By this time tomorrow, nominations for May’s local elections will have closed, although it will be a further week before a full list of candidates is made public. Yesterday Ed Miliband was in Birmingham to launch Labour’s local election campaign – Labour with you in tough times - although for most the local campaign has been underway for some time (or ought to have been).
Labour’s path back to Government must pass through the south. Labour cannot win a majority without winning back some – if not all – of those seats we held from 1997 to 2010. Reconnecting with voters in these communities is essential, and next month’s local elections are important wherever you are in the south. However, there are ten local authorities with elections this year, where it is essential for Labour to show it has made progress.
Each of these ten authorities could elect a majority Labour council on 3rd May if gains of between one and eight are realised. The prospects in some are far greater than in others, but it is essential progress is made.
Great Yarmouth (5)
* indicates number of gains required to win majority control of the council.
All ten authorities contain marginal parliamentary constituencies: four are currently Labour held, 9 are Conservative (all seats won from Labour in 2010 except Reading East, which was lost in 2005) and one – Cambridge – which was won from Labour by the Liberal Democrats in 2005.
Over the course of the next four weeks we’ll publish analyses of the challenge Labour faces in each of these local authorities as it seeks to take control of the council: which are the seats that we are most likely to win? From which parties have we got to make our gains? How good are Labour’s prospects?
On Thursday we start with Thurrock and Norwich.