficult set for elections for us," he said.

"But we are out there working for every single vote in every part of the country.

"Good Conservative candidates and councillors working hard to show what we can do and the fact that Conservative councils, on average, are cheaper and deliver better frontline services."

Mr Lewis, who was named chairman by Theresa May in January, suggested the Brexit negotiations were not having much of an impact on the campaign and it was local issues that were to the fore.

"People are focused on the issues that matter to them, the issues that councils decide upon that effect our lives every day.

"Whether it is in Birmingham where the Labour council has completely failed to even collect the rubbish for long periods of time or Trafford where people recognise a good Conservative council making huge investment with very low council tax."

What elections are there on Thursday?

Voters go to the polls across England on 3 May for local elections with seats on about 150 unitary authorities, metropolitan, district and borough councils up for grabs.

In some councils, all the seats are being contested while, in others, a third of councillors are up for re-election. The majority of the seats being fought for were last elected in 2014.

Councils are responsible for a range of local services, including schools, parking, leisure facilities and recycling - which they fund through different sources, including council tax and government grants.

For a party to run a local authority, it needs to have a majority of councillors on it. Plenty of councils, including 23 councils being contested this time around, are under no overall control.

There are no local elections this year in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.