Britain’s conservative ruling party could lose hundreds of seats on local councils in the local elections in England. Millions of people are called upon to cast their votes. The election is also seen as a mood test for the next parliamentary election, which must take place in January 2025 at the latest. In polls there, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Tories are well behind the opposition Labor party.

According to a survey by the polling institute YouGov, Sunak’s Conservative Party would currently get 18 percent of the vote if there were a general election now. That was another two percentage points less than in April, reported the British news agency PA. Labor is at 44 percent.

For the Tories, the poll results are even worse than under Prime Minister Liz Truss. Truss had caused turbulence on the financial markets with her economic policies and resigned after just 49 days in office. Sunak is her successor and has been in office for about a year and a half. He has promised parliamentary elections for the second half of the year. The election date is set at shorter notice than in Germany.

Counting begins

The polling stations are closed – the counting of the local elections has begun. The result could affect British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s political future. Although a defeat for his Conservative Party is expected – according to commentators, Sunak could find himself in trouble within his party if the Tories lose significantly more than 500 of the almost 1,000 seats they are defending in the local council elections. The first groundbreaking results are expected in the morning.

Londoners vote for mayor

Elections take place in around a third of the 300 English communities (“councils”). There is a lot of attention on the mayoral elections in London and ten metropolitan regions. In the capital, incumbent Sadiq Khan from the social democratic Labor Party is considered the favorite, as are his party colleagues in the Manchester and Liverpool regions.

In the newly formed York and North Yorkshire region in northern England, which is also Prime Minister Sunak’s constituency, a Labor politician is also leading in the polls. But the Conservatives can hope to defend the town halls of the West Midlands region of central England and the Tees Valley in the north-east.

Khan comes with a dog

More than 2,500 local councilors, the 25 members of the London City Assembly and 37 so-called Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales, a political office responsible for overseeing the local police authority, will also be elected. While most municipalities want to announce their results by Friday at the latest, the result of the London mayoral election is not expected until this Saturday. Khan came to vote with a dog – under the slogan

Report: Johnson turned away at polling station

As British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson introduced the rule that people had to identify themselves with an ID card when voting. But now the conservative politician has apparently forgotten his own law. Johnson showed up at the polling station in the local elections without an identification document, Sky News reported. “Polling station staff were forced to turn away the former prime minister after he initially failed to comply with legislation he introduced during his time in Downing Street,” it said.

Johnson wanted to cast his vote in South Oxfordshire, where he lives with his family in a listed property. There was a vote on the position of Police and Crime Commissioner, a political position responsible for overseeing the local police department.

Johnson’s spokesman did not deny the report but said the former prime minister had cast his vote. In the morning, the 59-year-old called on X (formerly Twitter) to vote for the Conservative Party of his successor Rishi Sunak.

Financial distress, potholes, sewage

Important issues in the local elections include the difficult financial situation of municipalities, potholes on roads and wastewater discharged into the sea and rivers. According to an analysis by the think tank Local Government Information Unit, many local councils are reacting to the impending financial ruin with higher taxes and fees as well as lower social benefits. The megacity of Birmingham stopped all non-essential spending in September in order to be able to carry out basic tasks.

Political commentators emphasize that local elections are not comparable to national parliamentary elections. On the one hand, the topics are sometimes different, and on the other hand, there were no elections in Scotland, for example. However, the local elections could provide an indication of the mood in the country. In contrast to the general election, EU citizens residing in England are also allowed to take part.

An estimated 44 million of England’s 57 million residents are eligible to vote. Labor leader Keir Starmer says a vote for his party in local elections is a first step towards a government that will stop “the chaos” and give Britain its future back. Prime Minister Sunak, on the other hand, once again drew attention to his stricter migration policy and the reduction of social security contributions before the vote.