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Are there local elections in London? Where council votes are taking place in 2023 and how to check your area

The largest round of local elections since 2019 are taking place tomorrow, with more than 8,000 council seats up for grabs in 230 local authorities in England.

There are also mayoral elections in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough, while 462 council seats will be voted on in Northern Ireland.

The elections are mostly taking place in rural areas, which are commonly held by the Conservatives. More than 3,300 of the 8,000 seats being voted on are held by the Tories.

There are also votes in some urban areas of northern England, which Labour typically controls. Labour will defend more than 2,000 seats, with the Liberal Democrats holding 1,200 and the Greens 240.

Here’s how to find out if your area is voting, and everything else you need to know about polling day, including how to vote, what you need, and how to find out who your candidates are – and when we can expect results to be announced for every council.

When are the local elections 2023?

The elections will take place on Thursday 4 May in England, and two weeks later, on Thursday 18 May, in Northern Ireland.

Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm on election day, after which the votes will be counted.

Are there local elections in London?

There are no local elections in London, as people in the capital went to the polls last year. That means the next round of local elections in London will be in 2026 – though there are votes for the mayor of London and the London Assembly in 2024.

To see if there is an election in your area in May, enter your postcode into the Electoral Commission’s online checker here.

Who are my local candidates?

The website whocanivotefor.co.uk has information on all the candidates standing in the local elections.

Enter your postcode into the site and you will be able to see profiles on all the candidates, as well as links to their party’s local social media pages, and ways to contact them.

What time will results be announced?

Here is the full list of expected times for results being announced, based on the 2019 elections.

Friday 5 May:

  • Broxbourne – 0:30
  • Rushmoor – 1:00
  • Basildon – 1:30
  • Castle Point – 1:30
  • Halton – 1:30
  • Harlow – 1:30
  • Hartlepool – 1:30
  • Sunderland – 1:30
  • Brentwood – 2:00
  • Chorley – 2:00
  • Ipswich – 2:00
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne – 2:00
  • Redditch – 2:00
  • Rochford – 2:00
  • Sandwell – 2:00
  • Sefton – 2:00
  • South Tyneside – 2:00
  • Tamworth – 2:00
  • Thurrock – 2:00
  • Hart – 2:30
  • Havant – 2:30
  • North East Lincolnshire – 2:30
  • Portsmouth – 2:30
  • Stevenage – 2:30
  • Worcester – 2:30
  • Boston – 3:00
  • Colchester – 3:00
  • Cotswold – 3:00
  • Dudley – 3:00
  • Kingston-upon-Hull – 3:00
  • Lincoln – 3:00
  • North Lincolnshire – 3:00
  • North West Leicestershire – 3:00
  • Peterborough – 3:00
  • South Holland – 3:00
  • Eastleigh – 3:10
  • Exeter – 3:30
  • Hertsmere – 3:30
  • North Norfolk – 3:30
  • Reading – 3:30
  • Salford – 3:30
  • Bath and North East Somerset – 4:00
  • Bolsover – 4:00
  • Bolton – 4:00
  • Braintree – 4:00
  • Coventry – 4:00
  • North Devon – 4:00
  • Plymouth – 4:00
  • Southend-on-Sea – 4:00
  • Dacorum – 4:30
  • Hinckley and Bosworth – 4:30
  • East Hertfordshire – 5:00
  • Telford and Wrekin – 5:00
  • Tendring – 5:00
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Royal – 5:00
  • Ashfield – 5:30
  • Bassetlaw – 5:30
  • West Lindsey – 5:30
  • South Kesteven – 6:00
  • Tameside – 6:00
  • Medway – 6:30
  • Stoke-on-Trent – 6:30
  • South Gloucestershire – 7:00
  • East Lindsey – 11:30
  • Manchester – 11:45
  • Herefordshire – 12:00
  • Gateshead – 12:30
  • Solihull – 12:30
  • Walsall – 12:30
  • Worthing – 12:30
  • Broadland – 13:00
  • Cannock Chase – 13:00
  • Knowsley – 13:00
  • North Tyneside – 13:00
  • North Warwickshire – 13:00
  • Rossendale – 13:00
  • South Norfolk – 13:00
  • Stratford-on-Avon – 13:00
  • Warwick – 13:00
  • Blackburn with Darwen – 13:30
  • Bracknell Forest – 13:30
  • Burnley – 13:30
  • Crawley – 13:30
  • Fenland – 13:30
  • Folkestone & Hythe – 13:30
  • Maidstone – 13:30
  • East Devon – 14:00
  • East Staffordshire – 14:00
  • Hyndburn – 14:00
  • Lichfield – 14:00
  • Mansfield – 14:00
  • North Hertfordshire – 14:00
  • Rugby – 14:00
  • Runnymede – 14:00
  • Tewkesbury – 14:00
  • Torbay – 14:00
  • Torridge – 14:00
  • Welwyn Hatfield – 14:00
  • West Devon – 14:00
  • Reigate and Banstead – 14:15
  • Elmbridge – 14:30
  • Forest of Dean – 14:30
  • Newark and Sherwood – 14:30
  • Preston – 14:30
  • Teignbridge – 14:30
  • Barnsley – 15:00
  • Blackpool – 15:00
  • Breckland – 15:00
  • Calderdale – 15:00
  • Canterbury – 15:00
  • Darlington – 15:00
  • Derbyshire Dales – 15:00
  • East Cambridgeshire – 15:00
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – 15:00
  • Epping Forest – 15:00
  • Erewash – 15:00
  • Kirklees – 15:00
  • Maldon – 15:00
  • Middlesbrough – 15:00
  • Milton Keynes – 15:00
  • Rochdale – 15:00
  • Sevenoaks – 15:00
  • Sheffield – 15:00
  • South Hams – 15:00
  • Surrey Heath – 15:00
  • Tandridge – 15:00
  • Tunbridge Wells – 15:00
  • Watford – 15:00
  • Wealden – 15:00
  • West Suffolk – 15:00
  • Wokingham – 15:00
  • Wychavon – 15:00
  • North Somerset – 15:30
  • Oadby & Wigston – 15:30
  • Ashford – 16:00
  • Babergh – 16:00
  • Blaby – 16:00
  • Bromsgrove – 16:00
  • Cambridge – 16:00
  • Chesterfield – 16:00
  • Dover – 16:00
  • Gravesham – 16:00
  • Great Yarmouth – 16:00
  • Harborough – 16:00
  • Luton – 16:00
  • Malvern Hills – 16:00
  • Melton – 16:00
  • Mid Suffolk – 16:00
  • Norwich – 16:00
  • Oldham – 16:00
  • Pendle – 16:00
  • Redcar & Cleveland – 16:00
  • Ribble Valley – 16:00
  • Rushcliffe – 16:00
  • Rutland – 16:00
  • Slough – 16:00
  • Stafford – 16:00
  • Staffordshire Moorlands – 16:00
  • St Albans – 16:00
  • Swindon – 16:00
  • Uttlesford – 16:00
  • Vale of White Horse – 16:00
  • West Lancashire – 16:00
  • West Oxfordshire – 16:00
  • Wyre – 16:00
  • North East Derbyshire – 16:10
  • Arun – 16:30
  • Bradford – 16:30
  • Broxtowe – 16:30
  • Cherwell – 16:30
  • Chichester – 16:30
  • Fylde – 16:30
  • Nottingham – 16:30
  • South Oxfordshire – 16:30
  • Stockport – 16:30
  • Three Rivers – 16:30
  • Tonbridge and Malling – 16:30
  • Woking – 16:30
  • Wolverhampton – 16:30
  • Basingstoke & Deane – 17:00
  • Bedford – 17:00
  • Brighton and Hove – 17:00
  • Bury – 17:00
  • Central Bedfordshire – 17:00
  • Charnwood – 17:00
  • Chelmsford – 17:00
  • Eastbourne – 17:00
  • Epsom and Ewell – 17:00
  • Horsham – 17:00
  • Leeds – 17:00
  • Leicester – 17:00
  • Lewes – 17:00
  • Liverpool – 17:00
  • North Kesteven – 17:00
  • Southampton – 17:00
  • South Derbyshire – 17:00
  • Stockton-on-Tees – 17:00
  • Swale – 17:00
  • Thanet – 17:00
  • Wigan – 17:00
  • Wirral – 17:00
  • Wyre Forest – 17:00
  • East Hampshire – 17:30
  • Gedling – 17:30
  • High Peak – 17:30
  • Lancaster – 17:30
  • Wakefield – 17:30
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – 18:00
  • Dartford – 18:00
  • Derby – 18:00
  • East Suffolk – 18:00
  • Guildford – 18:00
  • King’s Lynn and West Norfolk – 18:00
  • Mid Devon – 18:00
  • Mole Valley – 18:00
  • New Forest – 18:00
  • Rother – 18:00
  • South Ribble – 18:00
  • Test Valley – 18:00
  • Trafford – 18:00
  • Waverley – 18:00
  • West Berkshire – 18:00
  • Winchester – 18:00
  • Spelthorne – 18:15
  • South Staffordshire – 18:30
  • Amber Valley – 19:00
  • Cheshire West and Chester – 19:00
  • Mid Sussex – 19:00
  • Cheshire East – 20:00
  • York – 20:00

Where is my polling station?

You should receive a polling card informing you where to vote. If you do not have a polling card, you can find your local polling station by entering your postcode here.

You must vote at the polling station you are registered to, unless you have applied for a postal vote, which you must do in advance. You can do this here – though postal vote applications for these upcoming elections have now closed.

What do I need to vote?

You must be registered to vote in order to take part in the elections. You were able to do this online here. If you have already registered to vote in a previous election you do not need to do so again, unless you have moved homes. The deadline to register to vote in this week’s elections has now passed.

For the first time ever, voters will be required to show ID to cast their ballot. You do not need your polling card to vote.

Approved forms of ID are: passport issued by the UK, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA (European Economic Area) state or a Commonwealth country; driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state; provisional driving licence; Blue Badge; older person’s bus pass; disabled person’s bus pass or Oyster 60+ card.

People who don’t have access to ID should have applied for a free β€œvoter authority document” that will allow them to take part. However, the deadline to apply for the certificate was 5pm on Tuesday, 25 April.

Why are these elections important?

Issues such as bin collections, the state of roads and access to local hospitals and libraries tend to decide these elections, as opposed to issues such as the economy and immigration which dominate the conversation during a general election. Candidates very much focus on everyday problems that affect the local community.

The Local Government Association explains: β€œA councillor’s primary role is to represent their ward or division and the people who live in it. Councillors provide a bridge between the community and the council. As well as being an advocate for local residents and signposting them to the right people at the council, you will need to keep them informed about the issues that affect them.

β€œIn order to understand and represent local views and priorities, you need to build strong relationships and encourage local people to make their views known and engage with you and the council. Good communication and engagement are central to being an effective councillor.”

Councillors’ roles include:

  • responding to residents’ queries and investigating their concerns;
  • communicating council decisions that affect them;
  • working with representatives of local organisations, interest groups and businesses;
  • represent residents’ views at council meetings;
  • leading local campaigns on residents’ behalf.

Councils also act as regulators. Councillors may be appointed to sit on the planning and regulatory committee – which deals with issues such as planning applications and licences for pubs and restaurants, and ensures that businesses comply with the law. In these roles, councillors tend to be specially trained and are required to act independently – so they are not subject to the group or party whip.

Despite these elections being focused on local issues, this is still the biggest test of political opinion ahead of the next general election.

Big wins for Labour would add to the feeling that Sir Keir Starmer’s party is primed to take over at the next national vote, whereas the Tories performing better than expected would provide hope for Rishi Sunak.

The last time these seats were voted on, Theresa May was prime minister and Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the opposition, so the political landscape is significantly different.

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