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Live Reporting

Sinead Wilson, Lucy Webster, Paul Seddon and Johanna Howitt

All times stated are UK

  1. Scottish debate coverage gets under way

    That's all for our live coverage of today's election campaigning.

    But our BBC Scotland colleagues will be bringing you coverage of the final leaders' debate.

    Follow all the build-up and the debate itself here.

    The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, Tory Douglas Ross, Labour's Anas Sarwar, Green Patrick Harvie and Lib Dem Willie Rennie will take part in the BBC Scotland programme at 19:50.

    Before that, interviews will be aired with smaller party leaders, including Alba's Alex Salmond, All for Unity's George Galloway, Reform UK Scotland's Michelle Ballantyne and UKIP Scotland's Donald Mackay.

    It's the final televised debate before the Holyrood elections on Thursday - so head on over to keep up to date.

    And we'll be back tomorrow to cover the final day of campaigning across the UK. Join us then!

  2. What's the biggest issue for younger voters?

    It depends which survey you read, but one poll by messaging app Snapchat suggests mental health is the number one concern for young voters.

    The issue was raised as the biggest concern for 40% of 1,500 surveyed between the ages of 16-25.

    Some 46% of those surveyed also said they believed the UK government should be investing more in healthcare in general, while 39% said they were concerned about getting more sustainable energy, and 38% wanted to see a ban on single-use plastics.

  3. Countdown to Scotland's party leaders final TV debate

    Scottish party leaders

    The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, Conservative Douglas Ross, Labour's Anas Sarwar, Green Patrick Harvie and Lib Dem Willie Rennie will take part in the final TV debate before Thursday's Holyrood election.

    The party leaders debate will be on BBC One Scotland, starting at 19:50. It is being hosted by BBC Scotland Political Editor Glenn Campbell, and will last 70 minutes.

    At 1900, BBC Scotland will air interviews with smaller parties contesting the Scottish election, including Alba leader Alex Salmond, All for Unity’s George Galloway, Reform UK Scotland leader Michelle Ballantyne and UKIP Scotland’s Donald Mackay.

    In the run up to the programmes, we'll be handing over to our colleagues on the BBC Scotland news website who will bring you the events live and in full, with added analysis.

    They can also be viewed on the BBC's News Channel and the iPlayer.

  4. Postal vote issues in some areas

    Postal ballot

    Worcester Council says a number of people across the city who have not received their postal voting papers, despite having requested them weeks ago.

    The local authority says it’s also been contacted by several electoral candidates, who raised the issue.

    It is asking anyone who has not yet received their papers to contact its election team as quickly as possible. The council does not yet know how many papers are missing.

    There was also a delay in sending out postal votes in Sheffield, with 15,000 going out over the Bank Holiday weekend. People are being encouraged to return the ballots on the day they arrive.

    The Electoral Commission said it was aware some councils had reported printing issues and it was supporting them to have everything in place before polls open on Thursday.

    Completed postal votes must be returned by the close of voting at 10pm on Thursday. Those who have not managed to send their ballots back can hand them in at their local polling station.

  5. The unknowns which could decide the Scottish elections

    Philip Sim

    BBC Scotland political correspondent

    With two days to go until the Holyrood election, there seems to be little mystery about the final result - with only the SNP talking about forming a government. But there are still some key questions to be answered, which could have a huge bearing on Scotland's future.

    Will the SNP secure an outright majority? Could they build a pro-independence majority with the help of other, smaller parties? Will the Conservatives hold off a Labour challenge in the battle for second place? And what are the factors which could help answer these questions?

    Five key factors could determine the answers to these critical questions:

    • Who will turn out to vote?
    • What impact will smaller parties have?
    • Who will win key marginal constituencies?
    • What about the pandemic?
    • What's happening in regional strongholds?

    Read Philip's full analysis of these questions here.

  6. Davey: Environment at heart of Lib Dem campaign

    Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has been campaigning in Edinburgh today.

    He said Covid had reminded everyone just how important local community is and his party was offering "local champions" in these elections.

    He added that people appreciate their local green spaces more than ever and the Lib Dems had put the environment at the heart of their campaign.

    Sir Ed said: "The Liberal Democrat environment record in local government is unbeatable, whether it's delivering the country's first clean air zone outside of London to topping the country's leader board for recycling rates."

  7. England local elections: Middlesbrough family's library lifeline

    Video content

    Video caption: Public libraries have borne the brunt of council cuts but one town is bucking the national trend.

    Almost 700 libraries have closed across Britain since 2010 as councils look at ways to save money, but in Middlesbrough they are spending more.

    It is thought almost one in 10 children in the town do not own a book and it has a problem with literacy.

    Mother-of-three Nisha Mayuran, who is originally from Sri Lanka, has made it her family home.

    Ahead of Thursday's local elections across England , she explains how important the library is to her and her children.

    Journalist: Chris Robinson, filmed and edited: Chris Middis

  8. Khan still favourite to win in London - poll

    Labour's Sadiq Khan is on course for a second term as London mayor, the latest opinion poll suggests, although his likely margin of victory could be narrower than previously predicted.

    For much of the campaign, pollsters have been suggesting Mr Khan could win on the first round of ballots, with more than 50% of first preference votes, under the Supplementary Vote system used in the contest.

    A new poll by Opinium suggests Mr Khan will not get more than 50% of first preference votes, but he will get 63% of the vote after second preferences have been counted.

    According to Opinium, crime has now overtaken the NHS as the most important issue for Londoners. This is the only topic they've polled on where the Conservative candidate, Shaun Bailey, has a slight lead over Mr Khan.

    The Liberal Democrats and Greens are in a close contest for third and fourth places, according to the poll.

    The survey was of 1,005 London adults over 18, between 28 April to 3 May.

  9. Your questions answered

    Why isn't the BBC saying anything about the town and parish council elections?

    Question from Paul Hodson, Buckingham

    Parish councils control millions of pounds in public funds, and influence our day-to-day lives.

    On 6 May, people across England will vote in local authority elections. But some live in areas where seats on parish and town councils - the most local of local authorities - will also be up for grabs.

    You can read more here in our guide: What do parish councils actually do?

    BBC reporter Jacob Tomlinson caught up with England's most well-known parish councillor Jackie Weaver, who told him: "The place where you live, that's where we can make a difference".

    Video content

    Video caption: The viral parish councillor tells us how parish councils work and why they're important
  10. Your questions answered

    Will there be legislation on social care in the Queen's Speech?

    Question from Mel Akers in Worcestershire

    The government is due to set out its law-making priorities for the next year on Tuesday next week, when the Queen will officially open the next annual "session" at the State Opening of Parliament.

    There have been reports that the speech will contain an ambition to reform the sector. But nothing has been officially announced as things stand.

    Boris Johnson said he had a "clear plan" for social care when he took office in July 2019 and has been under pressure from opposition parties to announce a detailed blueprint.

  11. Elections 2021: A very simple guide

    polling station in the rain

    If you're just joining us, welcome to our coverage of the last few days of campaigning.

    Thursday sees a bumper set of elections, including for:

    • The Scottish and Welsh parliaments
    • 143 English councils
    • Mayors in 13 areas, including London
    • The London Assembly
    • 39 police and crime commissioners
    • The MP for Hartlepool

    Each election has its own system and some people can vote in more than one poll. We've produced a very simple guide to all the different elections so you know what is happening in your area and across the country.

  12. Police investigate brownie gifts

    A plate of chocolate brownies
    Image caption: It's been suggest the brownies (not these ones) were in a box that read 'Vote Labour'.

    Police are investigating claims the Labour candidate for West Yorkshire Mayor has broken election laws.

    There are allegations Tracy Brabin broke the law by offering people brownies.

    A Lib Dem Councillor, Tom Gordon, tweeted it was the "second time in as many days" he had seen Ms Brabin "out and about with boxes of brownies on them that say "Vote Labour" on them".

    Labour says the cakes were offered to party members after they had been campaigning – which would not be against the rules.

    The Electoral Commission says there is only a breach of the law if there is “corrupt intent” and it does not apply to hospitality.

  13. Your questions answered

    Can Scotland hold a legal referendum without agreement from Westminster?

    Question from James in London

    The 2014 independence referendum was underpinned by a so-called section 30 order, under which Westminster gave the Scottish Parliament the power to carry out the vote.

    The SNP says it will seek this power again if this month's Scottish Parliament elections produce a majority in favour of holding a new referendum.

    The party says if this request is rebuffed, it would pass a bill to hold a new referendum and it would be up to the UK government to challenge it in the courts.

    The UK government maintains that votes on constitutional matters require the prior agreement of Westminster.

  14. Your questions answered

    Why does London not have an elected police and crime commissioner?

    Question from Maxone in London

    In Greater London, the elected mayor is responsible for policing and has the same responsibilities as police and crime commissioners do in other areas.

    The role of a PCC in London is carried out by the mayor’s appointed deputy for policing and crime.

    The mayor also appoints the Metropolitan Police commissioner, who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the force and holds them to account.

    Video content

    Video caption: Elections 2021: The mayor and the Met
  15. A view from the heart of the 'red wall'

    The World at One

    BBC Radio 4

    Dudley is at the heart of the so-called' red wall' - the belt of Midlands and Northern seats that returned Labour politicians for decades.

    But like many of its neighbours, it is starting to turn blue: it already has two Tory MPs, and the council is run by a minority Conservative administration.

    For Radio Four's World at One, BBC political reporter Rob Mayor has been finding out what people think of the upcoming elections:

    Council leader Patrick Harley is hoping to win a Conservative majority on Thursday. He says it will allow the town to attract investment from central government, as it has been doing for the last few years.

    But leader of the Labour group, Cllr Qadar Zada, says unemployment is "up by 75%" during the pandemic, with 20,000 young people out of work. Residents are also worried about crime, he says.

    Wendy Farmer, who has run a stall in the town's market for 30 years, says trade has fallen as all the big shops have closed. The council has not helped during the pandemic, she says.

    But she supports the prime minister. "Those that criticise, I'd like to see them them do what he's had to put up with in the last 12 months," she says.

    A full list of all the candidate standing in the area can be found here.

  16. Your questions answered

    What impact has Covid had on campaigning in Scotland?

    Question from James Georgeson in South Lanarkshire

    The pandemic has had a serious impact on campaigning in Scotland, but things have become a bit easier for the parties as some restrictions have been lifted.

    Leafleting was allowed from 15 March, with campaigners allowed to do face-to-face doorstep canvassing in most areas of Scotland from 12 April, and most campaigners had to remain in their local areas until 1 May.

    Campaigning was also paused following the death of Prince Philip.

  17. Your questions answered

    Will I be able to watch the results live on Thursday night?

    Question from Gabriel Beck in Eastbourne

    Because the pandemic will delay vote-counting (see our post earlier), the BBC's results programme will begin later than usual at 09.00 BST on Friday on the BBC News Channel, BBC Two and the BBC iPlayer.

    It will also be shown on BBC One in the afternoon. Huw Edwards and Kirsty Wark will lead the show, which will be co-hosted from London and Edinburgh.

    Special coverage will continue on Saturday from 13.15 BST to 22.00 BST.

    The BBC News website will have all the results as they are announced, with live results, and live pages with the latest reaction and analysis from our correspondents.

  18. What have we learned on the campaign trail today?

    Starmer Johnson and Davey

    With just two days to go until polling day, some of the party leaders have been on the campaign trail. We have not seen Boris Johnson on any election visits today because he has been doing a virtual meeting with the Indian PM.

    Here's what we have learned so far:

    • Sir Keir Starmer says he will take "full responsibility" for Labour's performance in this Thursday's elections, adding that Labour still had "a mountain to climb" after its "devastating" 2019 general election defeat
    • International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, says voters are focused on issues relevant to their lives - such as the economy and covid recovery - rather than allegations of Downing Street "sleaze"
    • Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, on the campaign trail in Edinburgh, says Tories criticising the timing of an Electoral Commission probe into the Downing Street flat controversy were "damaging democracy". He accused Boris Johnson of being "a dangerous prime minister".
  19. Your questions answered

    When will the results be in? Will counting take longer this year?

    Question from Ruth Yarwood in Anglesey

    Counting will be unusual this year because of the Covid pandemic, and will last several days.

    Some counts, like the Hartlepool by-election, will take place overnight on Thursday. We will know all the results for the Welsh Senedd on Friday.

    Scotland starts counting in some areas on Friday but there won't be a final result until Saturday, or possibly even Sunday.

    English councils are spread over four days from Thursday night until Sunday. A dozen of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England won't count until Monday.

  20. Your questions answered

    Is it too late to send off my postal vote?

    Question from Finn in Tunbridge Wells

    If you are worried about your completed postal vote not arriving in time, you can hand it in at your local polling station before voting closes at 22.00 BST on Thursday.

    Alternatively, you can take it to your local electoral registration office before it closes on Thursday.