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Local campaigns are revving up with one month to go until the local elections take place including council and mayoral elections in some parts of England and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in most areas of England and Wales. 

Latest polling suggests the Tories will lose 500 council seats, with suggestions that an early election could be triggered by a set of particularly poor local election results for the party.

More than 2,600 councillors are being chosen in 107 local authorities and every seat in the 21 councils is being contested. Here are some key areas to watch out for when results come out on 3 May.

Bristol

Given the Green Party’s historic gains at the local elections last year – the highest ever growth in the party’s 50 year history – it is aiming attention at areas like Bristol where it is the largest group on the council. 
Left-wing activist and author Owen Jones has helped the cause by recently pledging his support for the Green candidate Carla Denyer in Bristol. Bristol Central currently holds the smallest swing needed for the seat to change hands among Green target seats, with Denyer challenging Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire at the general election. The result of the local election could be an important indicator of which way the city will swing.

Dudley

Dudley has been flagged as somewhere to watch given its history as a heavy vote leave constituency where support for Labour dipped since Brexit. But last year’s local elections saw Labour narrowly win more seats there than the Tories with a swing to Labour of 12% between 2021 and 2023. A repeat would give Labour the chance to take power.

Sheffield

The city council in Sheffield has suffered eight defections from Labour candidates, putting the party only narrowly ahead of the Lib Dems which could lead to an interesting candidates race in the district. 

Rochdale

Whether the recent election victory for George Galloway of the Workers Party of Britain will have an impact on the local elections in the area remains to be seen, but in his Commons speech he threatened the Labour Party at the local elections with a pledge to form an alliance of independents to remove mainstream parties from the council. 

Essex

Four councils in Essex have been flagged as presenting an opportunity for radical change, such as Brentwood FC which the Lib Dems are hoping to take full control of for the first time since 2003. Similarly Labour are hoping to gain control in Harlow DC and Thurrock, although its suggested that Reform UK may dent these hopes here. 

North-east mayoral election

Independent candidate Jamie Driscoll is hoping to become the north-east mayor, having been barred from standing for Labour in the race. He recently gained endorsement from the RMT union which is giving his campaign £10,000 with Mick Lynch calling Driscoll a “strong voice” for the north-east. Currently the mayor of North of Tyne combined authority, Driscoll is rated second favourite to win in the mayoral race, below Labour candidate Kim McGuinness. 

West Midlands and Tees Valley mayoral elections 

In these seats the incumbent Tory mayors will be hoping to hold onto their positions, however it will not be a given that their seats are safe given the level of discontent for their party. Losing their positions could be a further indicator of public mood towards the Tories. 

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

The post Some key seats to watch out for in the May local elections a month before appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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