No respite for many voters with next polls due in May
The Conservatives’ landslide December poll victory means the next UK general election is now only expected in 2024 – but many voters still face another round of voting this May.
The normal elections cycle will see polls at 118 councils in England, elections for the London mayor and Assembly as well as mayors in four devolved English regions and three cities, plus elections for 40 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales.
Voters in England and Wales therefore will be asked to vote in at least one poll on May 7.
Meanwhile, fresh moves to break the political deadlock at Stormont could bring about another Northern Ireland Assembly election.
In Scotland, the SNP is pressing for another referendum on independence although Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled this out.
The elections in England and Wales will be complicated by the fact that the early May bank holiday has been moved from Monday May 4 to Friday May 8 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
This will present a challenge to authorities running the polls when it comes to the arrangements for election counts as some will want to avoid counting during the day on the Bank Holiday Friday.
The polls will be watched keenly for any signs of an end to the honeymoon period for Mr Johnson after his triumph at the general election and the UK’s exit from the European Union at the end of January.
Most of the English council seats up for election were contested last in May 2016, when the BBC’s projection of nationwide vote shares was: Labour 31%, Conservatives 30%, Liberal Democrats 15%, UK Independence Party 12%.
The 2020 polls will see the first elections at new unitary authorities for Buckinghamshire, North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire, following major reorganisation of local government in these areas with the abolition of many existing councils.
The Northamptonshire shake-up came after the county council effectively went bust early in 2018.
The London mayor election is expected to be enlivened by the entry of former Conservative Cabinet minister Rory Stewart into the contest as an independent candidate against Labour sitting mayor Sadiq Khan.
Elections for mayors will take place in four devolved regions: Greater Manchester, where the incumbent is Labour’s Andy Burnham; Liverpool City Region (Steve Rotheram, Labour); Tees Valley (Ben Houchen, Conservative); and West Midlands (Andy Street, Conservative).
Mayoral polls also take place in Liverpool (Joe Anderson, Labour); Salford (Paul Dennett, Labour); and Bristol (Marvin Rees, Labour).
The police commissioner elections, which have been controversial owing to low turnout in previous such polls, cover the 40 police areas in England and Wales outside of London and Greater Manchester.