There will be a whole stack of local and mayoral elections all across Scotland, England and Wales on 4th May. This blog will contain the ‘runners’ for each area and the results as they come in.
MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!
The polling stations open at 7am on Thursday May 4 and close at 10pm. Check here for your polling station, it’ll be close by. To vote you must be 18 or over on polling day in England and Wales and 16 or over in Scotland. Most parties help with getting there if you have disabilities or no transport so contact your local MP’s office. (Don’t bother if you’re Conservative as I’ve not been able to find any help scheme that they run- if this is incorrect I will edit.) All polling stations are well signposted and should be accessible for all. Check out this document from the electoral commission: Polling-station-accessibility-and-display-of-notices-checklist.
The deadline for a postal vote was 5pm on April 18 so there’s no choice now but to go in person. And the deadline to register was midnight on April 13 in England and Wales and by midnight on April 17 in Scotland. If you’ve missed it don’t panic! You can register to vote before 22nd May for the general election! And here for Northern Ireland.
DO NOT ASSUME YOU’RE ON THE LIST.
Ok, lecture over 😉
Who’s in it to win it?
There are SIX metro Mayoral elections: Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City region, the West Midlands, Tees Valley, the West of England and Cambridge and Peterborough. Each region is supposed to get a £800-900 million budget with more power in local areas, giving you more of a say. These might be new to you so have included as much info and as many links as I can to make it clearer what and who you’re voting for and why.
Labour is confident of winning Greater Manchester where former Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and MP for Leigh Andy Burnham is standing. The other candidates are:
- Conservatives– Sean Anstee, Trafford Council Leader;
- English Democrats– Stephen Morris, General Secretary of the Workers of England Union and North West Chairman of the English Democrats.
- Green Party– Deyika Nzeribe was selected but he died of heart attack on the 1st January 2017 (and my condolences to their family and friends). Will Patterson was chosen to stand instead.
- Independents- Mohammad Aslam and Marcus Farmer
- Liberal Democrats– Jane Brophy, a Trafford councillor representing Timperley.
- UKIP– Shneur Odze, former North West England European Parliament candidate.
Liverpool City Region (a combined authority area of the following local authorities: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral):
As this is my area, I know the most about this. Labour is likely to win in the Liverpool region where its candidate is Walton MP Steve Rotherham, who has held a very ‘safe seat’ for years. Here and the candidates and their manifestos:
Conservatives– Tony Caldeira is a businessman and was candidate for Mayor of Liverpool in 2012 and 2016.
- Improve transport networks
- Reduce planning processes
- Deliver faster economic growth
- Increase jobs and skills
- Prioritise brownfield sites over green space for the building of new homes and workplaces.
Get The Coppers Off The Jury– Paul Breen previously ran as an Independent in the 2007 Liverpool City Council elections for Norris Green. No manifesto has been published with Breen stating that the party’s name speaks for itself.
Greens– Tom Crone, Leader of the Green Group on Liverpool City Council and 2016 Liverpool mayoral candidate.
- Protect greenspaces
- Prioritise buses
- Invest in cycling and walking routes
- Reduce traffic in city-centre
- Introduction of citizen forums
- Creation of an elected assembly to scrutinise the City Region mayor
- Improve education
- Make brownfield sites more attractive to developers
- Cut the cost of Merseytravel’s Fast Tag electronic pre-payment system
- Harness the river Mersey to create renewal energy
- Secure parity in apprenticeships training and academic training
- Create transport links geared up to help people not secure profits.
Liberal Democrats– Councillor Carl Cashman is leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Knowsley Council having been elected in 2016. At 25 years old he is the youngest of the candidates and believes in maintaining strong ties with Europe.
- Open a Liverpool City Region representative office in Brussels, Belgium.
- Make Merseytravel’s Walrus card a reflection of London’s Oyster card
- Remove tunnel tolls
- Protect green space
- Create a brownfield co-operative
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)- Roger Bannister is a member the UNISON public services union, is secretary of a local UNISON Branch and a member of UNISON’s National Executive Council. He previous ran for mayor of Liverpool in the 2016 Liverpool mayoral elections receiving 5% of the votes.
- Oppose austerity
- Oppose cuts in public expenditure
- Adopt policies to revive the Liverpool City Region
- Support the rail guards
- Keep Liverpool Women’s Hospital open
- Reverse approval for new driver-only Merseyrail trains
UKIP-Paula Walters is a civil servant and chairwoman of UKIP Wirral. With no previous business experience she has previously campaigned against bridge and tunnel tolls.
- Remove bridge and tunnel tolls namely Runcorn Bridge, Queensway Tunnel and Kingsway Tunnel
- Ensure money is spent wisely
- Distribute money across the region fairly
- Listen to local residents
- Support small businesses
- Support young people
Women’s Equality Party– Tabitha Morton is Head of Integration at lock manufacturer Yale.
- Reduce domestic violence against women and girls
- Make sure women have a voice in important decisions
- Support women lead businesses to reduce the gender pay gap
- Set aside funds to train women in sectors were women are underrepresented.
The other mayoral candidates will have similar agendas across the regions whilst focusing on local issues.
For more links on this election, try: the authority website, the Liverpool Echo’s guide and ‘minute manifestos’ from all the candidates. For the Federation of Small Businesses manifesto, that talks of some of the issues in the region, try here.
Based on the 2015 election results, Labour should also take Tees Valley. But there’s no thing as winning an election before the votes are counted (yes, I know there has been instances of alleged voting fraud…)
Conservatives-Ben Houchen, Conservative group leader on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
Labour-Sue Jeffrey, Redcar and Cleveland Council leader.
Liberal Democrats-Chris Foote Wood, author and former Bishop Auckland district councillor, was selected to be the Liberal Democrat candidate after defeating Anne-Marie Curry, Liberal Democrat group leader on Darlington Borough Council, in a ballot of party members.
North East Party-John Tait, former Parliamentary candidate in Stockton North, withdrew from the race after failing to raise the required £5,000 deposit.
UKIP-John Tennant, UKIP group leader on Hartlepool Borough Council.
The key battleground is the West Midlands where Labour’s Sion Simon, an MEP and former MP, is facing strong competition from the Conservative Andy Street. Though there seems to be apathy about the whole thing and turnout might be low.
Communist Party of Britain– Graham Stevenson was announced as the Communist Party of Britain’s candidate on 8 March 2017. Stevenson is a former official for the T&G trade union (now Unite the Union) and sits on his party’s national executive committee.
Conservative– Andy Street, the former managing director of John Lewis and former chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, would seek the Conservative Party’s nomination for West Midlands Mayor. After no others came forward and a meeting of local members on 29 September, Street was announced as the party’s candidate. Street’s endorsements include that of former CBI director Lord Digby Jones.
Co-operative Party/ Labour.
The Co-operative Party nominated Siôn Simon, MEP for the West Midlands and former MP for Birmingham Erdington, as its candidate in April 2017. The party has stood joint candidates with Labour since 1927.
Greens– James Burn was announced as the Green Party’s candidate. Burn is a Green Party councillor for Chelmsley Wood and leader of the opposition on Solihull Council.
West of England:
The area is made up of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Conservatives– Tim Bowles, events company manager, South Gloucestershire councillor.
Greens– Darren Hall, former RAF engineering officer, project manager, former Parliamentary candidate in Bristol West.
Labour– Lesley Mansell, NHS manager, Westfield parish councillor and former Peasedown St John parish councillor.
Liberal Democrats– Stephen Williams, accountant, former MP for Bristol West and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
UKIP– Aaron Foot, farmer, Coleford parish councillor, 2016 candidate for Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner.
Independent- John Savage, businessman, chair of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative, treasurer of Bristol Cathedral, 2012 Labour candidate for Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner.
Here the Conservatives are evens to win if we believe the bookies, and a close fight with the Lib Dems.
Cambridge and Peterborough:
The mayor will lead the combined authority established in 2017 by the seven local councils in Cambridgeshire: (Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council) as part of a devolution deal giving local government in the county additional powers and funding.
Conservatives– James Palmer, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council.
English Democrats- Stephen Goldspink, former Peterborough city councillor.
Greens– Julie Howell, Orton parish councillor and co-leader of Peterborough Green Party, was announced as the Green Party candidate on 19 January 2017 after a vote by party members.
Independent- Peter Dawe, former UKIP member and Ely-based social entrepreneur, is standing as an independent candidate for mayor.On 25 January, Dawe announced he had chosen Peterborough-based entrepreneur Mark Ringer, founder and director of the Willow Festival, to be his unofficial running mate and deputy.
Labour– Kevin Price, deputy leader of Cambridge City Council and councillor for King’s Hedges, was declared the winner of the Labour Party selection process on 6 February 2017after defeating Fiona Onasanya, county councillor for King’s Hedges, in a ballot of party members.
Liberal Democrats– Rod Cantrill, councillor for Newnham, Cambridge City Council, was announced as the Liberal Democrat candidate on 14 January 2017 following a ballot of party members.
UKIP– Paul Bullen, councillor for St Ives and UKIP group leader, Cambridgeshire County Council, was confirmed as the party’s candidate on 11 January 2017.
This too could be a Conservative victory, with the others a distant second.
The New Statesman, a right leaning outlet, are predicting a Conservative win only in Cambridge and Peterborough. Their timetable and analysis on that link for all the elections in this blog isn’t bad actually and includes Scottish and Welsh seats (as mentioned in the blog, below). And here is a full guide on what all this means and what money the mayors will control as well as what they are expected to do with it.
There are two directly-elected mayoral elections in Doncaster and North Tyneside.
For these elections, an SV (Supplementary Vote) system will be used, where you pick two candidates, and, if no candidate receives an absolute majority of first-choice votes, all but the two leading candidates are eliminated and the votes of those eliminated redistributed according to their second-choice votes to determine the winner. So choose carefully!
There’s the Manchester Gorton by-election being held following the death of Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman. Quite a ‘safe seat’ as my blog shows, but let’s not be complacent. 11 candidates are standing, including three independents, the Christian Peoples’ Alliance, Communist League and ‘The Irrelevant Johnny Disco’, who is standing for the Monster Raving Loony Party. Labour‘s candidate is 59-year-old MEP Mohammed Afzal Khan, a former PC who later trained as a solicitor, defending a 24,000 majority (almost 50%) against Conservative Shaden Jaradat, Lib Dem Jackie Pearcey and Phil Eckersley of UKIP. For what the parties are representing, see my general election blog.
Councils are responsible for providing local services and facilities. Your elected representatives or councillors represent you at a local level – this is known as local government.
The council services they benefit from will be those designed for the community as a whole: lights, roads, libraries. Schools are likely to be the only council service which many better off people feel a direct, personal connection with.
Social services also take up a large chunk of council budgets. But, by definition, many of the people who rely on these services are likely to be vulnerable or economically disadvantaged to begin with. Their stories can sometimes be invisible to others and the work of council staff in these fields rarely makes the headlines unless something goes wrong.
For many voters who do not rely personally on council services, the simple cost of paying for them might be an important factor. The council tax freeze ends this year. Councils will be able to put up bills for everyone by up to 3% while those whose homes are in the higher property bands will automatically see increases because of changes to the way their bills are calculated.
This is the current state of play in relation to councillors, and the parties they represent.
There are seats on 34 councils in England being contested. Labour hold four of those Councils. In similar elections in 2013 Labour picked up 291 seats, UKIP gained 139 and Conservatives lost 335 and the Lib Dems shed 124 seats.
Those Councils are colour coded to show which party holds them.
Left normal colour= No Overall Control or NOC) and in brackets, the party/parties with the most seats:
East Sussex (Con)
Isle of Wight (IND)
If you are happy with your council (but bear in mind non Conservative councils especially have been squeezed for funds, to be given to Conservative ones, to the tune of £300 MILLION) you know who to vote for. If not, have a look at who’s in control, and who is in the minority, and vote accordingly.
There are 1,254 council seats up for selection as all of Wales’ 22 county and borough councils are having elections. In 2012 Labour won 231 seats to take their total to 580. Plaid Cymru has 158 seats, the Conservatives 105 and the Lib Dems 72.
All 1,220 seats are being contested on the country’s 32 local authorities. In 2012 Labour won 58 seats, the SNP 57 while the Conservatives lost 16 and the Lib Dems 80.
Apologies for the lack of information on Wales and Scotland, I do try and include all countries of the UK as much as possible, but with the closeness of the election, time is of the essence. If the chance arises, more will be added about these elections. And if any of the regular blog readers have anything to add, especially for their areas- please do!
And some links for Scotland- the Electoral Commission, Your Vote Matters and the Daily Record. Scotland is using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system where you need to put numbers, not crosses, and rank them from 1 (the one you want the most) downwards: 2,3 etc. You can put 1 or more.
For a guide on all the different voting systems, try this handy guide.
Most commenters consider these elections to be the first major indicator of party strength since the referendum. Though turnout is often low, historically the opposition parties to do better at local elections than general elections, as voters use them to send a message to the ‘boss’. Since the referendum however, that does not seem to have played out, for whatever reason. So this is not ‘normal times’ and your vote WILL count!
Is YOUR area in this list of super-low turnouts? WHY are we letting people be councillors on sometimes only a 20% vote? These people have a say in our daily lives! It’s good to see more people have started to vote in these elections, but more are needed!
What’s the biggest reason for not voting? APATHY. (Can’t be bothered/ what’s the point.)
Where are the highest turnout areas? Is one of these your area? Don’t think that’s ok then, my area is fine, I won’t need to bother– the more that vote, the more likely you are to get more engaged in voting. It’s like the X Factor but it actually has an effect on your life, so what’s stopping you?
Don’t become a non-voting statistic!
It’s not posh, or nerdy, or square, or boring to vote.
Look at these figures- the people that aren’t voting are the people who are ignored and neglected the most in society-
those who were given a bad education.
THOSE WHO WERE LET DOWN.
Too damn right, we should speak up.
All you need to do is follow this guide, spend a couple of minutes checking out the links and info for your area, and put your X or number(s) in the box(es). Simple!
If you want any help, drop me a line. You can check out this voting blog too. I can’t and won’t tell you who to vote for, but I’ll do my best to see you know what you’re voting for and why 🙂
Now that’s all the blather (ok, context 😉 ) done, go here for the results!