There are 5 Saturdays left until council elections. I was out campaigning in Plymouth for the local elections. What is interesting is the potential for a relatively large political upset. The real question to ask is which councils are the most interesting to watch for in the upcoming local elections in the UK?
The first councils to look out for are the councils in London. London has some Tory-held councils which are exceptionally vulnerable to capture for both Labour and Liberal Democrats. London has been leaning heavily towards Labour in recent years and currently, polling suggests that in local elections, Labour could expect to gain 53% of the vote whilst the Tories could gain only 33% of the vote, giving Labour a 20% edge in the capital. Wandsworth, Westminster are Tory-flagship councils which are vulnerable to Labour, whilst Barnet is almost certain to go Labour with a 1 seat majority for the Tory party. Liberal Democrats could also take pick-ups in London such as Kingston-Upon-Thames and Richmond-Upon-Thames, being potential seats for the Liberal Democrats to pick up. A very bad night would see the Tories lose Hillingdon and Kensington and Chelsea which are both very Conservative areas. Labour narrowly won Kensington in the general election and may do well there considering the local factors of the Grenfell tower disaster. Losing Kensington would be nothing short than a complete disaster for the Tories because it should be a safe seat due to its wealth. In such an unlikely situation, the Tories would almost become extinct in central London, although this is exaggerated by the first-past-the-post electoral system because they could win as much as a third of the electorate there.
There are other councils that are very likely Labour gains. Plymouth is a very competitive race for Labour, where Labour needs two council seats to be picked up from the Tories for a Labour gain in Plymouth. A Thurrock and Peterborough council gain for Labour would be also a concern for the Conservatives because it would suggest that an area which voted heavily for Brexit would reflect a changing tendency in areas which voted Brexit and may highlight opposition to the Tory party post-Brexit. Labour already won Peterborough at the last election in 2017. Colchester, Swindon may offer interesting races as if Labour turns them both into no overall control, then it would reflect potential changes in electoral support in Britain, whilst Labour gain in Worcester would be a swing-constituency gain for Labour, which would set them up for the general election in Worcester. The potential gains for Labour could include Amber Valley, Swindon, Dudley, North-East Lincolnshire according to BBC News.
The overall situation is that it has the potential for being a bad night for the Conservatives in London and various other parts of the country.
Article by Dan Clemence