Wales goes to the polls with elections in all 22 local authorities
Wales head to the polls today with elections in 22 local authority wards, with voting booths open between 7am and closing at 10pm.
As in the Senedd election last year, the rules have been changed so that anyone over the age of 16 can vote, as can foreign nationals living in Wales and registered to vote. This can be a British, Irish or Commonwealth national, an EU citizen or a foreign national with permission to stay in the UK.
Councils in Wales will start counting their votes tomorrow, Friday, so it is unlikely we will know who took specific wards and who is in control of the councils until tomorrow afternoon.
There are a number of specific neighborhoods to watch in Wales as well as a number of councils that could see some interesting results.
Across the UK, the story should be one of sort of a Labor versus Conservative rebound. But this dynamic could have ripple effects in a number of Welsh neighborhoods.
They include the councils of Anglesey, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire – where Plaid Cymru has no overall control but governs in coalition with a number of independents.
In Cardiff, Labor are hoping to tighten their grip on the council, but Plaid Cymru and the Greens have set up an alliance to try to break into it.
Labor is also hoping to regain control of Bridgend, where the Tories made inroads in 2017 before taking seats in Westminster in 2019. They will also look for a strong showing in the ‘red wall’ councils of Flintshire and Wrexham for the same reason. .
Meanwhile, the Tories are hoping not to lose overall control of Monmouthshire and perhaps regain control of the Vale of Glamorgan, having lost control due to an internal falling out following the council election of 2017.
In Westminster, the narrative will be whether the Tories will be forced to pay the price for the so-called Partygate saga in Downing Street, which saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak fined for breaking laws on coronaviruses.
Oliver Dowden, the leader of the Conservative Party, has sought to underline to the electorate the local choice he is making amid reports that some candidates have tried to distance themselves from Westminster during the campaign.
In a statement as the polls opened, Mr Dowden said: ‘Today’s election is about one thing: who do you want to lead your council?
“The choice couldn’t be tougher – between Tories cutting council taxes and providing good services, or opposition parties wasting money on political games and vain projects.”
Education Minister Michelle Donelan argued that Mr Johnson was “an asset, not a liability” in the election.
Ms Donelan told Sky News she could ‘understand’ why adviser hopefuls want to show they’re ‘going to work hard on all those things that impact daily life’ rather than focusing on what’s coming up. goes to Westminster.
Environment Secretary George Eustice has acknowledged that ‘all prime ministers will always be very aware of the vibe of their parliamentary party’, in response to speculation that a poor showing on Thursday could lead to more letters of defiance from Conservative MPs.
Mr Johnson, during a visit to Southampton Airport on the final day before the polls opened, stressed he was ‘absolutely confident’ he had the ‘right program for the country’.
Tory supporters will likely be eagerly watching the results in bona fide London local authorities such as Wandsworth – under Tory control for 44 years – Westminster and Barnet where YouGov pollsters believe Labor could upset.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer used his campaign rally call to highlight the ‘constant drip of witchcraft and scandal’ in Mr Johnson’s administration.
Along with the party, the Tories have been hit by a series of controversies, including former Wakefield MP Imran Nasir Ahmad Khan convicted of sexually assaulting a teenager and veteran MP Neil Parish who resigned after he admitted watching pornography in the Commons.
Sir Keir said the Government had breached the Covid regulations they had put in place ‘time and time again’ and said the Tories’ ‘failure’ to tackle the cost of living crisis had been a “disgrace”, as well as the Chancellor’s decision to raise the national price. insurance last month.
Writing in the Daily Mirror, Sir Keir said: ‘The British public should not have to put up with a government that refuses to take seriously the very real issues facing you and your family.
There have been Tory calls for Durham Police to investigate whether the Leader of the Opposition broke Covid rules while campaigning ahead of Hartlepool’s 2021 by-election.
But Sir Keir said it was a ‘smear’ to suggest he broke the rules while having ‘a takeaway and a beer while I was working late at night’.
Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said on Thursday voters had the opportunity “to send Boris Johnson a message he cannot ignore”.
“The Conservatives failed to deal with the cost of living crisis, voted to pollute our rivers and abandoned our ambulance services,” he said.
“Whether in Somerset or Stockport, Winchester or Wimbledon, St Albans or South Cambridgeshire, I have spoken to long-time Tory voters who feel totally taken for granted by a Prime Minister who breaks the law and a Chancellor who increase taxes.”
The Lib Dems are hoping to cause upheaval in Hull by unseating it from Labour’s control, while vying for victory against the Tories in places such as Wokingham and Sutton.
In England, more than 4,000 councilors from 146 councils will stand for election in major cities including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and all 32 London boroughs.
All 32 councils in Scotland and 22 in Wales will also hold elections, with polling stations open between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, tensions were high in Northern Ireland ahead of the Stormont election where voters will head to the polls in 18 constituencies to elect 90 MPs.
Opinion polls have suggested that Sinn Fein is likely to lead the poll, and the Alliance party is expected to have an increase in support.
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