1. ITV Report

Midlands Local Elections 2012

Ballot box Photo: ITV Central

22 Midlands councils will go to the polls in the local elections tonight.

It should be a test of which political party is best at running our schools, emptying our bins and protecting local services.

In reality it is often how the partes are perceived at national level which will determine where voters place the cross on their ballot paper.

So what's at stake? At the moment the conservatives are the dominant force across the midlands but labour is on the rise in the opinion polls and the party should begin to regain traditional territory.

At Birmingham City Council they need only to gain four seats to take control after 8 years of a Tory/Lib Dem coalition.

At Derby City Council it's another three way split. Labour could regain control if disaffection with those currently in power sustains.

The smaller parties too are gaining ground.

The Greens for example are putting up candidates in every Birmingham ward.

The UK Independence Party already have councillors in the Midlands and the BNP currently have a handful of Midlands seats.

The Prime Minister and the Labour leader chose the midlands to launch their parties national campaigns.

Ed Miliband was at Kings Heath in Birmingham and David Cameron paid a flying visit to Amber Valley.

The Tories are firmly in control there at the moment but Mr Cameron is well aware that the Derbyshire Council was formerly in Labour hands.

David Cameron Credit: PA

Other Labour targets include Nuneaton and Bedworth, Newcastle Under Lyme, Walsall, and Cannock Chase.

Ed Miliband would like nothing better than to travel up to the Midlands on Friday morning to celebrate regaining control of former strongholds but as he learned at the Bradford West by election when the Respect candidate George Galloway stormed to victory you cannot assume anything until the votes are in and the counts completed.

Ed Miliband Credit: PA

Below is a list of all councils holding elections in 2012 - in most a third of the seats are up for grabs.

Seven Metropolitan authorities:

Two Unitary authorities

Thirteen District councils

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