Elections 2021: Parties campaign on final day before 'super Thursday' votes

5 May 2021, 09:55 | Updated: 5 May 2021, 13:28

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer are travelling across England on their final day of campaigning before polls open
Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer are travelling across England on their final day of campaigning before polls open. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Party leaders and activists are preparing for the frantic last day of town visits, photo opportunities and leaflet deliveries before voters head to the polls on what is being dubbed 'super Thursday'.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer are expected to make their final pitches to voters in England before polling stations open for every adult across England, Scotland and Wales - something rare outside of a general election.

With the coronavirus pandemic delaying a host of elections by 12 months, it means there will be two years' worth of polls taking place across Great Britain on a single day.

READ MORE: Guide to ‘Super Thursday’ as Britain heads to the polls

Sir Keir, who has clocked up 7,500 miles over the course of 65 events, will visit West Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the West of England in a final tour ahead of polls opening at 7am on Thursday.

Voters will decide the new make-up of English councils, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Senedd and decide who holds power in city halls, with a several areas choosing regional mayors.

Hartlepool will also elect a new MP as Labour looks to keep a seat that has been red since its inception in the 1970s - something looking increasingly unlikely as a Survation poll released on Tuesday put the Conservatives 17 points ahead.

Pollsters predict Sir Keir is facing an uphill battle to hold onto Labour's traditional heartlands as the party continues to struggle with many Brexit-supporting 'red wall' seats across Northern England.

Meanwhile, Labour sources are also said to have told the Guardian it was in danger of losing control of Sunderland City Council and Durham County Council for the first time in 50 years.

READ MORE: Key times to watch as ‘Super Thursday’ looms

READ MORE: All you need to know about the Hartlepool by-election as Tories receive boost in the polls

Sir Keir, who has visited Hartlepool three times during the campaign, acknowledged the party had a "mountain to climb" to rebuild trust with voters.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he said: "The task I took on as leader of the Labour Party was to rebuild, out of the worst general election result since 1935, and put the Labour Party back in a position to win the next general election.

"And that's a mountain to climb. We're climbing that mountain, it has taken difficult decisions and I'm absolutely up for any further difficult decisions there will be."

But the party is expected to have resounding victories with the re-election of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Conservative candidates and activists are spending Wednesday delivering the last round of leaflets
Conservative candidates and activists are spending Wednesday delivering the last round of leaflets. Picture: PA Images
Parties are delivering their final rounds of leaflets before polling day
Parties are delivering their final rounds of leaflets before polling day. Picture: PA Images

While quietly confident, the Conservatives are facing their own problems with almost daily accusations of 'Tory sleaze' at the heart of Government and an ongoing row between Downing Street and the PM's former senior aide Dominic Cummings - something which has hit the party in the most recent round of polling.

Meanwhile Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, is also due to hold a campaign event on the eve of the polls opening, while parties across Scotland will set out their stall in a programme of visits before the Holyrood contest.

READ MORE: Welsh 16 and 17-year-olds head to vote for first time in 'historic' election

The SNP is hoping to make gains on its already substantial majority, while Labour is fighting with the Conservatives for second place.

In Wales, where Labour dominates, the party is hoping to regain full control of the Senedd after years of governing as a minority and relying on opposition parties to get legislation through the parliament.

Results will not counted and announced as fast as a general election, with the majority being counted during the day on Friday with results due from lunchtime and peaking in the evening.

Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday 6 May.