Will anyone take overall control after the elections in Calderdale?
Calderdale will head to the polls next month to elect new councillorsÂ but how important will national party politics be to the final result?
It was less than a year ago that Theresa May’s ill-fated decision to call a snap General Election, combined with an unexpectedly strong showing by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, led to the Conservatives’ majority in Parliament being dramatically eroded.
And after 12 months of fluctuating fortunes for the Prime Minister and Her Majesty’s Opposition, voters will soon have another chance to make their feelings known at the ballot box.
The weeks of campaigning leading up to the elections are likely to see local issues come to the fore. But according to Lord Robert Hayward, a Tory peer and elections analyst, the majority of the electorate will vote based on their views of party politics at a national level.
“Given that a third of the electorate turn out at local elections, the question is who are the third that are turning out.”
“Generally they go heavily against the incumbent government, and particularly after eight years of austerity the Tories can reasonably expect to be mullered. But that is the reason I don’t expect it to impact on Theresa May’s prime ministerial role.”
The majority of councils holding elections are expected to stay under the control of Labour.
Two West Yorkshire authorities classed as being in ‘no overall control’, with no single group having a majority of seats, could also go red on May 3.
Labour are two seats short of a majority in Kirklees and three in neighbouring Calderdale. In the latter, Labour has 23 seats, the Conservatives 21 and the Liberal Democrats five, with two independents. Labour need to get to 26 to take control.
According to Lord Hayward: “I would be surprised if Labour didn’t take control of Kirklees but I don’t think they will take control of Calderdale.
“If you look at the split seats [in Calderdale], Labour may lose one to the Liberal Democrats, which will put them even further away, they may gain others but not enough. My guess is that they will take Kirklees but not Calderdale.”