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Local Elections

North Insight


In the North of England, there will be elections in 40 Local Authorities. Of these 40, three are entirely new Unitary Authorities; two to replace the County and District Councils of Cumbria and a third to replace the current governance arrangements in North Yorkshire. There will also be an election for the Mayor of South Yorkshire.

Bury, Rochdale, St. Helens and the three new Unitary Councils will have elections for all their seats. The other thirty-four Councils are holding elections for just a third of their seats.

Given that only a third of seats are up for election in most Councils in the north which are holding them this year, there is little scope for huge changes. 2018, when most of these seats were last fought, was a relatively high watermark for the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, and so Labour may not make huge gains in terms of control of Councils or numbers of seats.

BECG has identified Bury, Bolton, Stockport, Hartlepool and Sunderland as ‘ones to watch’, where a change of control is possible. The new Council in North Yorkshire can be reasonably expected to return a majority of Conservative councillors, but the two new Councils in Cumbria are much less predictable. Results in our Councils to watch will give an indication of how successful Keir Starmer has been in improving the fortunes of the Labour Party.

The Conservatives suffered heavy losses in Cumbria, finishing with just 7 seats in Cumberland and 11 in Westmorland & Furness, making them the 3rd largest party in the latter​.

The Labour Party took control of Cumberland Council with the Liberal Democrats taking overall control of Westmorland & Furness​.

The two new Councils will replace the current Cumbria County Council and six District Councils from 1st April 2023​.

The local government reorganisation is intended to pave the way for a devolution deal for Cumbria which will be negotiated jointly by the new authorities.

Barnsley Council remains under Labour Control with 3 losses.

Labour lost further ground in Sheffield though it is anticipated the Labour/Green coalition will continue and Labour will retain the Leadership of the Council.

Labour’s Oliver Coppard won the South Yorkshire Metro Mayor election after second preferences were counted.​

Labour unexpectedly took outright control of Kirklees Council after making gains in wards in the marginal Colne Valley constituency, which is currently held by the Conservatives.

Labour regained some lost ground in Leeds, increasing their majority mainly at the expense of the Conservatives.

Labour took the largest share of votes in the Wakefield Parliamentary constituency, where a by-election is pending following the resignation of Conservative MP Imran Khan.

Hull City Council flipped directly from Labour to the Liberal Democrats and was one of Labour’s few losses of overall control.​

The Conservatives took control of the new North Yorkshire Council, though with a smaller majority than was expected.​

York City Council, which is currently run jointly by the Greens and Liberal Democrats, and the new North Yorkshire Council will now work together on a devolution deal for the region.

Labour held on to overall majorities in all of the Councils where it had one before the elections​.

Labour made gains in only three of the ten Councils; Bury, Trafford and Wigan.​

Bury was seen as Labour’s most vulnerable council and the implications of the party losing control could have included the end of the “Places for Everyone” spatial plan. However, the plan is now safe. ​

The Liberal Democrats made gains in Stockport, cementing their position as the largest party on the Council. This is likely to lead to the group taking the Leadership from Labour but is not a certainty.​

Independent groups were the main beneficiaries of Labour losses in Rochdale, Bury and Oldham with smaller towns within the boroughs electing Councillors from hyperlocal parties​.

There has been no change in the control of Councils in Merseyside and the Liverpool City Region​

Labour lost seats in Wirral to the Green Party and Conservatives but remained the largest party. It is likely that Labour will continue to lead the Council​.

In St. Helens, all seats were up for election and the Labour Party now holds seven seats fewer than it did prior to the election. The Green Party and Independents made gains with the former having registered “Green Party – save our green belt” to use as their description on the ballot paper.

​Labour stood still or made gains on all but one Council in Lancashire​.

The only Council to change control was Rossendale, which was previously hung but now has a majority Labour administration​.

Labour lost two seats to the Conservatives in Hyndburn, a Borough that is coterminous with the Hyndburn “Red Wall” Parliamentary constituency currently held by the Conservatives.

Sunderland remained under Labour control despite being targeted by the Conservative Party​.

There were minor losses for Labour in Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland but not such that it cost the party control of these Councils​.

The Conservatives made advances in Hartlepool at the expense of smaller parties, but the Council remains under no overall control.

Countdown to Local Elections

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