Parties to 'focus on local elections' before partygate says expert
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On Thursday, May 5, residents from all four nations that make up the UK will have the opportunity to revamp their local councils and authorities. Analysts are waiting to see how recent events in Westminster could impact electoral support for the Conservative Party while Northern Ireland is predicted to end up with a new-look Government.
1) Wandsworth and Westminster
Heading into the election, both of the London councils are controlled by the Tories, but the Labour Party is expected to test their resolve considerably.
Though Westminster has never been held by any party other than the Tories there are concerns the ongoing “partygate” scandal could lead to a changing of the guard.
In the previous local election, Labour won more votes in Wandsworth than their rivals but fell short in terms of seats handing power to the Tories.
The market town of Bury in Greater Manchester provides an intriguing battleground for the 2022 elections.
Last year residents in the area voted to keep Labour in control of its council – as has been the case for the past decade – but during the 2019 general election, it voted in two Tory MPs.
One of these, Christian Wakeford, has since defected to Labour and it remains to be seen whether the local electorate will follow in his footsteps.
In 2021, a referendum in the London borough of Croydon handed voters the chance to elect their own mayor for the first time.
The decision had previously been handled by councillors but now residents will be able to choose between representatives of all the major parties.
Analysts expect voting to be swayed by Croydon’s financial crisis after the borough’s Labour-held council was forced to declare de facto bankruptcy in late 2020.
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4) Northern Ireland
Alongside the other votes taking place will be the 2022 Northern Ireland Assembly election.
Residents will appoint 90 members to Stormont with the nationalist Sinn Fein party expected to become the largest entity, wresting control away from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
A Sinn Fein win would likely have knock-on impacts on Brexit negotiations between the UK and European Union (EU), adding further complications to already strained talks.
In 2019, Labour lost overall control of Bolton Council, relinquishing authority to a Tory minority administration ever since.
Two years later, the margin between the Tories and Labour was narrowed to only three seats, with the former holding 21 out of 60 seats compared with Labour’s 18.
Like Bury, residents here voted in two Tory MPs during the last general election, setting up a tight showdown between the two parties on May 5.
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