Brits must be a vote-weary bunch. They head to the polls yet again on Thursday in local elections timed just over a month away from the June 8 general election. 4,851 council seats are up for grabs across England, Scotland and Wales, with six areas in England voting for newly created mayorships.
While local elections are usually called either midway through a sitting government’s term or on the same day as general elections, this has been skewed PM May’s decision to call snap elections last month.
Polls suggest May’s Conservatives will gain 115 seats in Thursday’s polls, while an anaemic Labour party is set to lose more than 175. The Tories are confident of wrestling nationalist seats in the north and east of Scotland away from the Scottish National Party, taking advantage of increased support from Scots who voted to leave the EU (the SNP campaigned for ‘remain’).
Although voter turnout is predicted be meagre at 30 to 40%, the local elections are being seen as a bellwether for the coming general election. With early polls predicting Ms May will secure a parliamentary majority in June, the domestic front appears to be calming for the Brexit-touting PM. Political challenges on the international scene will undoubtedly prove more challenging.