Countdown to local and mayoral elections

In three weeks’ time, sports halls across the country will be preparing to count the 2024 Local and Mayoral elections. We’ve summarised what we think is at stake for Labour and what it could signal for the Prime Minister, his party, the country and for you.  

Amid 107 councils, 10 directly elected mayoral races and 38 Police and Crime Commissioner contests in England and Wales, key litmus tests for interpreting Labour success at a future general election can be found across the sweep of London, the Midlands, and the North. As a replay of the 2021 local elections (when the seats were last contested due to Covid), can the long journey to rebuilding the party’s former coalitions of support be fulfilled? 

💂🏼‍♂️In London, Sadiq Khan is seeking election for a record third term as Mayor of London. Having unique ownership of devolved powers, Khan looks to be judged on his Mayoral record, notably on investment in tackling crime, ULEZ and affordable housing. On the other hand, the Conservatives will face judgement on their national record, with smaller fringe parties looking to hoover up amongst voter discontent. For the first time, these elections are happening under a first-past-the-post voting system, lending to greater uncertainty over the result of the race. This could be particularly influential if voting pattens become issues-focussed on ULEZ, which worked to the advantage of the Conservative Party at their only recent by-election in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.  

➡️ In the East Midlands, a new Mayoral position has been established and looks to be hotly contested, with the West Midlands mayoral election having been narrowly won by the Conservatives in 2021 also looking close, though recently polling shows only 9% of people can name a single policy from Conservative West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street. Both he, and his party will be hoping his stress on the necessity to distance himself from his party will cut through on the doorstep. 

⬆️ Further North, a new mayoral position in York and North Yorkshire has been established, covering both the city of York and rural Yorkshire, including Rishi Sunak’s own seat as well as a Conservative defence in Tees Valley, where incumbent Ben Houchen defends a 72.8% first preference win in 2021. A loss for the Conservatives in either of these races would usher in new political weather and indicate drastic Labour gains in key parliamentary battleground areas imperative for a Labour win come the General Election. 

🌹 ❓Given their dire position in the polls, the Conservatives are briefing for bad news, but what could be the telling blow of national significance? Should Andy Street’s own distancing to detoxify his politics as “brand Andy” fail, then any prevailing swing of sentiment towards Labour in the Midlands, we feel, will be the most telling result for the party. While different issues drive voter decision-making between Local and General elections, entrenched disaffection towards the Conservatives locally will be very difficult to shake off before they have an impact on the national landscape. 

To find out how these races and their results impact your areas of interest, get in touch with our team at [email protected] 

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