Local elections: the fight for control
With much noise being generated around the upcoming European referendum, you could be excused for not noticing that there are local election battles taking place across the North West. Luckily, Remarkable have taken a look at the key battles and summarised them for you below.
Perhaps the most interesting set of elections taking place in May will be in Liverpool, which will see voters across the city go to the polls and vote for their City Mayor. Currently held by Joe Anderson, the Mayoral position has a great amount of power in the City and has the ability to drive investment and direct policy across the local authority. Last time, Joe Anderson was elected overwhelmingly with around 57% of the vote: however it may not be as easy this time around. After having to oversee huge cuts to council services and pushing large, and often controversial, housing developments across Liverpool, Joe Anderson’s popularity has taken a slide, and his opponents have been quick to jump on this.
Richard Kemp, the Liberal Democrat stalwart and one of the longest-serving councillors in Liverpool, is one such person. A recent poll on the Liverpool Echo website put Cllr Kemp in front, with 35% of the people saying they would vote for him to be the next Mayor, though it should be noted that such website polls are not usually reliable indicators! Perhaps more interesting is the challenge from local Green Party leader, Cllr Tom Crone. The Greens have made progress in recent years in Liverpool and could very well challenge for a Parliamentary seat in the future, any less than second place for him will be seen as a disappointment.
With the election for a Mayor of Greater Manchester looming in 2017, the elections for the City of Manchester should prove a good opportunity for the Labour Party to solidify its already impressive support. Council Leader Sir Richard Leese, is one of the most powerful Labour politicians in the country thanks to his Labour Group’s impressive 96 seat majority (there is literally no other Group on the Council). On a side note, John Leech, the former Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, is standing in Didsbury West ward where Labour have an 11.5% majority over the Liberal Democrats. Can John Leech break Labour’s stranglehold over the Council and start a fight back for the Lib Dems?
Although there are no scheduled local elections in Lancaster this May, there will be two by-elections taking place: in Carnforth & Millhead ward and John O’Gaunt ward. Currently the Council is under no overall control, with the Labour Group holding the largest number of seats with 29. Two wins in these elections will mean Labour hold a majority on the Council, and therefore overall control of the Council’s political direction. Currently, Labour are favourites to win the by-election in John O’Gaunt ward, which is also the seat of the Labour Group Leader, Cllr Eileen Blamire; however it is not so clear-cut in Carnforth & Millhead which was won by the Conservatives in 2015 with a 378 majority over Labour. With so much at stake in this particular election, all eyes will fall upon Carnforth & Millhead to see if Labour can take the seat and win overall control of the Council.
With the increase of neighbourhood plans across the country, it is becoming more important to fully engage with parish and town councils to ensure a smooth planning process.
In less than a week, the United States will have a new President and the most divisive election in recent history will have come to a close.
This morning, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet announced it would take its draft Local Plan to consultation for a six week period in September and October.