Local council elections will be held across parts of the United Kingdom today after a campaign centred around improving community services and Brexit.
More than 8,200 local seats are up for grabs across England and Northern Ireland, roughly half of which are held by the Conservative Party, which has ruled the country at a national level since 2010. Today’s local elections are seen as a litmus test for the Conservatives, who are projected to lose between 800 and 1,000 of their local government seats.
Brexit has remained a primary issue for voters. In particular, many Britons have cited the leadership of PM Theresa May, and her seeming inability to deliver Brexit, as a reason for defecting from the Tories. In contrast, the centre-left Labour Party has been capitalising on growing support for its softer approach to Brexit, which includes the possibility of a second referendum. By pledging to reverse years of austerity and cuts to local services, Labour is expected to address growing voter discontentment and increase its presence in Northern England and Northern Ireland.
With early elections still a possibility towards the end of this year, the local vote is expected to signal the shifting views of the electorate. Therefore, a strong swing against the Conservatives and towards Labour is expected.
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Kai looks at security and political turbulence in the emerging market economies and also serves as a publisher with The Daily Brief.