Overall, 31 million electors are able to vote in local elections tomorrow, 5th May 2011. There are a total of 279 local authorities running elections in England. A full list of all authorities with elections can be found in the here. There are no council elections in Wales or in London. Five local authorities will also be holding elections for directly elected mayors. These are Middlesborough, Mansfield, Torbay,Bedford, andLeicester
Around half of all council seats up for grabs . Of the 9404 seats contested tomorrow, the Conservatives hold 5038, Lib Dems hold 1836, Labour holds 1598 and the remainder are held by Independents and smaller parties. The table below shows the full breakdown by council type and by party.
The last time most of these seats were contested was in 2007, which was a real low point for the Labour Party in the polls. With Labour now having a consistent lead in opinion polls in recent months they will expect to make considerable gains. Media speculation suggests they could make gains of up to 1000 seats. The Liberal Democrats are dramatically lower in the opinion polls now than they were four years ago and are braced for losses. The expectation is that they may particularly lose out to a Labour resurgence in the North and Midlands. However, there is unlikely to be a uniform pattern as local factors and campaigning will have a bearing.
The Conservatives will expect to lose some of the more marginal seats they gained from Labour four years ago, although this may be more marked in the North andMidlandsthan in the South of the country. Labour is hoping to regain a foothold in councils in the South East of England but Conservatives are optimistic they can hold on, or even make some gains.
A big story of the night though will be how the coalition parties fare against each other, with the Conservatives hoping to make significant gains from the Lib Dems. See our next post highlighting some of the key contests tomorrow.