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Local elections: what to expect

Voters go to the polls tomorrow across the country to elect their representatives in local government.

Councils are responsible for issues such as housing, planning and waste, plus a whole host of other things.

But who will be making those decisions on our behalf?

Here, our reporter Haydn Jeavons takes a look at how the elections are shaping up in east London and west Essex.

Barking and Dagenham

This seems like it will be a slam dunk Labour victory.

The party has held every single seat on the council for the last two elections.

Labour won’t necessarily hold on to them all this time round but it will almost certainly retain control of the council.

Havering

It is hugely difficult to predict who will be in control in the London Borough of Havering.

There is currently no majority, with the Conservatives being propped up by residents association Councillors.

But there is a strong possibility that enough independent/resident group candidates could be elected to gain control from the Tories.

The key to all this is what happens in the seats currently held by Ukip.

If, as has been seen across the country, support for the party diminishes then those seats could determine who will be running Havering Council.

With an increasing number of local residents groups and credible independent candidates emerging, we may see a shift in leadership in east London’s outermost borough.

But don’t expect to wake up on Friday knowing who will be in charge; if there’s no majority then it could take some time for an agreement between the parties to be reached.

What is obvious in Havering is that every vote matters; you can’t assume a winner and it’s important to get out there and vote yourself.

Redbridge

Similarly to Barking and Dagenham, my feeling is that Labour will hold Redbridge.

Wes Streeting and Mike Gapes won their seats in last year’s general election quite comfortably despite predictions, particularly in Ilford North, that it would be a close-run thing.

Local elections are different of course but trends in Redbridge suggest that results are usually quite similar.

There is some support for the Conservatives in the borough but I’m not sure it’s enough for them to make the necessary gains to catch up with Labour.

Thurrock

Thurrock’s elections are slightly different in that not all seats are up for grabs.

There are 49 seats in 20 wards.

16 of those seats are on the line in 2018.

They are currently held as follows:

Conservative: five seats (out of 19 total) are being contested.

Thurrock Independents: five seats (out of 16).

Labour: six seats (out of 14).

It’s unlikely that either Conservatives or Thurrock Independents will have a majority after tomorrow. For Labour, it is impossible.

So who will gain in this election?

It’s hard to tell but we do have a recent by-election that could give us an indication.

The Ockendon by-election in March resulted in a dead heat between Labour and the Conservatives, with the winning councillor’s name being drawn from lots.

But only 25.25% of the registered electorate voted so it’s not entirely representative.

The Thurrock Independents, set up in January 2018 when the local Ukip party disbanded, were third and not too far behind.

They had held the seat beforehand but considered it to be promising to be in contention so soon after forming.

Again this could be very close and the Ockendon by-election really shows how every vote can matter.

Remember you’re voting in a relatively small ward so you make up a higher proportion of the total electorate.

Your vote is important and what you’re voting for is important.

To find out the results from the elections, and to hear from the winners, listen to Time 107.5 on Friday on 107.5FM, the Time 107.5 App or online at time1075.net

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