Local elections: When is voting day and what exactly are we voting on?

·3-min read
Dog waits for owner outside polling station in the Scottish Borders (PA)
Dog waits for owner outside polling station in the Scottish Borders (PA)

May 2021 sees a whole series of elections take place across the UK on the same day, the biggest exercise in British democracy outside of a general election.

On 6 May – dubbed “Super Thursday” by political pundits – elections will be taking place across England to decide on councillors for 145 local authorities and 13 directly elected mayors.

Conservative leader Boris Johnson and his Labour rival Sir Keir Starmer have both been out campaigning for their parties across England, as they seek to gain political momentum from the local results.

In Scotland, voters will be asked to elect members to the Scottish parliament on 6 May – a crucial contest which will shape the fate of the independence question in the months ahead.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has claimed any kind of pro-independence majority (the Scottish Green also favour a breakaway) will amount to a mandate for a second referendum on separation from the UK.

An election is also taking place in Wales on 6 May to elect members to the Welsh parliament, which could see one party win an overall majority for the first time since the creation of the Senedd.

The latest Opinium poll shows Labour within touching distance of a majority – forecast to win 29 of the 60 seats, just two short of an overall control. Plaid Cymru has promised a referendum on Welsh independence within five years if it comes to power.

In London, voters are being asked to elect both the next mayor and members of the London Assembly, the body which scrutinises whoever else wins the mayoral contest.

The latest Savanta ComRes poll shows the Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan on course to become mayor again, with 41 per cent support in the capital.

The Tory candidate Shaun Bailey languishes well behind on 28 per cent, while the Lib Dems’ Luisa Porritt is on 8 per cent and the Green party’s Sian Berry on 6 per cent.

To add to the political drama on 6 May, there is also a parliamentary by-election taking place in Hartlepool, in north-west England.

The by-election was sparked by the resignation of Labour MP Mike Hill, ahead of an employment tribunal over allegations of sexual harassment. Recent polling shows Labour is on course to lose the “red wall” seat to the Tories for the first time in half a century.

Keir Starmer campaigning in Hartlepool ahead of by-electionPA
Keir Starmer campaigning in Hartlepool ahead of by-electionPA

Experts are not sure whether turnout will be significantly lower because of the Covid-19 crisis. These elections were due to take place in May 2020, but were pushed back because of the pandemic.

Voters have been encouraged to come out and vote as normal, but will have to wear masks inside local polling stations.

If you are not already registered to vote, you won’t now be able to take part on the 6 May elections.

Nearly 90,000 people applied to register to vote on the day before the deadline, according to government figures. But the figure is well below the 660,000 applications which came in on deadline day ahead of the 2019 general election.

Read More

A town disillusioned: Labour facing historic Hartlepool defeat but little love felt for Tories

Who can help Starmer win back Labour votes in the north?

UK to send ships to Jersey amid fears over threat of blockade by French fishermen

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting