1. ITV Report

Local elections: who will be the winners and losers in our region?

Around 400 council seats are up for grabs in Thursday's (May 3) elections Photo: ITV Anglia

Across the Anglia Region around 400 council seats are up for grabs in Thursday's elections.

The feeling at Westminster is that two years into the Coalition Government, these elections are a big test of public opinion.

Parliament was not sitting on Wednesday and many MPs have joined the campaign trail helping their parties' candidates knock on doors and deliver leaflets.

TORY PROSPECTS

The political map in the East is predominantly blue and the Conservatives are hoping it will remain so.

The last time these council seats were contested was four years ago in 2008, Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, Labour was unpopular and it was a high point for the Tories.

In our region they got 44 per cent of the vote, it will be difficult for them to repeat that at this mid term stage in Government.

Many Tory backbenchers in our region admit the six weeks since the Budget have been tricky for the Party.

Tory backbenchers including Clacton MP Douglas Carswell, Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, voted against the Government on aspects of the Budget.

Then last week Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries described the Prime Minister and the Chancellor as "Two arrogant posh boys who don't know the price of milk".

Downing Street are said to be bracing for major losses but Great Yarmouth MP, Brandon Lewis, says despite the mid term blues he's confident the Conservatives can fend off Labour in places like Great Yarmouth, other Tory MPs aren't so sure.

LABOUR HOPES

For Labour the hope is that they can make significant progress in our region, after a devastating General Election result in 2010, when they lost all but the two Luton seats in our region.

Luton South MP, Gavin Shuker, admits he is hoping for steady progress but it may not be "headline" grabbing.

Their key target is Harlow, where the Conservatives have a majority of just one. Labour launched its local election campaign for the East in the town and in the last 48 hours before polls open both Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman and Party leader Ed Miliband have campaigned in Harlow.

If they can't win in Harlow, party insiders admit the Labour leader's position could look precarious. They will also be hoping to win a majority in Norwich for the first time in 10 years and even take power off the Conservatives in Great Yarmouth, where the Tories have been in control since 2000.

LIB DEM FEARS

The Liberal Democrats currently have an overall majority on just one council in the Anglia region, Cambridge.

They are hopeful of hanging on there. But Liberal Democrats say being in Government makes local elections tricky.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb says he expects the party will make net losses in this Thursday's elections.

Colchester MP Bob Russell says his message to voters is to support councillors who have done a good job for the town, whatever party they are from.

Privately the Liberal Democrats will be hoping these elections go better for them than last year's local elections when they suffered significant losses in North Norfolk, Northampton and Chelmsford.

GREENS AND UKIP

The Greens will be hoping to add to their tally of councillors on Norwich City Council.

They are the main opposition party there and are campaigning hard to stop Labour's hopes of an overall majority.

UKIP came second in our region in the European Elections in June 2009.

Recent opinion polls put them neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats and UKIP will be hoping the opinion polls translate into actual votes in ballot boxes tomorrow .

RESULTS

Many politicians at Westminster, including the Prime Minister, say they hope people will cast their votes tomorrow on local rather than national issues.

But they know that very many voters will consider the national picture when they vote.

So all eyes will be on the results when they start coming in early Friday morning.

All parties are playing down expectations, but if there are major losses for the Conservatives there are rumours it could prompt a Cabinet reshuffle and if Labour fail to make good gains then expect questions about their leadership.

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