Local Elections 2024: Insights on Cambridge and Cambridgeshire

Ccc Map 23

As voters go out to the polls for the local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections tomorrow, the future electoral makeup of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire is generating significant interest. The elections will serve as a test for Labour, after a by-election loss in Summer 2023 which saw the return of the Conservatives onto the council after having no representation since 2016.

The elections to Cambridge City Council serve as defences for all elected councillors that topped the ballot in the 2021 all-out elections, meaning nine Labour councillors will be defending their seats. While a loss of control for Labour would be nothing short of a disaster (needing to lose six seats for this to happen), the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are all vying to destabilise the council’s balance of power. 

Cambridge City Council election results, May 2023

Green glory?

The Green Party, in addition to their stronghold in Abbey ward, seeks to build on last year’s gains in Newnham ward in 2023, where a unique three-party representation emerged in 2023, with Labour, The Liberal Democrats, and Green Party all representing the ward. The party is also targeting Coleridge ward, with Sarah Nicmanis, also the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for Cambridge, leading the party’s efforts here.  

Lib Dem surge?

The Liberal Democrats are targeting multiple Labour-held wards, including Castle ward, where Labour’s Antoinette Nestor defends the seat amidst a battleground where both Labour and the Lib Dems won a seat in 2023. West Chesterton sees a rematch between Labour’s Sam Carling and Lib Dem Jamie Dalzell. However, the Liberal Democrats risk losing their representation in Newnham ward after falling to a record low percentage of the vote in 2023.  

Double or nothing for the Conservatives?

Meanwhile, the Conservatives, buoyed by a by-election win in 2023 which saw the party achieve its first representation on the Council since 2016, aim to bolster their representation on the council. Conservative candidate Nazrul Islam will be aiming to double their count on the council. Additionally, they are targeting the traditionally Labour-stronghold of Cherry Hinton, leveraging anti-Labour sentiments around the now scrapped sustainable travel zone. 

Fighting on several fronts

This leaves the Labour Party well and truly on the defensive in Cambridge, perhaps in contrast to other races around the country where Labour is assured to make gains. Labour’s hopes lie in Newnham ward’s three-horse race or potential upsets in Liberal Democrat strongholds like Trumpington and Market. Labour will be hoping the electorate has moved past seeking to punish them for their proposed sustainable travel area and therefore not jeopardise them as a means for losing further seats.  

A potential bright spot?

However, Labour may find cause to celebrate in the shape of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Labour’s candidate Anna Smith will hope that by council elections in more Labour-leaning Cambridge and Peterborough on the same day as the PCC vote will translate to a higher turnout in areas traditionally more favourable to Labour. This, coupled with a national polling lead, could upset the Conservatives in Cambridgeshire. 

As election day approaches, Cambridge and Cambridgeshire is set for an interesting spread of results. Lowick is paying close attention to these elections – if you want to find out how they may impact your plans, get in touch.