LONDON - Voters go to the polls in Britain on Thursday, in a mid-term test for the Conservative government that could determine beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future. The local election results will be seen as a barometer of support for Johnson’s Conservatives nationally, as well as an indicator of whether the opposition Labour party poses a serious threat. Johnson, 57, won a landslide general election victory in December 2019 on a promise to break years of political deadlock and deliver Brexit -- the country’s divisive departure from the European Union. But his position has looked increasingly fragile, because of damaging claims about lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street and an inflationary surge that is squeezing voters’ incomes. A police investigation last month saw him become the first British prime minister to be fined for breaking the law while in office. Irate Tory MPs, mindful of public outrage at double standards and denials, had looked set to force a no-confidence vote in his leadership in January. But Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, during which Johnson has shown hawkish support for President Volodymyr Zelensky, took the heat out of any mutiny. A drubbing for Johnson’s Tories on Thursday, though, could revive calls for him to go, to bed in a new leader for the next general election, which is due by 2024. “Partygate”, however, has not proved the key issue for voters. “What’s going to get folks a lot is the cost of living: food is going up, energy is going up,” said one voter, who gave his name only as Bob, in Dudley, central England. “What he (Johnson) did was bad, with partygate, they were more or less laughing at you,” the 76-year-old retired factory worker told AFP.