Local elections

12 contests to watch – and when to expect the results

Here are a dozen councils with elections on Thursday, the outcome of which will help to build a picture of how each of the main parties are faring overall.

I’ve included the approximate time of when to expect the results, all of which are being declared on Friday.

1. Carlisle

Tory MP John Stevenson has a majority of 853 in Carlisle. Labour has control of the council, but with a majority of just two. If the party can improve the latter, the prospect of taking the former will seem more likely. It’s the kind of parliamentary seat Labour absolutely has to take if it stands any chance of doing well at the general election.

Result due: 2am

2. Croydon

A top target for Labour in London. The party needs an additional three seats to take control from the Tories. Tory MP Gavin Barwell sits for the constituency of Croydon Central. His majority of 2,879 would be overturned on a swing of 3% from Tory to Labour – the sort of swing that would also leave Labour the largest party in a hung parliament.

Result due: 2am

3. Worcester

The patronising phrase “Worcester Woman” seems to have passed from the political lexicon. “She” was supposedly crucial to Labour’s landslide victories of 1997 and 2001. If the label has gone, however, the importance of Worcester remains. It is the kind of seat Labour will need to win next year in order to have a majority in parliament. The sitting Tory MP is Robin Walker, with a majority of 2,982. Labour is looking to take control of the council on Thursday – it’s currently two seats short. But the Tories are also two seats short, so this will be a crucial battle.

Result due: 2am

4. Thurrock

The sitting Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price has a majority of just 92. A 0.1% swing from Tory to Labour would see her lose the seat. Labour has a majority of one on Thurrock council. Everything is on a knife’s edge.

Result due: 3am

5. Cambridge

Labour has its sights on an important gain here. It needs another three councillors to take control from the Lib Dems. The parliamentary constituency is a three-way contest, with sitting MP, Lib Dem Julian Huppert, seeing off challenges from both Labour and the Tories in 2010. He may not be so lucky next year.

Result due: 4am

6. Kingston-upon-Thames

A battle royal has been under way here between the Tories and Lib Dems. The Tories need only four more seats to wrestle control of the council from their Westminster coalition partners. If the Lib Dems lose, they’ll be left with just one council in the whole of London: Sutton.

Result due: 6am

7. Trafford

Will the Tories lose their one and only northern stronghold? Labour is desperate to deprive its rivals of what is currently the only Conservative metropolitan council left in the UK north of the River Trent. Four more seats would make Labour the largest party; seven would give it a majority.

Result due: 1pm

8. Kirklees

Labour’s three seats short of controlling Kirklees council. Another of the party’s top targets at the general election lies within the borough: the seat of Dewsbury, currently held by Tory MP Simon Reevell with a majority of 1,526. Again, Labour’s performance this week will be a useful guide to how it may do next year.

Result due: 1.30pm

9. Solihull

The only safe Tory metropolitan council in the land. It’s set to stay that way, but keep an eye on what happens to the number of Tory councillors. Lib Dem MP for Solihull Lorely Burt has a majority over the Tories of just 175. If the Tories do well at the Lib Dems’ expense on Thursday, Burt’s future will look grim.

Result due: 1.30pm

10. Great Yarmouth

This is the kind of seat Labour will need to win next year if it wants a comfortable majority in parliament. But it’s a big challenge: a swing of 5% is needed to remove Tory MP Brandon Lewis. Labour currently has a majority on the council of just one seat. Watch to see whether they can add to this, or if the Tories – just one short of a majority – can snatch control.

Result due: 4pm

11. Bradford

Labour is two seats short of a majority on the council. The party will be anxious to take control. The parliamentary constituency of Bradford East, currently held by Lib Dem David Ward, is one of Labour’s top targets; good progress on the council would auger well for the general election. Another Labour target, Keighley, is also within the borough.

Result due: 5pm

12. Chorley

Labour has a majority of one on the council. Its local MP, Lindsay Hoyle, would lose his seat to the Conservatives on a swing of 2.6%. If the Tories take control of the council, it’ll be an ominous sign for the prospects of both Hoyle and his party.

Result due: 5pm

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