Local elections: Why all eyes will be on Gloucester, Dorset and Bristol

Local elections will be on Friday 2 May. Credit: PA

Every eligible voter in the West Country will be able to cast a vote at the local elections on 2 May - if you do not have a councillor to elect, you will have a police and crime commissioner.

Local elections are held in some form every year. Last year's big political story in the region was Labour taking control of Plymouth City Council.

The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer insisted at the time that the victory in Plymouth was a precursor to the upcoming general election.

Come May, all eyes will be on local election results across the country as pollsters try to forecast what could happen when voters take to the polls in a general election later this year.

There are a number of particularly significant West Country councils to watch.


All of Dorset's 82 council seats are up for election this year and the Conservatives want to hang onto their slim majority.

But their main opposition is the Liberal Democrats. The Party hopes success here at a local level could extend their West Country revival when a general election comes.

For the leader of the Lib Dems, Sir Ed Davey, Dorset is the ultimate goal on 2 May.

The Conservatives currently hold 43 out of 82 seats on Dorset Council, with the Lib Dems having 27, Greens, five, and Labour, two.

Gloucester City Council elections will be seen as a potential predictor of where the constituency could go at the next general election. Credit: PA


Gloucester City Council has been run by the Conservatives for 20 years and all 39 seats are up for election.

Nationally, Gloucester is seen as a bellwether seat - it is generally won by the Party that wins the general election.

For this reason, it is being seen as a significant battleground seat at the local elections, and the main opposition for the Tories is Labour.

The Conservatives currently hold 21 out of the 39 seats on the council, with Lib Dems having 14, Labour, two, and Community Independent, two.


This year's local elections in Bristol are arguably the most significant for a long time. The City is scrapping its mayoral system and replacing it with a committee.

This means voters in Bristol, when they vote for a local councillor on 2 May, will be having a say on who should lead the authority.

Bristol is one to watch for people across the country. It is here that the Greens feel most confident of success - not just at a local level, but at a general election too.

A view of Ashton Gate and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol. Credit: PA

There are 70 council seats up for election. The Green Party currently has the most councillors with 25, while Labour has 23.

For a Party to automatically lead the council, it must win a majority of 36.

If it does not, political groups will have to work together. The big battle in Bristol is between the Green Party and Labour.

Voting takes place on Thursday 2 May between 7am and 10pm.

If you are planning to vote in person, you will need to take photo identification.

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