Labour in the Local Elections 2024

In what will be the last major test of party popularity before the General Election, almost 2,600 councillors, London Assembly members, the Mayor of London and the 9 Combined Authority Mayors will be up for election on 2nd May.

Labour expects a strong showing this year, having become the party with the largest number of councillors in 2023, and will be wanting to extend this lead; they will also be using the elections as a chance to test policies on a major scale. On the 28th March, they released ’Power and Partnership: Labour’s Plan to Power Up Britain’ which, while styled as a local election document, could easily be mistaken for a manifesto for the General Election.

There are a few key councils where Labour will be looking to win or gain seats on 2nd May.

Oxford and Bristol

Likely first among these will be the cities of Oxford and Bristol. Labour lost their majority in both cities due to resignations from the party with Oxford’s situation being related to the conflict in Gaza.

We expect Oxford will return to Labour as they need to regain two seats. Bristol is more of a major battleground. The Green Party have made consistent gains and are the largest party on the council with Labour governing as a minority. Due to the lack of Conservative presence, there will be little tactical voting and there could be a strong possibility of the Greens winning the council.

Essex, the West Midlands and the South East

There are a number of councils across the Midlands and South East where Labour will want to gain to prove their high polling figures translate to votes. Harlow Council in Essex could be a council Labour may win as they are currently the second largest party with the Conservatives governing as a minority.

Several councils in the West Midlands Labour will be looking to win or overturn, chief among them being Tamworth. Having already overturned a 20,000 majority in the recent parliamentary by-election, Labour will be seeking to take control of the council.

In the South East, Labour will be looking to make gains in the traditionally Conservative Hampshire councils such as Rushmoor where they have already had some success. Milton Keynes may also be an interesting battleground as, by winning two or three seats, Labour may be able to gain an outright majority and possibly end their coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

The Mayoral Elections

While many Mayoral elections may be forgone conclusions, barring surprises, such as Labour’s Sadiq Khan in London and the Conservative’s Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of the North of Tyne, the election for the West Midlands will be one to watch.

In the West Midlands, Andy Street, the Conservative Mayor, won in 2021 with 54% of the vote. While he is popular and has positioned himself as a quasi-independent Mayor, critical of the Conservative Party, Labour will be looking to unseat him and will likely use a victory in the West Midlands as a marker they can win the General Election. The financial issues in the Labour-run Birmingham City Council though may throw a spanner in the works.

Click here to read Power and Partnership: Labour’s Plan to Power Up Britain.

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