The London local elections form part of the wider elections taking place across the country, which give voters the opportunity to express their opinions on how things are running in their local area.
In most local elections only a third of councilors go up for election at a time. However, all seats are up for election in the London elections, which could consequently see quite a few councils changing hands.
Although the next General Election is not until May 2024, Londoners are able to use this opportunity to put forward local issues to their MPs – as well as any wider problems with the overall leadership of the country.
Over the past two years, local issues such as planning permission, community transport, climate change and crime have all been focal points of debate in London – giving prospective councilors the opportunity to address these problems in each of the city’s boroughs.
How each party’s local councilor performs indicates the stability of the overall person in power. If the past two years are anything to go by, it will be an interesting election for the Conservatives, who are currently facing unrest over the cost-of-living crisis, as well as global instability.
When are the London elections?
The 2022 London local elections take place today, on May 5. Part of the 2022 United Kingdom local elections, all London borough councilors seats will be up for re-election.
Mayoral elections will also take place in the boroughs of Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets – while Croydon plans on electing a mayor for the first time since its October 2021 referendum.
How often are the London local elections?
In London, local elections take place every four years – meaning that out of 32 London boroughs, every council seat will be up for election on the same day.
How can I vote in the London borough elections?
All citizens from the UK, the Commonwealth and the EU who are aged 18 and over on the day of the election and are living in the area are eligible to vote in the local elections.
Should you be registered at more than one address, you are eligible to vote in the local elections at each of your residences.
In order to vote, you must register via The Electoral Commission website.
Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm, with all details of your local station written on your polling card. These cards will be sent to voters in advance of election day by the relevant council.
When going to vote, polling staff will need to be notified of your name and address. Do not fret if you misplace your polling card as they are not essential to cast your vote.
If you knew you would be unable to visit a polling station on election day, you could apply for a postal ballot to be sent to your address ahead of May 5 – however the deadline for this has now passed. Alternatively, you can apply to register for a proxy vote, whereby you appoint someone else to vote on your behalf.
You can still apply to vote by proxy for medical reasons up until 5pm on polling day.
Why is this year so significant?
Britons are facing a cost-of-living crisis, as inflation rises, energy bills soar, and fuel prices spike.
Meanwhile, the elections are the first since the ‘partygate’ scandal engulfed Boris Johnson and No 10 staff, and it remains to be seen whether the crisis will hurt the performance of Conservative candidates.
What happened in the 2018 London elections?
The last London local elections took place in 2018 and resulted in the best outcome for the Labor Party since 1971. The Conservatives, on the other hand, won their lowest number of seats in any London local election.
Although elections were held in all 32 London boroughs on 3 May 2018, several boroughs counted their votes on Friday 4 May. Bromley, Hackney, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets all counted their votes the following day as an overnight count is not always feasible.
In May 2021, Newham and Tower Hamlets both held local referendums on whether to eradicate their mayoral positions and opt to return to a leader and cabinet system. However in both cases, voters chose to remain under the current mayoral model.
The same month saw the London Mayoral elections – where Labor candidate Sadiq Khan was re-elected as Mayor of London – as well as the London Assembly elections, which saw small wins for the Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat parties.
It is worth noting that Croydon also held a referendum on 7 October 2021 to decide whether or not to shift to a mayor position. The result was, indeed, to change to a mayoral system, with the first mayor due to be elected in 2022.
What is the difference between the London borough elections and the Mayoral election?
The Mayoral election takes place (alongside the London Assembly) on a different four-year cycle than the local and London local elections. The next election for the Mayor of London will take place in 2024.
This article is kept updated with the latest information.