A very simple guide to the 2022 local elections

People across the UK will go to the polls on Thursday for the 2022 local elections.

Voters will choose local representatives in England, Scotland and Wales. The elections will coincide with the 2022 elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

– When are the municipal elections?

Local elections take place on Thursday 5 May.

Polling stations will open at 7 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

After the polls close at 10 p.m., ballot boxes are transported from all polling stations to local or regional counting centers where staff open them and begin counting the votes.

Once all the votes for a region have been counted, the responsible official – the returning officer – takes the stage and announces the results.

The first batch of results are due to be announced at midnight, with locations such as Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Essex, Greater Manchester and Bolton traditionally announced at this time. The last is expected to be around 5 p.m. Saturday from Tower Hamlets.

– Which places are up for grabs?

Local elections are held in England, but not in all regions. More than 4,000 councilors in 146 councils will stand for election in major cities including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and all 32 London boroughs.

South Yorkshire will also vote for a regional mayor and 1,000 parish councils will elect around 10,000 councillors.

All 32 councils in Scotland and 22 in Wales will hold elections, with residents aged 16 and older able to vote.

In Northern Ireland, voters will elect 90 members, representing 18 constituencies, to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

– In a nutshell, what will voters vote for?

– Every local authority in Scotland, Wales and London.
– The Regional Mayor of South Yorkshire and the Borough Councils of Barnsley and Sheffield.
– 60 district councils, 31 metropolitan boroughs and 19 unitary authorities in the rest of England.
– North Yorkshire and Somerset County Councils.
– Local Mayors of Croydon, Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Watford.
– The 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
– There is also a referendum in Bristol on whether or not to keep the city’s elected mayor.

– Why are local elections important?

Local elections do not have the same importance as legislative elections, with participation always low, rarely reaching more than 40%.

However, these elections will decide who is responsible in an individual’s local area for matters of town planning, housing and garbage collection, public transport and road maintenance.

They will also be an opportunity for voters to speak out on national issues such as the cost of living, lockdown breaches in Downing Street and the government’s response to the war in Ukraine, providing a broader picture of the performance of the main political parties.

– What are the main battlefields?

The councils in England that will receive the most attention are those in London, where Wandsworth could move to Labor after 44 years in Tory hands.

Recently the area has drifted to the left, with all three borough MPs now Labor, including Fleur Anderson in Putney, which was the only seat the party won from the Tories in 2019.

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In Tower Hamlets, although there is unlikely to be too much upheaval in the council elections, the race to become mayor will be one to watch, with controversial former mayor Lutfur Rahman standing for re-election.

He was forced to resign after an electoral tribunal found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices, but he has not faced any criminal charges.

POLITICS Elections Councils
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In other parts of the country, Hartlepool will be hotly contested. The Conservatives won the Labor parliamentary seat in a by-election in May 2021 and will need to demonstrate that the trust voters placed in them was not misplaced. On the other hand, Labor hopes to start rebuilding its red wall.

In Bury, residents voted last year to keep Labor in control of its council, but in the 2019 general election they voted for two Tory MPs – one of them being Christian Wakeford, who has since defected to the Labor Party.

In the south of England, the Tories are hoping not to cede further ground to the Liberal Democrats, having lost two safe Tory seats in by-elections in less than a year. Wokingham, St Albans and Sutton are some of the main Tory-Liberal Democrat battlegrounds.

– What about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

POLITICS Elections Councils
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The biggest cities – Glasgow and Edinburgh – will be the ones to watch.

In Wales, the focus will be on Labor’s ability to maintain its grip on Cardiff and towns along the M4 corridor.

POLITICS Elections Councils
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Northern Ireland’s executive collapsed in February and it may not be restored after the election, particularly if Sinn Fein come out on top.

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Polling results published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper suggest the Tories could be in for their worst performance in local elections since the 1990s.

The survey, conducted by Electoral Calculus with Find Out Now, suggested Labor could be on track to win more than 800 seats, while the Conservatives are likely to lose 548 seats in councils across the country.

Prof Sir John Curtice, a veteran elections expert, told the PA News Agency it was difficult to predict the local election outcome, adding that the loss of 550 seats was ‘not unrealistic’ .

POLITICS Elections
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Parties have gone into expectation management mode.

Environment Secretary George Eustice admitted on ITV’s Good Morning Britain that ‘all prime ministers will always be very aware of the vibe of their parliamentary party’, in response to speculation that bad Thursday’s results could lead to more letters of no confidence in the prime minister. .

Sir Keir Starmer played down talk of a major Labor victory, with party strategists fearing the Tories could win the pre-election ‘expectation management’ process.

When asked what Labour’s success would look like, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: ‘We want to take seats where we already have them, and we want to make gains where we can. I realize that we have to earn every vote, I don’t take anything for granted.