There are more than sixty local elections across most parts of the East and West Midlands on Thursday 2nd May 2019.
Of course the politicians elected here are campaigning purely on local issues ... but traditionally council election have been used by the electorate to "send a message" to Westminster. And with the current chaos over Brexit, it could make for some interesting results.
- 6 big urban Metropolitan Councils
- 8 Unitary Authorities
- 48 District Councils .. mainly in more rural areas.
- 2 Mayoral Elections
The District Councils deal with things like local planning, bin collections and leisure centres. The Metropolitan and Unitary councils deal with most local services including things like education, adult social care and local buses.
Here are some of the key stories to keep an eye on through Thursday night and Friday;
DERBY - at the last local elections the Labour council leader lost his seat in the only UKIP gain in the entire country. It resulted in a hung council which the Conservatives run as a minority administration, with support from UKIP and the Lib Dems). Only a third of the seats are being contested, but it could be enough to swing it back to Labour.
STOKE - Traditional Labour city, but currently run by a coalition of independents and conservatives. It could easily change hands. As a strong “leave” city, this could also give an indication of public reaction to both Labour and the Conservative's Brexit strategy.
WALSALL - Another hung council. This area voted strongly to leave the EU in 2016 and has been moving steadily towards the Tories in recent years. Will that continue? Or will UKIP or independents make inroads?
LEICESTER - One of the safest of safe Labour cities, but as well as voting for councillors, people are also being asked to return a directly elected mayor. Peter Soulsby has held that post since it was created 8 years ago.
WARWICK - Only a second tier (district) council, but one two watch because the parliamentary seat which covers most of this council area flipped from Conservative to Labour at the 2017 General Election, and nearly 15% of registered voters signed the Revoke Article 50 petition. Might this vote hint at how Midlands Remainers are feeling. Could slip to no overall control?