Video report by Hannah Miller.
As the results come in from ‘Super Thursday’, how to make sense of the outcome from 26 councils, four Police and Crime Commissioners, two city mayors and two metro mayors across the North West?Some areas start counting overnight, others wait until Friday morning and some results won’t come in until Sunday. Our political correspondent Hannah Miller takes a look at the ‘ones to watch’ in the Granada region.
1. Mayor of Liverpool - an election that has been mired in controversy, after a Government inspection report found the council had ‘consistently failed in its duties’ under former Labour Mayor Joe Anderson. Labour have held the post ever since it was created in 2012, but the party's new candidate Joanne Anderson is relatively new to the council. Are voters convinced she presents a 'clean break' from the past? The opposition is split - with Liberal Democrat Richard Kemp, Green Party candidate Tom Crone and Independent Stephen Yip all trying to cut through. With a preferential voting system, will one of them manage to get enough votes to knock Labour off the top spot?
2. Liverpool City Council - 31 seats (one third of the council) are up for election, of which Labour has 28 to defend. Party sources expect they are in for a ’tough time’ after the revelations in the Caller Report. How many seats will they lose, and which alternative with voters choose? It’s mathematically impossible for Labour to lose control of the council but even they expect to be severely weakened.
3. Pendle - every single seat is being contested in Chorley, Halton, Pendle, Salford and Warrington. Of these, Pendle is likely to produce the most interesting result. It's currently run by a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, though the Conservatives have the highest number of seats. Given the latest national polling, will they be able to win a majority and take back control?
4. Stockport - currently under ‘no overall control’, Stockport is run by a Labour minority administration. The Liberal Democrats have an equal number of seats and they would love to win control, perhaps by making some gains in Conservative wards. Likely to be one of the first results to be declared in the North West.
5. Bolton - the only Conservative-led council in Greater Manchester, where the party runs a minority administration. They took control from Labour in 2019, after an upsurge in independent / hyper-local councillors made a dent in the main parties. Can the Conservatives win a majority?
6. Bury - people here elected two Conservative MPs in 2019, but the council has been run by Labour for ten years. Labour are defending ten seats and can only afford to lose three. Campaigners think it is possible Bury could end up under ‘no overall control’, with an ensuing battle to work out which party takes the leadership of the council.
7. West Lancashire - two losses here could cost Labour overall control, and the growth of candidates under the banner 'Our West Lancashire' poses a threat. Labour has to defend twelve seats, compared to only five for the Conservatives and one for the OWLs.
8/9. Burnley and Wirral - currently under ‘no overall control’, both Burnley and Wirral have been run by a minority Labour administration after the party lost their majority in 2019. Labour sources don’t sound particularly optimistic about regaining control this time around.
10. Metro mayors - Labour candidates Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram are widely expected to retain their positions as metro mayor in Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region respectively. The question really is how decisive will the victory be. These elections make this list of 'ones to watch' because the metro mayors are among the most powerful political figures in the North West, not because of any particular jeopardy.