Analysis: Local elections in Cumbria and South Scotland

Election Day 2012 Photo: ITV

Electors in Carlisle and South Lakeland will go to the polls today to elect a third of councillors to their respective town halls.

Most attention will focus on the result in Carlisle. It is one of Labour's key targets which is why both Ed Miliband and David Cameron have visited. The present make up of the council shows why it is very much in play. The Conservatives have 22 members, the Lib Dems four, Labour are on 24 and there is one Independent councillor. The Local Government Information Unit has highlighted Carlisle as one of the key 50 contests nationally to keep a close eye on. Down in South Lakeland the Lib Dems are the dominant force (thanks in part of the high profile of local MP and party president Tim Farron). Six of their 32 seats are up for decision as are nine of the Tories current crop.

Across the border in Scotland, elections in Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders are for the whole council in both cases. Local elections in Scotland are conducted using a proportional system (STV or single transferable vote) which means it's likely to be mid-afternoon on Friday by the time all the seats will be filled.

Across Scotland the SNP are hoping to build on their success in the Holyrood elections. In the South of Scotland, attention will also focus on how well the vote of the coalition parties holds up under a twin assault from Labour and the SNP.