In the North West all eyes are on Trafford. A third of the Council are up for election in May and there is a feeling that the Conservatives keeping control is by no means a done deal. For one thing, they currently have a very slim majority and it would only take a loss of two seats to make the local authority go to No Overall Control. Also, this is the first time that voters have been to the polls (for local elections) post-Brexit.
Nationally the Conservatives are expected to be hit hard in the local elections, particularly in urban areas such as London. The Trafford area voted decisively against Brexit and Labour will be banking on voters using these elections as an opportunity to protest the referendum result. However, as only a third of seats are up for election and many of those are safe Conservative seats it is unlikely that Labour will gain full control of the Council.
Trafford is currently run by Cllr Sean Anstee who ran against Andy Burnham in last year’s Greater Manchester Mayoral election. Interestingly Anstee lost in every ward within Greater Manchester, including his stomping ground of Trafford, which is something that the Conservatives will be keenly aware of. Over the past few weeks they have been bussing in the heavy hitters for the campaign trail including Chancellor Philip Hammond and Deputy Chairman James Cleverly. This shows how seriously they are taking this election.
Currently bookmakers are giving 11/10 odds on either the Conservatives retaining control or the Council going to No Overall Control. I think it’s safe to say that this will be a close one.
Written by Ally Vivona, Account Director at Newgate North