Party leaders await the verdict of voters

Polling stationh Image copyright PA

These are nervous times for Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband as they await the verdict of the voters - or, rather, some of them.

Even though almost all the votes will be cast in England and not other parts of the UK; even though it'll largely be the residents of the shires and not the cities; even though many people will choose not to vote, the results do matter - for national politics as well as local.

The Conservatives look certain to win the most council seats on the day - after all this is their natural territory. They also look certain to lose the most as they're defending gains made during Gordon Brown's nadir. If those losses are high - many hundreds that is - they'll trigger a bout of Tory introspection.

If one cause is a surge by the party the prime minister couldn't bring himself to name today - UKIP, led by the relentlessly confident Nigel Farage - he may face an open revolt.

Labour look sure to make significant gains but after Ed Miliband's week of wobbles his critics will ask whether they're enough and in the right places for him to be on course for Number 10. Nick Clegg will be examining the runes to see if the worst is finally over for his party.

Someone once said that all politics is local. Tomorrow will prove how true that is.