Local elections: What to watch out for in the North East council elections on 4 May

Local elections are taking place in Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton, Darlington and Middlesbrough. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Council elections are taking place across large parts of our region on 4 May.

All councillors will be elected in Darlington, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and York, which have all been under no overall control.

In Middlesbrough, there is also a contest to become the directly-elected mayor, who runs the council.

Meanwhile, a third of seats are up for grabs this year in Hartlepool, which is under no overall control.

A third of councillors will also be elected in Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland. Labour have a majority in all of those areas.

For the first time, voters will have to take photo ID to their polling station.

  • Watch a report from our Political Correspondent Tom Sheldrick previewing the 'all-out' council elections in the Tees Valley

The Tees Valley is certainly worth watching out for on 4 May.

All seats are up for election on four local councils, for the first time in four years.

In May 2019, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party lost majority control of Darlington, Middlesbrough and Stockton - and lost more seats in Redcar and Cleveland.

It was part of a wider pattern of Labour shedding support in their traditional heartlands.

So can they mount a 'Red Wall' recovery now?

Or will the Conservatives be rewarded for their 'levelling up' policies, which have been particularly focused on the Tees Valley?

Will Rishi Sunak get voters' approval for steadying the Downing Street ship, in the first set of elections since he became Prime Minister?

Will these upcoming results mirror the opinion polls, and give further momentum to Sir Keir Starmer as he targets the top job?

Or will independents, Liberal Democrats and other parties make further gains?

The Tees Valley promises to be a fascinating barometer for the state of our politics.

Of course, who gets to represent you, shape local priorities and oversee council services really matters too.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...