Local Elections 2022: Five things we learned in the ITV Anglia region

Thursday 5 May saw the biggest political test of the year as millions of voters went to the polls in local council elections. More than 700,000 ballots were cast in the ITV Anglia region and the results provided a fascinating insight in the political mood of the nation.

ITV News Anglia's Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson looks back on a week in politics.

Now the dust is settling on the local election results and MPs are back at Westminster for the next session of Parliament, they are still thinking about how this vote went.

Despite losing dozens of councillors across this region, the Conservatives are relieved that these elections have not proved a tipping point for Boris Johnson's premiership. 

There had been fears that poor results might have prompted more Tory MPs to call for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.

That has not happened yet and many of the Conservative MP in the East of England now believe Boris Johnson will lead them into the next General Election.

Chart showing the council seats won by each party in the 2022 local elections in the ITV Anglia region

Labour MPs are pleased with the results they achieved in the Anglia region.

The party is looking at those local election results in places where there are marginal parliamentary constituencies - seats Labour would need to win to get Sir Keir Starmer into Downing Street.

Labour MPs say they are pleased with gains in Stevenage, Ipswich and Cambridge but they are disappointed not to do better in Harlow and Peterborough. 

As for the Liberal Democrats, they are toasting success in the Eastern counties and the first signs of a sustained recovery since they went into the coalition government in 2010.

The Lib Dems did particularly well in St Albans in Hertfordshire, where they have their only MP in the East. With 50 council seats in the city, they now have an overall majority of 44 while the Conservatives lost 19 seats are are left with just four remaining.

The party also did well in Huntingdonshire and in South Cambridgeshire, after a spectacular result there in 2018 this time round they made gains and this is exactly the area of this region where they will target parliamentary seats at the next election.  

Chart showing the share of the vote in the 2022 local election in the ITV Anglia region

Five things we learned from the local elections in the Anglia region in May 2022

  • The Liberal Democrats won the most council seat in the Anglia region - the first time the Conservatives have not been top for many years.

  • The Conservatives still got the most votes in the region but saw their share fall to the lowest point since 2016.

  • Labour won more councillors in the Anglia region than when these seats were last fought in 2018 but their vote share did decline over that time.

  • The Liberal Democrats have taken some time to recover from entering into a coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010 but scored their highest share of the votes in more than a decade.

  • The Green Party made gains in Cambridge, Colchester, Huntingdonshire and Norwich and are now represented on around half of the region's district and unitary councils.

More than 400 councillor were elected in the Anglia region on Thursday 5 May in the biggest test of political opinion of the year Credit: ITV News Anglia

It is difficult to extrapolate out from local election results to a general election.

Voters often cast their ballots in different ways in locals or national elections, not everywhere has local elections each year and the turnout is much lower than a General Election.

Some political commentators say the results nationwide could lead to a hung parliament. 

Looking at the results in the East of England, the Conservatives may worry that come the next election they could face big battles from Labour in some seats and from the Lib Dems in others. They could be once again fighting a battle on two fronts.

Local elections were held in only 20 of the 54 districts in the ITV New Anglia region in May 2022 and in most places only one-third of the seats were up for election - about 400 in total.

In May 2023 there will be elections in most areas of the Anglia region and most councils will have all the seats up for grabs. More than 1,300 councillors will be seeking your vote.

At that point it could be around a year before a general election, which must be held before January 2025 although it could be sooner.