Knife crime, helping London businesses recover from Covid and bringing your own pencil to vote are among the election issues discussed by local voters in Colliers Wood today (May 6).

Our reporters have been out talking to local voters at a polling station in Colliers Wood on an important if unusual election day.

Today's so-called 'Super Thursday' is the biggest set of elections outside a general election in nearly 50 years, with around 48 million people given the chance to have their say.

In London, polls have opened for the London Mayoral elections and for the London Assembly, with votes cast despite Covid-19 restrictions still in place.

Mandatory face masks, a socially distanced queue system and the unusual request to bring your own pen have made the election day a little different to those gone by, but that hasn't stopped residents in south London from making it to their local polling stations.

A polling station in Colliers Wood

A polling station in Colliers Wood

Whilst polls don't close until 10pm, we've been speaking to some local voters outside a polling station in Colliers Wood this morning about their motivations and opinions.

Joe Thomas, pictured outside a polling station in Colliers Wood, underlined the importance of local elections.

Voter Joe Thomas in Colliers Wood

Voter Joe Thomas in Colliers Wood

He said: "It's been such a politically divisive few years, and I know some people don't see local elections as important, but it's our chance to voice our political opinions as waiting five years isn't enough.

"In London these votes have a lot more weight too, compared to where I grew up in the Midlands, the mayor has a much more powerful role to change things.

Asked how he felt the current mayor Sadiq Khan had performed, he said: "I think he has done well, he's been a solid, strong leader and I think he's looked after London.

"The biggest challenge now for the mayor will be the recovery from Covid.

"I work in central London and I have barely been there for over a year now, we know that loads of businesses are struggling.

"The mayor do have to look after central London, but also now we're commuting less, there has to also be focus on the suburbs. London has to bounce back as a whole."

Theo Barwood, 24, said: "It's really important to me to get engaged with politics, take part in elections and get your opinion across.

"Sadiq has been a good mayor, i think he's been passionate, better than Boris.



"I hope the turnout is high, but im not sure it will be. I think people are more concerned with their own issues at the moment."

Fellow voter Ellie said she was voting as the elections had big implications for London and beyond, adding that "it's really important to have a voice where you can."

The 25-year-old, who arrived with her dog Wally, said she was an advocate for doing your research before voting.

Dogs at polling stations: Wally pictured in Colliers Wood

Dogs at polling stations: Wally pictured in Colliers Wood

When asked about the biggest issues facing London and the elected mayor, Ellie said: "Well these are unprecedented times, and the Covid recovery has to be important.

"Tackling knife crime in London is a really big issue, as is environmental policy.

"We have to make this city clean, and that's a major challenge that needs to be taken on."

One elderly resident, Surinder Real, said she had been voting at the same polling station since 1988 without missing an election, but this was her first wearing a mask or using her own pencil.

Peter Wilkins told us that dealing with the post-Covid landscape would be the elected mayor's most prominent task, but added that he believed that he believed Sadiq Khan had done an alright job so far.

Polling stations close at 10pm tonight (May 6), with some assembly results expected on Friday evening but London Mayor results not expected until Saturday evening.