One month until Britain heads to the polls for election day
The New European
- Credit: PA
Millions of voters head to the polls one month from today in the first major set of elections since the coronavirus pandemic.
A huge number of contests are taking place across Great Britain on “Super Thursday” – May 6 – including some that were postponed from 2020 because of Covid-19.
Voters in Scotland and Wales will be choosing new parliaments.
In London there will be elections for the mayor and assembly, which were originally due to take place last year.
Across the rest of England, voters will be choosing a mixture of councillors, local mayors, regional mayors and police commissioners.
There is also a parliamentary by-election to choose a new MP for the seat of Hartlepool.
The scale of Super Thursday means that every voter in Great Britain will be able to take part in at least one type of poll, making it the biggest event of its kind outside a general election.
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It will also be the first big electoral test for Sir Keir Starmer since he became Labour leader in April 2020, and for Prime Minister Boris Johnson since his general election victory in December 2019.
Time is short for people to register to vote in the elections, with the deadline less than two weeks away on April 19.
Registering can be done online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.
For people wanting to use a postal vote, the deadline for applications in Scotland is today – April 6 – while in England and Wales it is April 20.
This year’s unusually large crop of elections comes after a period in which Covid-19 put the nation’s ballot boxes in storage.
Aside from a handful of council by-elections in recent months in Scotland and Wales, no polls have been held anywhere in the UK since March 2020 – a gap unprecedented in modern history.
Here is an overview of the elections taking place on May 6:
– In Scotland, the SNP will be hoping to remain in power in the Scottish Parliament for a fourth consecutive term, while the Tories will look to improve their position as the main opposition party. A strong performance by the SNP would boost leader Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign for a second independence referendum. A total of 129 members of the parliament will be elected.
– In Wales, voters will be choosing all 60 members of the Welsh Parliament, as well as commissioners for the nation’s four police forces. Labour will hope to retain parliamentary power, though either the Conservatives or Plaid Cymru could run them a close second. For the first time, 16 and 17-year-olds in Wales will be able to vote in the parliamentary elections.
– Police and crime commissioners will be elected in all areas of England apart from London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, where these powers are held by the directly elected mayor. It will be the third time such elections have taken place. A total of 35 commissioners will be chosen across England, a majority of whom are currently Conservatives.
– In London, Labour’s Sadiq Khan is running for a second term as mayor. His main challengers are Shaun Bailey (Conservative), Luisa Porritt (Liberal Democrats) and Sian Berry (Green). All 25 seats in the London Assembly are also up for grabs.
– Regional mayors, also known as combined authority mayors, will be elected for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England and – for the first time – West Yorkshire. High-profile names seeking re-election include Andy Burnham (Labour) in Greater Manchester and Andy Street (Conservative) in the West Midlands.
– Five local mayors are also due to be elected on May 6, for the local authorities of Bristol, Doncaster, Liverpool, North Tyneside and Salford.
– A large number of local elections will take place across England. There will be 21 county councils holding elections, along with 28 unitary authorities, 59 district councils and 35 of the 36 metropolitan boroughs (the one exception is Birmingham, where elections will take place in 2022).
– In Hartlepool, a by-election will be held to choose a new Member of Parliament. The contest has been triggered by the resignation of the previous MP, Labour’s Mike Hill. Candidates include Paul Williams (Labour), Jill Mortimer (Conservative) and Andy Hagon (Liberal Democrats).
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