Opinion polls indicate London's outspoken, but well-liked, mayor Boris Johnson is on course to retain City Hall in British elections and lead the capital during the Summer Olympics.
Votes were being cast Thursday for mayors in London and two northern cities, and for about 180 municipal authorities in England, Wales and Scotland.
While Johnson leads opinion polls, his colleagues in Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party _ which heads Britain's coalition government _ are braced to lose hundreds of local seats.
Cameron urged voters not to punish local candidates for national woes, amid sharp spending cuts and an economy which has slumped into a recession.
Ten other cities were also voting on whether to elect a mayor in the future.