Political update

It is difficult to remember a time when we did not have political turmoil – we had Brexit and COVID, the invasion of Ukraine, and then three leaders inside a few months. Hopefully, we will see a period of relative stability as we progress into 2023.

The Conservatives have understandably not fared well during the recent leadership debacle. The party is trailing Labour in the political polls by up to 20 points. The Conservatives are between 21% to 29%, Labour on 45% to 48%, and LibDems on 7% to 13% (7 January 2023). This level of Conservative unpopularity is being reflected in council and parliamentary byelections around the country: in December, the Conservatives attempt to defend 12 seats but saw them fail in nine. Surprisingly, the LibDems made the most progress, gaining nine and Labour just three. Perhaps not surprisingly as in last year’s local elections, the biggest winner of the three parties was the LibDems, not Labour.

This May’s elections will be a stern test for the Conservatives, and the first test for Rishi Sunak. Traditionally, mid-term local elections are always a bloodbath for the party in power, although that has not been the case in recent years. In 2019, Labour did not achieve the success expected of the opposition party.  This was partly due to the growing unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn. In 2021 Labour again failed to makes gains in local elections. One of the strongest factors in this election was the strength of Boris Johnsons vaccine rollout.

This year’s elections will be particularly poignant as there are also a number of all-up districts and boroughs, those that only elect every four years.

As usual, we will be doing election predictions for key councils in our operating area and sharing them with our clients. We have been pretty accurate in our predictions in recent elections, and will hopefully maintain that record this year, although it will not be easy! If you have any areas you would like us to look at please do drop us a line.