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Polling stations open as elections begin

PUBLISHED: 09:12 01 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

VOTERS across Suffolk were going to the polls today in the most important elections since 2001.

District and borough council seats across the country are up for grabs in what is seen as a vital test of popularity after the Iraq war.

VOTERS across Suffolk were going to the polls today in the most important elections since 2001.

District and borough council seats across the country are up for grabs in what is seen as a vital test of popularity after the Iraq war.

Although seats in all councils are up for election, the shape of the polls differs significantly.

In Ipswich a third of the council is up for grabs – and thousands of votes have already been cast by e-voting.

In the town there is a full slate of candidates for every seat.

Elsewhere the picture is different: In Suffolk Coastal, Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils the complete authority is up for election.

But in all of these there are several wards where there is no election because there are not enough candidates for a contest.

The Conservatives are hoping to retain power in Suffolk Coastal while they are gunning for the Liberal Democrat-labour coalition which runs Mid Suffolk.

Babergh has traditionally been a politically independent council – but that could change this time.

Nationally the parties will be looking hard at their results around the country – with Iain Duncan Smith having the most at stake.

If the Conservatives do not make improvements on their performance in 1999, the last time these councils were up for election, there could be mounting pressure for a change of leadership among grassroot Tories.


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