LGIU and Vuelio 2022 Elections Bulletin – 12 May

1 week after polling day… what comes next?

Photo by David Mullins on Unsplash

This week's highlights

The result of England’s local election saw Labour gain 11 councils and lose six, while the Liberal Democrats now control three more councils and have significantly increased their number of councillors across Britain. The results present a challenging election for the Conservatives, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling the results ‘mixed’ for his party, which lost 485 seats and 12 councils, although it gained one and won the mayoral race in Croydon. However, with the recent focus on the cost-of-living crisis and the party gate scandal, the outcome could have been much worse for the Tories.

The Greens increased their number of councillors by more than 80, the third highest gain, though their overall number of seats remains low compared to the other main parties.  Labour gained four councils from the Tories, including the former Conservative strongholds of Wandsworth and Westminster in London.  The Lib Dems are up three, taking Hull from Labour – which held the council for more than a decade – and Gosport, which had been in Tory hands since 2010. The Aspire party won Tower Hamlets in London from Labour, where they also won the mayoral race.

Counting for the Local Election in Wales concluded late last week as Labour gained the most seats, winning 66 taking their total number to 526, whilst the Conservatives lost 86 seats in a disappointing election for the Tories. Independents won 8 seats taking their total to 316. Plaid Cymru lost 6 seats, but did manage to take control over three councils. The Liberal Democrats and Green’s enjoyed respectable gains, managing to gain 10 and 8 seats, with the Liberal Democrats total going up to 69. Labour leader Mark Drakeford said: ‘we have made gains in every part of Wales, especially well where it’s been the Conservatives who have been our main opponents.’ Contrastingly, Tory leader Andrew Davies described the election as a ‘hard night at the office’, saying he felt voters wanted to send a strong message to the party.

Scotland’s local elections followed trends in other parts of the UK which saw the Conservatives falling back. The SNP came out on top, winning 34.1% which is a gain of 1.8% from the last local election in 2017. Labour came second with 21.7% of the vote share, overtaking the Tories who dropped to 19.6%. The Lib Dems won 8.6% of the vote, whilst the Greens were up 1.8% on 2017 with 6% of the vote share. Alex Salmond’s Alba Party took 0.7% of first preference votes, standing fewer candidates than the established parties.

SNP leader Nicola and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the results were ‘quite incredible’, adding: ‘We have increased our share of the vote and the number of councillors we have, and I think we’re going to be the largest party in more councils than before.’ The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross referenced public opinion on partygate as a cause for the disappointing results, but did not call for Boris Johnson to resign due to the need for Government stability given the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Local Election results in England and Wales

Here’s your round-up of what you need to know about the local election results across England and Wales.

Image: Shutterstock

The overall picture in England

In the end, these were challenging elections for the Conservatives, losing over three hundred seats and nearly a dozen councils including London totems Wandsworth and Westminster. Given the context though they may feel it could have been worse.

And while it was a bad day for the Conservatives that doesn’t quite translate into a very good day for anyone else. Labour will be very satisfied with progress in some parts of the country while privately feeling they could have done better in other places. The Liberal Democrats have traditionally made very targeted local approaches, but appear to be quite pleased – claiming the largest increase of seats for any party. Greens and independent candidates, at first glance, seem to be doing well – but it takes a finer level of analysis to determine just how well.

The overall picture in Wales 

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru had a good night in Wales. Plaid has, thus far, gained 3 councils in Anglesey, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and held their ground elsewhere. Labour have gained Bridgend from a previous no overall control and won control from independents in Blaenau Gwent.

Conservatives only held one council, Monmouthshire, which has been lost to NOC. Merthyr Tydfil was previously controlled by Independents and has now gone NOC. Labour also lost one council, Neath Port Talbot to NOC.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) said:

“We shouldn’t forget the real importance of these elections though. From Westminster to Wokingham and Somerset to Hull incoming administrations will have different spending priorities and will take different approaches to key public services like social care, housing, children’s services and planning.

That will make a material difference to the lives of millions of citizens of this country. In the final analysis, local elections are just that. Local. They give us a direct say in the governance of the places we live and work in.

More than 6,000 councillors were elected today: they will have to take tough decisions about vital local services and they deserve all our respect for taking on that challenge.”

Get into the finer detail including our list of contests of note across England and Wales right here.

Local Election results in Scotland

Here’s your round-up of what you need to know about the local election results across Scotland.

Image: istock

The overall picture in Scotland

SNP has delivered a strong performance in 2022. The election has seen Conservatives lose a substantial number of seats compared to their performance in 2017. Labour are now in second place behind SNP in terms of the total number of councillors. All main parties, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat have gained seats. Overall turnout has been strong, something commentators felt would benefit SNP, and this looks to be the case.

The results hide a considerable amount of complexity amongst the winners and losers, by seat, ward and council area. The biggest question now (aside from two councils) is who will be in coalition with who? From Perth and Kinross to Aberdeen, many meetings and discussions will be had over the coming days and perhaps weeks. The first council meetings will take place towards the end of this month.

With strong results across many areas of the country the SNP has increased its number of councillors by 22 to 453. This result means that they remain the largest party in Scotland. However, Labour have gained 20 seats and had a strong showing in key Council areas including Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire. The Greens have had a good election, almost doubling their total number of Councillors to 35 while the Lib Dems have won an additional 20 seats.

This election was always going to be tough for the Scottish Conservatives and it lived up to expectations with the party losing 62 seats.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) Scotland said:

“It’s a challenging set of election results for the Scottish Conservatives with the loss of 62 seats. Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats all benefited from this and will all have some cause for satisfaction. The SNP gaining seats as the party of government, Labour moving into second place and the Lib Dems and Greens building their councillor base.

This national picture is relatively straightforward and was widely predicted. Beneath it the local picture is considerably more complex and changeable.

The nature of the Scottish electoral system means that relatively small changes in seat numbers completely alter the possibilities for coalition. Adding to the mix a changing of the guard, with numerous councillors including leaders and depute leaders stepping down, we feel these elections represent a real reset moment in Scottish local government.

We can expect intense negotiations over the coming days and small differences will add up to big changes at a local level.”

Get into the finer detail including our list of contests of note across Scotland right here

Northern Ireland Assembly Elections

Here’s your round-up of what you need to know about the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections local election results.

The results in Northern Ireland followed the predictions of the polls in the lead up to May the 5th with Sinn Féin becoming the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, with 27 seats to the DUP’s 25. The party’s leader, Michelle O’Neill, commented on the historic win saying ‘Today ushers in a new era which I believe presents us all with an opportunity to reimagine relationships in this society on the basis of fairness, on the basis of equality and on the basis of social justice’. The Alliance Party returned 17 MLAs, double the number following the 2017 election. The Ulster unionist Party (UUP) lost one MLA, shockingly including deputy leader Nichola Mallon losing her seat in North Belfast, whilst the SDLP lost 4 seats, returning with 8.

With Sinn Féin achieving a clear majority, Ms O’Neill is entitled to become the first nationalist First Minister. However, the DUP continue to refuse to re-enter the Executive until concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol are addressed, the future of Stormont remains uncertain. The Queen’s Speech, delivered by Prince Charles, acknowledged the issue, stating the Government will ‘prioritise support for the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and its institutions’.  Having avoided the topic of the Irish border during their election campaign, Sinn Fein have confirmed the party will push for a referendum on the reunification of Ireland in the next 5 years, but that it had to be done in a way that was ‘planned, orderly, democratic, and entirely peaceful. Following the election, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis met with the leaders of the five main political parties to discuss the need to restore the full functioning of the Executive and Assembly as soon as possible. He acknowledged the current situation with the Protocol is fundamentally undermining the Good Friday Agreement and will take ‘nothing off the table in [our] pursuit of those solutions’.

The Alliance party have stated there is a ‘super majority’ of MLAs who support Stormont’s return, and that the DUP do not have sufficient basis to prevent the return of the devolved Government, while the DUP believes they have received a mandate from the electoral to not enter power-sharing.  Instability looks set to continue as Attorney General to the UK Government Suella Braverman has reportedly approved the scrapping parts of the Good Friday Agreement this week, despite warnings from US President Joe Biden and European leaders.

In the news

A summary of this week’s elections news across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Subscribe to LGIU’s valuable daily news service here.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

'Tough night' for Conservatives as Labour and Liberal Democrats gain

With 144 of 146 local authorities in England having declared, the Conservative Party has lost a total of 341 councillors, to 1,041, and lost control of a net 10 councils, while the Liberal Democrats have made the most gains, picking up 191 seats to end on 711, gaining control of a net plus three councils. The Labour Party gained a net 52 councillors, ending Friday with a total of 2,212, and gained control of a net plus five councils. The Green Party more than doubled its representation at council level, gaining 60 seats to finish on 113, while the number of independent councillors rose by 28 to 145. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Conservatives had a “tough night in some parts of the country”, but argued that in other areas “you are still seeing Conservatives going forward and making quite remarkable gains in places that haven’t voted Conservative for a long time, if ever”. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the election was a “big turning point”, with the party “back on track” after the “depths of the 2019 general election”, while Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the party’s performance represented a “turning point”. Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of the Local Government Information Unit, stressed the “real importance of these elections”, with incoming administrations across the country that “will have different spending priorities and will take different approaches to key public services like social care, housing, children’s services and planning” and will “make a material difference to the lives of millions of citizens of this country”.

BBC News   BBC News   BBC News   Financial Times   Daily Mail   Daily Mirror   The Daily Telegraph   The Guardian   The Times

Questions over PM's future in wake of local elections

A number of papers report that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is likely to face a leadership challenge in the wake of the local elections, with MPs and councillors attributing the party’s loss of almost 350 councillors and 10 councils – including the loss of Wandsworth and Westminster to Labour for the first time in decades – to the Prime Minister’s leadership and the Partygate scandal. Outgoing Wandsworth Council leader Cllr Ravi Govindia said that “consistently on the doorstep, the issue of Boris Johnson was raised”, while senior backbencher Tobias Ellwood said: “Trust has been breached with the British people and it is the duty of every single Conservative MP to make that assessment and act accordingly.” However, the Times reports that the Prime Minister was “buoyant about the future” due to the failure of Labour to secure a share of the national vote that would have given the party an outright majority at a general election.

Financial Times   Daily Mail   Daily Mirror   I   The Guardian   The Independent   The Times

Labour topples 'icons of Thatcherism' in London

A number of papers highlight major Labour gains in London in the local elections – taking Westminster City Council from the Conservatives for the first time since its creation in 1964, Wandsworth Council for the first time since 1978, and Barnet Council for the first time since 2002. Pollster Prof Sir John Curtice said the party “can rightly claim to have reached a new zenith of popularity” in the capital, with the fall of the “icons of Thatcherism”. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attributed the gains to the fact that “we for the first time in a long time have a credible national leader” in Sir Keir Starmer, adding: “I think Keir over the last few years has made huge progress in root-and-branch reform, getting rid of those who are anti-Semitic, putting forward a positive vision, being pro-business.”

Daily Mail   I   The Guardian   The Times

Local elections point to possibility of hung parliament

Analysis by the Sunday Times has suggested that if Thursday’s local election votes were replicated nationwide, the Labour Party would have secured 35% of the national vote, ahead of the Conservative Party on 33% and the Liberal Democrats on 17%. If replicated in a general election, the paper says, the result would be a hung parliament. The Sunday Telegraph also notes analysis by the Liberal Democrats based on the local election results, which suggest that Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, former health minister Stephen Hammond, and senior Conservatives John Redwood and Sir Iain Duncan Smith are among those who would lose their seats if the local election results were replicated at a general election.

The Sunday Times   The Sunday Telegraph

Labour 'treading water' in the Red Wall

A number of papers look at the local election results in the so-called Red Wall – former Labour areas picked up by the Conservatives at the 2019 general election. While the Conservative Party lost ground in northern Leave-voting areas, Prof Jonathan Tonge of Liverpool University said yesterday that Labour’s share of the vote was only up around 1%, with the party “treading water” rather than making significant gains, even as the party turned in stronger performances in areas like London. Labour’s national campaign coordinator, Shabana Mahmood, said the party has “much more work to do” ahead of the next general election.

Daily Express   Daily Mail   I   The Daily Telegraph   The Guardian

Liberal Democrats 'going after the Blue Wall'

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has hailed the party’s performance in the local elections, which saw it gain control of Woking, Hull, Somerset, and the new Westmorland and Furness Council, seizing control from both the Conservatives and Labour. Building on recent by-election victories in North Shropshire and in Chesham and Amersham, Sir Ed said the party is “back in places like here in Somerset, and we’re going after that Conservative Blue Wall”.

Daily Express   I   The Guardian   The Independent   The Sun

Bristol residents vote to scrap elected mayor

A referendum in Bristol has seen voters back the abolition of the city’s directly elected mayor. Bristol City Council said the decision, which gave voters the choice between an elected mayor and a committee system under which decisions would be made by councillors, would likely be ratified at a council meeting later this month. Read LGIU’s blog on why this decision holds implications for the future of levelling up and devolution here.

BBC News

Conservative candidate elected as mayor of Croydon

Conservative candidate Jason Perry has been named as the new mayor of Croydon, with the declaration delayed by a run-off with Labour candidate Val Shawcross and a final recount. Between Mr Perry was ahead after first preference votes were counted, picking up 5,199 second preference votes to finish on a total of 38,612, while Ms Shawcross’s 6,617 second preference votes only took her to a total of 38,023. Final results in the Croydon Councilelections are expected today, raising the prospect that the new Conservative mayor will be working with a Labour council administration.

BBC News

Trans councillors hope to 'dial down the division'

The Evening Standard highlights the success of three newly-elected trans councillors in the local elections – with Labour’s Kira Lewis and Dylan Tippetts, and the Scottish Greens’ Elaine Gallagher, elected in Waltham Forest, Plymouth and Glasgow. Mx Lewis said it is “important that our community is not just accepted but welcomed into such positions and I’m pleased to have been so supported by other candidates, the Mayor of London and the LGBTQ+ community in my ward. Mr Tippetts said he was “still in shock” at the result, adding: “If I can help someone realise that trans people are just normal human beings like everyone else, with the same hopes and dreams, (and) just help dial down some of the real hate and division at the moment, that would be incredible.”

London Evening Standard

Parties criticised over 'misleading' election ads

A new report from Reform Political Advertising (RPA), reviewed by the Electoral Advertising Review Panel, has claimed that political parties “plumbed new depths” during the local election campaign, with “consistently misleading” advertising from the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats on issues like tax changes, the cost of living, and council tax. The RPA has called for the introduction of a code of conduct for electoral advertising to be agreed by the major parties and regulated by an independent body.

First Minister hails 'incredible' local election results

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hailed what she described as “absolutely incredible” results for the SNP in the local elections, as the party won a total of 453 seats across Scotland’s councils, up 22 from 2017, and gained control of Dundee City Council. “The SNP has been in government for 15 years”, she said, “and today we won the election overwhelmingly – I think the eighth consecutive election victory since I became leader of the SNP – but more than that, we’ve increased our share of the vote, we’ve increased the number of councillors that we have returned, we’re the largest party in more councils today than we were yesterday.” Scottish Labour finished second overall, with 282 councillors, up 20, and gained control of West Dunbartonshire Council, while the Scottish Conservatives lost 63 councillors to a new total of 214. The number of independent councillors fell by 15, to 152, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats gained 20 seats, to 87, and the Scottish Greens almost doubled their number of councillors, adding 16 to a total of 35. The Alba Party failed to make ground, gaining no new seats, and with no councillors who had defected to the party winning re-election.

STV   STV   STV   BBC News   BBC News   BBC News   The Courier   Daily Record   Edinburgh Evening News   Forres Gazette   Herald Scotland   John O’Groat Journal   Strathspey and Bedenoch Herald   The Inverness Courier   The Press and Journal   The Scotsman

Forecast expects men to dominate councils until 2037

New analysis by the Women 50:50 campaign suggests that Scotland’s councils will be dominated by men until 2037, unless political parties are willing to take radical action. The group’s initial review of the 1,227 councillors elected last Thursday, found that despite 52% of Scotland’s population being female, just 35% of councillors are women. While that is an increase of 6% from the 2017 election, it is behind the Scottish Parliament, where 45% of MSPs are women. Talat Yaqoob, co-founder of Women 50:50, said at this rate it would take another three elections until there was equal representation. She said: “We need local councils to implement change; from policies which support councillors with caring responsibilities to more robust mechanisms to report inequality and discrimination”.

The Herald

Councillors begin talks on new administrations

The Press and Journal looks at the aftermath of the local elections, with local politicians across almost all of Scotland’s local authorities set to “work together to form coalitions or agree on minority administrations”. While the SNP is not guaranteed to become part of a ruling administration in all the councils in which it is now the largest party, the paper notes, “attempts to keep them out could be hampered by Anas Sarwar’s insistence Labour will strike no formal coalition deals with other parties”, while the Scottish Conservatives lost their second place position in Aberdeen to Scottish Labour. The Conservatives, however, retained their status as the largest party in Moray and Aberdeenshire, while the SNP ended up on top in Argyll and Bute and the Highlands, albeit without a majority.

The Press and Journal

SNP open to agreements with Labour

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, Kirsten Oswald, has suggested the party would be open to making agreements with Scottish Labour groups in councils across Scotland, saying the SNP “would always make agreements with any progressive party … I think that’s what the electoral system requires of us and that’s what our voters would expect us to do”. She said, however, that there is “no chance of us getting into any kind of power sharing agreement with the Tories. That’s obvious and clear.” Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, has however said his position “remains” that Labour “will be having no formal coalition’s with any other political parties”, and will seek to form minority administrations where possible.

Herald Scotland   The Daily Record

SNP 'open' to local deals with Greens

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the SNP is “very open” to replicating the party’s national agreement with the Scottish Green Party at local level, but has said it is for “local council groups to determine what’s in the best interests of the areas they serve”. It is “important that these decisions are driven locally”, she said on a visit to Dundee, “and that we see parties that are prepared to recognise where they disagree but focus more on where they agree [and] come together to try to put arrangements in place that are in the best interest of the areas they serve.” Ms Sturgeon also highlighted the success of the party’s candidates in forming a majority administration on Dundee City Council, describing it as a “big, big vote of confidence in the leadership the SNP provides in Scotland”.

STV   The Courier   Edinburgh Evening News   Herald Scotland   John O’Groat Journal

Labour leader celebrates 'best results for 10 years' in Scotland

UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has joined Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and deputy leader Jackie Baillie to celebrate the party’s success in forming a majority administration at West Dunbartonshire Council, and in overtaking the Scottish Conservatives nationally to become the second largest party in local government. Sir Keir said he had made the trip north “because we have had a fantastic set of results, the best results for 10 years, coming second in Scotland”, with Labour “back on the pitch” across the UK and “marching towards that general election”.

Herald Scotland

Anas Sarwar welcomes a 'cheerful day' for Scottish Labour

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has welcomed the party’s performance in the local elections, saying that it has “been almost a decade and it’s the first time we’ve had a cheerful day for the Scottish Labour party”. The party gained 20 councillors, moving ahead of the Conservatives into second place with a total of 282 councillors, and gained control of West Dunbartonshire Council. The party also made gains at Glasgow City Council, gaining five councillors to take 36 seats to the SNP’s 37. Labour, he added, has “proactively made an effort to change the tone” of its politics, pledging “less of the division, less of the us versus them, less of the shouting down, ‘who truly loves our country, who truly doesn’t’.”

BBC News   Daily Record   Herald Scotland

Douglas Ross 'determined to continue' as leader

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has told the BBC that he is “absolutely determined to continue as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives” in the wake of the local election, saying there is “a lot of work we have to do to continue to fight the SNP to stop their distraction of national politics onto their obsession about independence and deliver for the people of Scotland”. However, the Daily Record reports that an unnamed Scottish Conservative MSP has said that informal talks are already underway over replacing Mr Ross as leader – with the MSP saying Mr Ross has “lost all credibility” after calling on the Prime Minister to resign over the Partygate scandal, before changing course to back him to stay.

STV   BBC News   Herald Scotland   The Daily Record   The Press and Journal

PM 'can't ignore' election results, says Douglas Ross

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said Prime Minister Boris Johnson “simply can’t ignore the message that’s been sent from voters not just here in Scotland, but across the UK” after the party slipped into third place in Scotland’s local elections, losing 63 councillors to finish with a total of 214. “In too many parts of Scotland”, he said, “we’ve lost excellent candidates and councillors haven’t been re-elected because it seems many of our supporters decided to sit this one out, to protest and not cast their vote, and we’ve lost out as a result of that.”

STV   BBC News   Herald Scotland   The Daily Record

Gains as Liberal Democrats take 'significant step'

Alex Cole-Hamilton, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, says the party has “taken a significant step forward in Scottish local authority elections”, adding: “We’re back and it feels amazing.” The party gained a net 20 councillors yesterday, ending the day with 87 councillors. “In Edinburgh we’ve doubled our number of councillors up from six to 12”, he said, “and in the Almond ward, we made history by electing three councillors in a four-member ward”. The secret of the party’s success, he added, is “not rocket science. Lib Dems are thrilled by the idea of community politics and we’re good at it.”

Herald Scotland   The Scotsman

Scottish Greens welcome 'breakthrough election'

Scottish Green co-leader Lorna Slater has welcomed a “very positive set of results” in what turned out to be a “breakthrough election” for the party, which gained 16 councillors to a total of 35. “From Shetland to the Borders”, she said, “Moray to East Lothian, and Argyll & Bute to Clackmannanshire, we broke new ground and won our first-ever Green councillors.” “The role of Green councillors”, she added, “will be crucial in ensuring that our local authorities invest in public transport and services, and that they are at the forefront of tackling the local impact of the climate crisis.” Green candidate Elaine Gallagher also won election as the first trans councillor on Glasgow City Council, saying she hoped to show that trans rights “are not in conflict” with women’s rights.

BBC News   BBC News   Herald Scotland   The Press and Journal   The Scotsman

Alba Party 'undaunted' after disappointing election

Alba Party leader Alex Salmond has insisted the party “is undaunted” in the wake of the local elections, after none of its 111 candidates, including a number of incumbent councillors who had defected from the SNP, gained a seat in any of Scotland’s local authorities. “In a number of wards the Alba vote came in at over 5%”, Mr Salmond said, “but the instruction from the SNP leadership not to use preferences to support other independence candidates now condemns most Scottish councils to control by unionists.” The party, he said, would “continue to press hard on the urgency of independence”, warning that the SNP would “reap the electoral whirlwind” if they failed to hold a promised second independence referendum.

The Courier   Herald Scotland   The Daily Record

Tactical voting resulted in record number of split ballots

New analysis shows that tactical voting by nationalists and unionists led to the largest ever number of split ballots at last year’s Holyrood election. The Scottish Election Study, by academics from across the UK, found that significant numbers of people voted for both the Conservatives and Labour as part of efforts to defeat the SNP and strengthen the Union. Similarly, large numbers of SNP supporters split their ballots to back the Scottish Greens. According to the research, 20% of all ballots cast in constituency contests were cast tactically to stop another party, as were a slightly smaller proportion of ballots cast for list seats.

The Times

Poll suggests voter frustration at lack of influence

An Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Scotland poll, which is included in a report on local democracy published this week, has found that two-thirds of people in Scotland feel they have little or no influence over the decisions that affect their community. The survey also found that 22% believe party donors have the most influence over policy decisions – only 7% said it is voters who have the most say. The ERS believes urgent reform of local government is needed to reconnect voters to the system and build trust. The ERS paper, called By Us and For Us, proposes the creation of representative bodies to oversee the running and development of towns, villages or neighbourhoods.

The Times

Twice as many women elected in Inverclyde

The number of female councillors on Inverclyde Council more than doubled at the local elections, the Greenock Telegraph reports, with SNP candidates Sandra Reynolds, Kirsty Law and Pam Armstrong and Scottish Labour candidate Francesca Brennan newly elected, joining re-elected councillors Natasha McGuire (Labour), Lynne Quinn (independent) and Elizabeth Robertson (SNP). Cllr Robertson said she “couldn’t be more delighted” that the SNP’s eight-strong team of councillors is gender-balanced, while Cllr Quinn, who was named the council’s first female champion in 2019, said that while the council as a whole is not yet balanced, “it’s another step forward”.

Greenock Telegraph

Minority SNP administration to be formed in Perth and Kinross Council

Following talks, Perth and Kinross Council’s SNP group has secured the support needed to form a minority administration. The SNP group has grown from 13 to 16 councillors following last week’s local elections – making it the biggest political group in the area. SNP group leader Grant Laing announced: “Whilst there is not a desire for a coalition administration, a majority of councillors have acknowledged that, as the largest group, the SNP has the right to have the opportunity to form the new administration in line with the election result. These discussions over the weekend and today (May 10) have been professional and productive, with many elected members across the spectrum sharing key priorities for the future of Perth and Kinross, and we look forward to working collaboratively with others on developing a cross-party, five-year plan in line with these shared objectives.”

The Daily Record

Conservatives welcome 'pleasant surprise' in North Ayrshire

The Daily Record speaks to Cllr Tom Marshall, leader of the Scottish Conservative group on North Ayrshire Council, who “bucked the trend” that saw the party slip into third place in Scotland at the local elections. The Conservatives now form the opposition in North Ayrshire, and Cllr Marshall said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the result: “It’s a great achievement. Ten years ago I was the sole councillor and five years ago there was seven of us and now we have 10.” With the SNP set to form the administration, he says, “we will do our best to hold the SNP to account”.

The Daily Record

SNP turn in 'strong result' in Edinburgh

City of Edinburgh Council’s SNP group leader, Cllr Adam McVey, has welcomed a “strong result” for the party that saw it maintain its 19 seats, while the Scottish Conservatives lost nine seats, the Scottish Liberal Democrats gained six, the Scottish Greens gained two, and Scottish Labour gain one seat. The SNP, he said, remained the largest party “in a very pluralistic council chamber and we’re going to have to work together just as we have in the last five years with other parties to make sure we can deliver on that positive progressive vision we have for Edinburgh and our communities”.

BBC News   Herald Scotland

Female candidates triumph in Western Isles

Two women, SNP candidates Susan Thompson and Frances Murray, have been elected to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the first women to be elected to the council since 2012. Ms Thomson said she “did not campaign on a lack of women (on the council) but it did come up on the doorstep”, adding that she is “delighted to be elected, and I stood because I believe in independence and the SNP”. Ms Murray commented: “I hope that because we now have two women councillors, it is not the only thing we become known for. There have long been women in the community who have been in leadership – at one time three of the heads of the four secondary schools were women for example.”

BBC News   Herald Scotland   The Press and Journal

Everything you need to know about... becoming a councillor

Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

Becoming a councillor is an exciting time but can also be daunting – so our guide for new councillors is here to help in those first days and weeks.

As local authorities across the UK welcome an intake of new councillors, we know they will need to get up to speed as quickly as possible with the workings of local government, unfamiliar policy areas and managing the caseload that comes with being an elected representative.

Just remember you cannot be expected to know everything straight away – councils, even small ones, are complex. You will never be expected to be an expert in every issue – being willing to learn and having the confidence that you represent your community is far more important.

Your roles as a councillor

You will play a range of roles as a councillor, some of which may have tensions but that complement each other. Some of these roles will cross over and you may find that there are boundaries to consider with your other personal and professional roles.

From your campaigning to get elected you will know what matters most to residents. It is worth building contact with officers you can turn to for advice.

In parallel, don’t forget regular contact with relevant local staff – and indeed other councillors. Some councils may have staff with a specific remit to focus on your ward, who will be experts in ward priorities and issues. Many councils have several councillors representing each ward. If you’re from the same party co-operation should be natural, but if you’re from different parties you may need to find a way to work together so that, between you, you act in residents’ best interests day-to-day.

Representing the community and the views of residents

Your first and critical role is to represent the place and communities you were elected to serve.

As a councillor, people will look to you for a lead. For example, when the pandemic began, councillors provided an important source of guidance and advice, often relayed from the council or NHS. Don’t neglect this role, and note that it demands some thought and discipline at times. For example, when distancing and mask-wearing became required, many councillors used social media to show themselves adhering to rules and setting the tone. As a citizen it is your duty to follow the law; as a councillor others will look to you to set an example.

From your campaigning to get elected you will know what matters most to residents. It is worth building  contact with officers you can turn to for advice.

In parallel, don’t forget regular contact with relevant local staff – and indeed other councillors. Some councils may have staff with a specific remit to focus on your ward, who will be experts in ward priorities and issues. Many councils have several councillors representing each ward. If you’re from the same party co-operation should be natural, but if you’re from different parties you may need to find a way to work together so that, between you, you act in residents’ best interests day-to-day.

Shaping your council’s plans and policies

Get to understand your council’s policy, scrutiny, and cabinet systems so you can contribute on what matters to you. Becoming a member of the relevant committee, taking on a role, or raising issues through deputations and delegations can all be ways to make a difference.

Helping local community groups and organisations work with the council

As a community leader you are in an ideal place to work at both ward and council-wide level to help ensure community groups and organisations (including, but hopefully not exclusively, the ‘usual suspects’ i.e. those residents who are the most vocal) understand and shape council policies – helping them articulate and voice their own priorities and concerns to council, and play an active part in local delivery, encouraging groups to talk to each other locally.

Standards and Behaviour

Your council will have a code of conduct that you will be expected to sign up to.  It is likely to be based on the seven ‘Nolan Principles’ which apply to all public office holders in the UK:

  • Selflessness: Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  • Integrity: Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  • Objectivity: Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  • Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  • Openness: Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  • Honesty: Holders of public office should be truthful.
  • Leadership: Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

For more information and advice about what the role of a councillor entails, read LGIU’s full guide here.

Make sure you check out...

Resources for new councillors

Our extensive resources for new councillors are now live with all the resources, tools and support for new or recently elected members to hit the ground running and  take a deep dive on the issues as well as the training and skills to take their skills to the next level.

This also includes our *new for 2022* guide for new councillors.

Poll: What are the most essential skills for councillors?

Following another exciting set of local elections, we wanted to find out which skills our members and followers believe are the most important for new councillors to help them thrive in their new roles. Vote now in our poll here to give us your insights into what makes an effective councillor.

LGIU & CCLA Cllr Awards 2022

Running for the 13th year across England & Wales and 5th year in Scotland, Cllr Awards are the only national awards celebrating the vital work of councillors. Nominate a councillor today!