Need to gen up on the London local elections taking place this Thursday (5 May)? Read our handy guide.
What are the 2022 London local elections?
This is your chance to vote for the people that represent your local area. Each of the 32 London boroughs is divvied into wards — and these wards are represented by seats. The councillors vying for each seat represent different political parties, or are otherwise independents. You can vote for however many seats are up for election in your ward — and a mixture of parties, should you want to.
When are the 2022 London local elections?
Thursday 5 May. Polling stations are open from 7am-10pm.
Are the 2022 London local elections taking place in every borough?
Yep, all seats in all 32 boroughs of Greater London are in this election. The City of London (not officially a borough) already had its elections in March 2022.
What am I voting for?
Councillors work on a local level: everything from maintenance of parks and public buildings, to parking issues and the availability of public toilets. Essentially they're supposed to be champions for/guardians of their patch.
Who can I vote for?
Visit the Who Can I Vote For? website, type in your postcode, and it'll tell you your ward, who the candidates are, and how many candidates you can vote for.
Can I vote?
If you're a UK, Commonwealth or European Union citizen, aged 18 or over, and registered to a Greater London address, then yes! Also if you're registered to two addresses (e.g. you're a student at uni in London, but also have a home address in Newcastle), you're entitled to vote at each address.
Where do I vote?
Your local polling station, which you can find by typing in your postcode on the Where Do I Vote? website. Remember, you don't need to take your polling card to the polling station. The deadline for postal/proxy voting has now passed.
Do I need to produce ID?
No. You'll just need to say your name and address at the polling station. That said, recently, the Elections Act 2022 was passed, meaning that in the future, ID will have to be produced in order to be given a ballot paper. This is pretty controversial, given that people with severely limiting disabilities, the unemployed, those without educational qualifications, and trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) people are far less likely to have the required ID.
Is this the same as the mayoral elections?
Nope. The next Mayor of London/London Assembly elections are in 2024. Like it or not, Sadiq Khan is mayor for another couple of years at least.
How does London typically vote in the local elections?
As you can see from the map up top, many wards — and therefore boroughs — voted for Labour councillors in the 2018 elections. Exceptions to that rule are Hillingdon, Barnet, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Wandsworth, Bromley and Bexley (all Conservative); Richmond, Kingston and Sutton (Lib Dem) and Havering is independent.
So can we expect any 'upsets' this year?
Polls should be taken with a fistful of salt (hello 2016 referendum), but it's looking decent for Labour. They're hoping to build on their strong 2018 polling, thanks to a dip in support for the Conservatives (a recent YouGov poll suggested Labour had a 27-point lead over the Tories). There's also talk of many Lib Dem supporters tactically switching their vote to Labour for these local elections. If that happens, certain Tory boroughs (like Barnet and Wandsworth) could turn red.
Other predictions don't look quite so favourably on Labour, with suggestions the party has waved through potentially supporter-losing policies, such as voting through the Edmonton Incinerator. And there are indications that other parties could come out of this well — for instance, the Lib Dems are eyeing up big gains in the borough of Merton.
It's difficult to dig out much optimism for the Conservatives. As the Green Party's Jenny Jones puts it: "Whichever way we look at it, the Conservatives will lose out. " And if you're thinking 'well obviously she's going to say that', in the same Centre for London piece, Conservative Steve Norris admits: "May's elections are not a particularly happy prospect for the Conservatives."
Anything else of note?
As well as voting for councillors, residents of the borough of Croydon will be directly electing a new mayor, after a referendum last year called for a chance in governance. Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Lewisham, Newham do this already.