A crucial test for Johnson, Starmer, and the new LD leader
One of the consequences of the the pandemic is that this year’s May local elections had to be postponed and also there have been no council by elections. Clearly having voting taking place while coronavirus is having such an impact would not be a good idea but democratic institutions have to carry on and renew themselves.
So assuming there is no further postponement then the country looks set for a massive number of elections on May the 6th next year. They include all of the elections that should have happened in May as well as all those on the cycle that are due to take place next year.
These are very important for Starmer and Labour and the new LD leader, presumably Ed Davey, whose party is relying on success at local level to help build back credibility. They will also been seen as a huge test for Johnson particularly as they’ll be his first electoral test after Brexit.
If coronavirus is still prevalent we might see a fully postal election such as those that took place in the 2004 Euros in several regions in England. Whatever it is hard for there to be a further postponement.
At stake will be all the seats in the Scottish and Welsh parliaments so in those parts of the UK with devolved governments it will be almost a mini general election with turnouts expected to be higher than you would normally see on a local election day.
The 2016 cohort of seats up that should have been voted on last May include the 2.5k English council ward contests as well as several major Mayoral elections including that for Sadiq Khan’s job as mayor of London.
The 2017 cohort is politically very interesting. Those local elections took place after TMay had triggered GE2017 and her party was riding very high. The Tories made a massive 570 gains many at Labour’s expense. The following month at the general election there was a big turnaround with Corbyn’s LAB beating expectations and TMay losing the Tory majority.
One thing that could attract a lot of attention is that the May 6th 2021 election line-up will see voting take place in many wards in the Westminster seats that were part of LAB’s northern wall that collapsed and helped give Johnson his huge majority. Are those going to stay blue or could we get signs of a Tory struggle?
Local English elections take place every year over a four year cycle with a different group each time. What is not clear is whether the 2021 cycle will all be for four year terms or whether the 2020 group could be for three years thus restoring the timetable.
I’m calling them the UK midterms although the timetable is not quite as straightforward as the US midterms,