The 2019 local elections have come at an immensely divisive time. The Brexit debate has continued to divide the country, and consistent evidence shows that people are simply fed up with politics.
The key question therefore is, will voter turnout be extremely low and the Conservatives and Labour consensus continues, or will there be a shock with the smaller parties gaining seats across the country due to a protest vote?
Obviously, we will have to wait and see the results, but there could certainly be some unexpected surprises across the UK.
Which areas are up for election?
In England, 248 councils are being contested, with 6 directly elected mayors. 8,804 councillors will be elected. The last time these seats were contested was in the 2015 local elections.
However, in some cases councils are elected in thirds, and other special circumstances mean you may have voted in your ward more than once since 2015.
Which parties are standing?
All of the major parties are standing in these local elections. The Conservatives are fielding candidates in a staggering 97% of seats, with Labour on 75%.
The Liberal Democrats are on 38%, with UKIP and the Greens both fielding candidates in 16% of seats up for grabs.
However, the two new rising stars, the Brexit Party and Change UK, are not fielding candidates.
The Brexit party have not made any endorsements, but Change UK’s Chuka Umunna recommended a vote for the Lib Dems or the Greens.
What do we predict?
The Conservatives are bound to lose hundreds of seats, with many polling experts saying up to 800.
However, a key point to remember is local elections are not simply a protest vote, voting for a candidate rather than the party is very common.
Labour should do reasonably well, with gains across the country. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t feel too confident as their Brexit stance has angered voters. Furthermore, in last year’s local elections they did not gain nearly as many seats as expected.
UKIP could certainly have a positive night; with the Brexit party not standing many Conservative voters may turn to this anti-EU party to express their frustration.
However, UKIP have suffered another rough year with controversy and scandal regarding Tommy Robinson and their EU parliamentary candidates.
The Liberal Democrats are renowned for doing well in local election, and there problem is it has never transpired to a significant amount of parliamentary seats.
Like UKIP, the Lib Dems do not need to worry about the new parties stealing their votes in these local elections, and therefore whilst they may not win many councils, they are expected to win a lot of seats.
The surprise of the night could be the Green Party’s results; with the Extinction Rebellion protests putting Climate Change at the heart of current British political debate, they could do very well.
The most likely outcome is that the Conservatives lose badly, with Labour performing well. Nonetheless, if the smaller parties gain seats across the country then this could send a stark warning to both major parties!