LONDON (Reuters) - Voters will pass judgment on Prime Minister Theresa May’s party on Thursday in local government elections expected to show rising support for her opponents in London that will add to pressure on her position over Brexit.
Below is a list of some key facts about the elections and five council results that will set the tone for the overall outcome.
- Councils are the local government authorities with responsibility for providing public services that affect residents’ day to day lives. They are made up of varying numbers of seats, and run by any party that has an overall majority of those seats.
- More than 4,000 council seats will be contested, determining the make up of 150 councils. Over 40 percent of the seats are in London.
- All 32 London boroughs are electing their whole councils. Some councils outside London are only electing one third of their councillors this time round.
- Unlike national elections that decide seats in parliament, or the 2016 EU referendum, Thursday’s elections are open to EU nationals registered and resident in electing boroughs.
Approx. 0100 GMT
TRAFFORD - A council in the northern city of Manchester. While Labour dominates politics in the wider region, the Conservatives have run Trafford council since 2004, making it a key target for Labour and one May’s party would desperately not want to lose. Losing just two of the 33 seats in the 63 seat council chamber would cost the Conservatives overall control.
PETERBOROUGH - The Conservatives have the most seats but not an overall majority on this council which represents an eastern area that voted 61 percent to leave the EU. The anti-EU UK Independence Party has previously polled strongly in the area but its support has since collapsed. If those votes return to the Conservatives, they could regain control of the council.
Approx. 0130 GMT
WESTMINSTER - This Conservative-held borough in the heart of London’s political district would have huge symbolic value if it switched to Labour. It has been run by the Conservatives since its creation in 1964, and, according to polling analysis, it would require a 8.8 percent swing toward Labour to change that.
Approx. 0200 GMT
WANDSWORTH - A Conservative borough in southwest London with a tradition of low taxes dating back to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Labour has not had control of the council since 1978. Residents voted 75 percent in favor of remaining in the EU, compared to 48 percent nationwide.
Approx. 0300 GMT
BARNET - A London borough which Labour has never won since its creation in 1974, Barnet is a big target this time around. The result here will illustrate the extent to which a row between Labour and the Jewish community over the handling of anti-Semitism in the party has affected the public mood. Barnet has the highest proportion of Jewish residents in England at 15.5 percent according to the latest census data.
Reporting by William James; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg