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Midland’s Moments – Local Election Five Key Takeaways

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In two weeks’ time, voters across 17 Midlands councils will go to the polls to elect local councillors. BECG recently published its regional analysis of the local elections and with the polls fast approaching, here is the latest news on the political battles taking place across the communities of the East and West Midlands. 

Here are our five key takeaways from across the region: 

Labour launches their ambitious plan for Birmingham with Conservatives claiming they are nothing to do with the ‘national party’

Council Leader, Ian Ward said Labour will have a ‘clean and green’ blueprint for power for the upcoming local elections. The 60-page manifesto signified a focus on levelling up and for a ‘cleaner, safer, and better’ Birmingham.  

Birmingham Tories have laid down their agenda for the upcoming local elections. The key headline policies include moving museums out of the City Centre, restoring nature and green spaces the creation of ten new skate/BMX parks, and cleaning up the streets.  

In a sign of the local Tories wanting to distance themselves from the Government, local candidate, Connor McCormack, said the elections are “nothing to do with the national side of the party. The keyword is ‘local’ elections, it’s not a general election.” 

Chaos in Sandwell continues, with defections, votes of no confidence and even a reference to serial killers

Councillor Iqbal Singh Padda, who served as Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Growth, said Labour had “taken the Asian vote for granted” in the borough. He has represented the Labour stronghold of Greets Green & Lyng since 2018 but was deselected by the party last year.  

Sandwell Tories failed in a bid to force the Labour Leader and Cabinet to step down. Interim Conservative Leader, Councillor Archer Williams, stated the council “has no confidence” in their ability to tackle the ‘deep-seated culture of poor governance and leadership’. A Labour source said they were puzzled by the motion.   

The Leader of Sandwell Council has apologised for comparing Conservatives to ‘serial killers’. In a now-deleted Tweet, Andrew Tromans, the Secretary for Lye & Stourbridge North Labour Party, posted a picture of an elephant toy and claimed he ‘hated it’. He added: “It has a blank expression of a serial killer, what do you think?” Councillor Kerrie Carmichael replied: “Is it a Tory?” 

They say the real enemy in politics is behind you. Could Walsall be set for a new Leader even if the electorate back the Conservatives?

The ruling Conservative Group will be hoping to extend its dominance of the authority, which until recently has traditionally been a closely run contest between Labour and Conservative.  

The Conservatives enter the election with a power struggle raging behind the scenes, with Council Leader Mike Bird facing a challenge led by Suky Samra. Cabinet Member Chris Towe is defending his Pheasey Park Farm seat having reportedly been deselected then reinstated. The turmoil is mirrored by the goings on in the Labour Group. Read more here.

The result in Dudley will tell us whether the red wall is really going to swing back to Labour at the next election. What are the big differences locally?

Traditionally a neck-and-neck race between Labour and the Conservatives, the borough has turned decidedly blue recently. Labour is campaigning for more funding from central government and highlighting perceived Conservative failings on a national level, including over tax rises and Partygate.  

Labour also targeted local issues including the loss of Anchor Lane tip and the £100,000 spent on the MIPIM conference trip. Labour is desperate not to lose anymore seats after suffering a catastrophic set of results in 2021 when the Tories secured a dozen gains.  

The Conservative campaign is focused on continuing the regeneration of the borough. It has pledged to build on successes such as the new leisure centre, the transport interchange, the upcoming Metro line and the university campus development. Find out more here.

The future of the Newcastle-under-Lyme Local Plan is at stake in these local elections. Will Labour winning make a difference?

Residents of Newcastle-under-Lyme will vote in all out elections on May 5. Whoever wins will oversee the completion of Newcastle’s planning blueprint for up to 8,900 homes. The Local Plan will guide development in the borough up to 2040. A draft plan is expected to go out to public consultation this autumn.  

Labour councillors have criticised the initial 12-week issues and options consultation, claiming it was hampered by technical problems and left residents struggling to air their views.  

Find out more and see other key issues Newcastle-under-Lyme residents will be voting on here.

Sign up to receive our local elections 2022 insight emails here or get in touch with our Midlands team to find out more about how the results may impact your business.

Written by: Alexander Magee

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