Local elections 2022: What's at stake in the Midlands

PA stock pic of a ballot box.

On 5 May, voters go to the polls in the local elections. 

A chance to decide which political party or independent group is best suited to run local services such as schools, waste removal, potholes repair and planning. 

But of course for many voters a cross on the ballot paper is also a chance to express a view on what's happening on the national stage - partygate, the rise in the cost of living, increasing energy bills and the ever lengthening waits for healthcare. 

So what's at stake in the Midlands?

Birmingham city centre

Traditionally it's always been a straight fight between the Conservatives and Labour.

The Liberal Democrats are in charge in Cheltenham, but while they have representation on other councils they come a distant third to the two main parties and are increasingly feeling and noticing the rise of the Green party. 

Not every council is up for grabs.

In the West Midlands only 15 authorities are holding contests but they include Labour controlled Birmingham where all 101 council seats are being fought for. 

In the East Midlands the Conservatives are the biggest party in Derby where a third of seats are up - Derby is one of only four councils holding elections in 2022. 

At district council level the Conservatives were the big winners in 2021 - a landslide victory in Nuneaton and Bedworth - taking control for the first time since 2008 - they also gained control at Dudley, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Cannock Chase and Amber Valley.

But will the lockdown controversies surrounding Boris Johnson start to swing swing support away? 

The big challenge is for Labour is to start rebuilding that famous red wall so that they can win back power and become a force again. 

Can they be confident that their long hold of power at the the metropolitan authorities of Birmingham Coventry Sandwell and Wolverhampton will stay firm? 

There are some independent councillors standing this time and where successful they bring an additional voice to the table. 

As ever voter turnout is an issue - sometimes as low as 30%.

Here are the councils holding elections in 2022:

Ballot box

Metropolitan authorities

  • Birmingham - All 101 seats are up for election and it has been a Labour controlled council since 2012

  • Coventry - 1/3 seats. Safe Labour council since 2010

  • Dudley - 1/3 seats. Conservatives seized control in 2021 after five years of of no overall control - will they be able to hold on

  • Sandwell - 1/3 seats. Last year for the first time ever Conservatives won some seats  - 10 - it has been a Labour controlled council since 1979

  • Solihull - 1/3 seats. Conservative controlled council since for many years - the Green Party are the official opposition and not one Labour councillor

  • Walsall - 1/3 seats. Conservatives have been in control since 2019 - before that it was No overall control 2011 - 2018 - so again a good test of public opinion - even though turnout last year was only 30%

  • Wolverhampton - 1/3 seats. Labour controlled council since 2011

The rest of the elections are district council elections

  • Newcastle Under Lyme - All seats. Conservatives took control at the end of 2021 for the first time in decades when four independents defected to them .. before that it had been in No Overall Control or Labour control since since 1973

  • Nuneaton & Bedworth - 1/2 seats. Conservative controlled after their landslide win over Labour in 2021 when they seized 11 seats from Labour to take control for the first time since 2008

  • Cheltenham - 1/2 seats. Liberal Democrat council and not a single Labour MP and only eight conservatives

  • Cannock Chase - 1/3 seats. Another historic win for the Conservatives in 2021 taking control of the council for the first time ever .. before that it had either been Labour or No Overall Control

  • Cheltenham - 1/2 seats. Liberal Democrat council and not a single Labour Councillor and only eight conservatives 

  • Redditch - 1/3 seats. Switches between Labour and Conservatives but the Conservatives have been in control since 2018

  • Rugby - 1/3 seats. Safely in Conservative hands

  • Tamworth - 1/3 seats. Conservatives in control

  • Worcester - 1/3 seats. Conservatives in control

East Midlands

  • Amber Valley - 1/3 seats. Always a council reflecting whoever is in power at national level so it us currently Conservative controlled and reasonably comfortably so at the moment

  • Lincoln - 1/3 seats. Labour city

Unitary Authorities 

  • Derby - 1/3 seats. No overall control but currently more Conservatives seats than labour - Conservatives last had full control back in 1991

  • Peterborough - 1/3 seats. No overall control but again more Conservatives currently than Labour -  the last time labour had full control was back in 1998

Parish and Town Councils

Elections are also being held at around 200 parish and town councils.

Some will require a contest and one of these is the region's largest parish council - Royal Sutton Sutton Coldfield Town Council in Birmingham, which has 67 candidates for 24 seats.