Elections were taking place at councils across the West Midlands today as the Conservatives fight to hold on to seats won four years ago.
The party made gains in 2008 as former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown's popularity slumped. Polling stations were today open in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell,
Dudley, Cannock Chase and Wyre Forest where a third of the council seats were up for election. Opinion polls put the Tories on around 32 per cent with Labour on 41 per cent.
The Liberal Democrats are futher behind on nine.
Birmingham City Council is also a key target for the Labour party as it seeks to win control back from a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition after eight years in opposition.
Walsall could also see a change of control from the Conservatives to Labour. Both parties had 27 seats each and Labour would need to win an extra four to have an outright majority.
Labour gained eight seats at the elections last year and then another in a by-election in the Bloxwich East ward in the autumn.
Cannock Chase is currently held by a minority Labour administration of 16 councillors with opposition from 13 Tories, nine Lib Dems and two Liberals.
In Sandwell, the opposition Conservative have eight and six of those are up for re-election today. The one remaining Lib Dem Sadie Smith is also defending her seat.
In Wolverhampton, 11 of the city's 22 opposition Tories are defending seats , while the Liberal Democrats were defending one of their three seats in the Spring Vale ward.
In Dudley, the Tories currently hold 43 seats compared with 28 Labour and one for the United Kingdom Independence Party.
The Conservatives are seeking to retain control of Wyre Forest District Council as councillors in 14 out of 42 seats were facing the electorate today.