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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

UK local elections 2022 guide: what they mean and how they work

Millions of UK voters in England, Wales and Scotland took to polling stations on Thursday to elect their new local representatives.

While local council elections determine everything from garbage collection to housing, this election will be a clear demonstration of the nation’s attitude towards Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.

Sentiments towards Johnson have been bleak over the past year, following the endless scandals surrounding him and his political party, particularly “Partygate”.

The so-called “PartyGate” scandal refers to 12 illegal social gatherings the Conservative Party was embroiled in throughout the lockdown, when social distancing measures were put in place by the same government.

As a result, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party could emerge victorious in this year’s council election, in part due to the disappointment British voters are feeling towards the Tory government.

Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson has angered many Britons with endless scandals over lockdown violations.
Getty Images

The Tory and Labor parties have so far suffered disappointing results as counting continues, BBC News reports.

Johnson’s party is getting some overwhelming votes in London, while the progress of Labor Party leader Keir Starmer is also nothing to write home about.

As British councils eagerly await the results of the elections, here is an explainer of how UK elections work and what the results could mean for the UK government.

Labor Leader Keir Starmer.
Labor leader Keir Starmer has had disappointing results so far.
Getty Images

how does it work?

More than 4,350 seats will be contested in more than 140 councils in England. In Wales, elections are being held for 22 councils, as well as 32 councils in Scotland.

In Wales, all seats on 22 local councils are contested, where people can vote from the age of 16, unlike in England, where the minimum age to vote is 18.

In Scotland, the Conservative Party took power from Labor at the last election in 2017, however, they failed to gain overall control and as a result, most councils are run by coalitions.

The election will also allow voters to have their say on national issues, including the cost of living crisis.

Millions Of Uk Voters In England, Wales And Scotland Took To Polling Stations On Thursday To Elect Their New Local Representatives.
UK voters in England, Wales and Scotland went to polling stations on Thursday to elect their new local representatives.
SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

What are the Brits voting for?

Voters will elect local councilors for the next term, which is usually four years.

Local councils are responsible for everything from an individual’s territory to planning issues, and housing, to providing plans to combat climate change.

Other responsibilities include local city transportation, garbage collection, and providing mental health resources to the community.

What does this mean for the UK government?

What could happen after the elections is a cabinet reshuffle for the Tory party.

Local elections have always been viewed as decisions by national party leaders, so if the Tories see a disappointing turnout, it is a direct reflection of the country’s feelings towards the Conservative government.

BBC News reported that in the last set of local elections in May 2021, the Tories won 235 seats and took control of 13 councils.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson is hoping to win back the trust of the British people after the “Partygate” scandal.
Getty Images

However, this year’s elections are taking place in a very different political climate as Johnson and his team could lose between 250-350 seats.

Losing so many seats won’t really change much in the grand scheme of things, but it will highlight how other parties are gaining in popularity.

When will we know the result?

Counting of votes began as soon as polling stations in England were closed at 10 pm UK time.

The result is expected to be declared sometime between Friday evening and Saturday.

Counting began soon after voting in England closed, while in Scotland and Wales the counting of votes would begin on Friday.

World Nation News Desk
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