Shropshire Star

Voters reminded to take photo ID as they head to the polls for historic elections

Voters across the region were today heading to the polls for an historic round of local elections.

Local elections are taking place across the region today

For the first time voters will need to produce photo ID in order to cast their ballots, with ministers saying the move is necessary in order to prevent voter fraud.

Nationally it is one of the biggest sets of local elections in recent years, with 8,000 seats being contested over 237 councils.

More than 300 seats are up for grabs across nine local authorities in the Black Country, parts of Staffordshire and Wyre Forest.

In Telford & Wrekin Labour will be hoping to retain control of the authority for another four years, but has competition from the Conservatives, with both parties fielding a candidate for all 54 available seats.

The Liberal Democrats are contesting 27 seats, and the Green Party 13.

'All out' elections – where every seat will go to a vote – are taking place in Wolverhampton, Stafford, South Staffordshire, Wyre Forest and Lichfield, while around one third of all seats are available in Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Cannock Chase.

The elections mark the first major test at the ballot box for the Conservatives since Rishi Sunak was elected Prime Minister last October.

Polls suggest Labour could gain more than 600 seats nationally, while the Lib Dems and the Greens are also expected to make gains.

Voters have been reminded to take photo ID – such as a passport or driving licence – with them when casting their ballot.

Sandwell’s returning officer, Shokat Lal, said: "Please be prepared and make sure you have the photo ID you need if you plan to vote at a polling station."

Results will be declared from the early hours of tomorrow morning.