Anglia Late Edition - May 2024

Watch the latest Anglia Late Edition - the regional politics programme covering issues affecting the East of England. Presented by Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson

This programme was broadcast in the ITV Anglia region on Thursday 16 May 2024

The prime minister has indicated a general election will be held in the "second half of the year", which means it could be as early as July but as late as December. The smart money is on an October or November poll.

That means it could be at least six months of frenzied campaigning and electioneering. Will voters be able to stand the pace?

Anglia Late Edition explored in detail the results of local elections held on Thursday 2 May in some parts of the ITV Anglia region. With nearly 500 councillors election, the Conservatives lost 90 of their seats in the region while Labour gained 64.

In terms of share of the votes Labour took 31% in the East compored to 28% for the Conservatives. Does that mean Labour is poised for victory in the general election whenever it comes?

The last local elections before the Labour landslide win in 1997 under Tony Blair was held in May 1996. Then it was a similar set of council seats being contested in the Anglia region but in that election Labour won 45% of the votes and the Tories were on 27%.

Professor Paul Whiteley from the Department of Government at the University of Essex has studied local elections since the Second World War and says there is a link between the proportion of council seats won in local elections and then subsequent general elections.

Professor Whiteley says the 2024 local election results don't seem to be pointing to another Labour landslide: "Looking at the seats won in the local elections and trying to work out from that what's likely to happen to seats in the House of Commons, then I think Labour's going to get a relatively modest majority."

Emma Hutchinson was joined on Anglia Late Edition by Jerome Mayhew MP (Con), Rachel Hopkins MP (Lab) and Baroness Sal Brinton (Lib Dem) Credit: ITV Anglia

Emma Hutchinson was joined by three politicans from the East of England on the programme:

  • Jerome Mayhew has been the Conservative MP for Broadland in Norfolk since 2019.

  • Rachel Hopkins has been the Labour MP for Luton South since 2019

  • Baroness Sal Brinton is a Liberal Democrat peer and was the party's president for five years until 2020

Anglia Late Edition also looked ahead to the report of the inquiry into the blood contamination scandal which is due to be published on Monday 20 May.

It has been called the worst treatment disaster in NHS history where more than 30,000 patients were given infected blood and blood products in the 1970s and 80s that were imported from America from high-risk donors.

It's thought 3,000 later died after contracting HIV or hepatitis C while thousands more are still living with chronic conditions.

The government has accepted the need for compensation which is expected to run into billions of pounds.

The programme also discussed fake news which many fear could confused voters in the upcoming general election.

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia in Norwich currently has an exhibition called "What is Truth?"

Professor Jago Cooper, Director of the Sainsbury Centre said: "I think everyone in their lives now finds it impossible to actually really know what truth is.

"We live in a world where images are being manipulated, where people can phone us with these robo-calls from AIs that pretend to be our loved-ones and ask for money.

"How do we actually know what's true in the world is absolute crucial. And if we can't know what's true, how do we make the right decisions.

"What we want to do is use art to explore that question and really help people to answer it"

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