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Welcome to our 2024 Local Election coverage

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local elections

Next month, elections will take place in 107 local authorities and for 10 mayoralties. Over 2,600 seats are up for grabs, with Labour and the Conservatives defending around 1,000 each, the Liberal Democrats defending about 400 seats and the Greens just over 100. 

As we countdown to polling day, we will be publishing a local election series to keep you up to date on key campaign moments, the flashpoint locations and the key themes determining the results and their effect on your business decisions. 

Current polling indicates that the Tories will be in for another walloping this year, as they are expected to lose up to half their seats, while Labour could win as many as 300, according to University of Plymouth local election specialists Rallings & Thrasher. The seats up for election this year were last contested in 2021 when the Johnson government benefitted from a ‘vaccine-bounce'. A lot has changed since then. 

This year’s local elections will provide Labour with an opportunity to test its campaign strategy and its effectiveness at winning over Tory voters ahead of the general election. We will be keenly watching to see what proportion of Tory voters shift directly to Labour, take a step to the right to Reform UK or throw their support behind the plethora of independent candidates which are becoming a more prominent fixture in local politics. 

So, what local authorities will be hotly contested? 

While elections in thirds always limit the number of councils changing hands in any one year, many of the 94 up in thirds are already Labour-held, but they will be looking to close the deal in NOC areas like Norwich, Hynburn, and Thurrock. In the all-out areas, where ostensibly Conservatives should be more worried about big losses, many of their council majorities look very healthy. But then so did the majorities in the by-elections they’ve lost in the last two years. Labour will be looking to make gains in the Midlands bellwethers like Dudley but also the south where the Lib Dems will surely expect to take the majority of Conservative switchers. There’s also special interest in the new Mayor of the North East role, where former Labour North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll is running as an independent. 

This coming Friday, prospective candidates will have handed in their nomination papers, and we look forward to dissecting their campaigns.