NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 15:43
In all the hustle and bustle surrounding the preparations for the coronation of Prince Charles, most Britons are also allowed to go to the polls today. In 230 of the 317 councils, a total of more than 8,000 council seats can be allocated. After a turbulent time full of scandals and a new prime minister, these local elections are especially exciting for the ruling Conservatives.
The inhabitants of the councils, comparable to municipalities, have an influence with their vote on public facilities such as the garbage collection service, schools and means of transport.
Although there is no vote for the national government now, the local elections are an important indicator for the Conservative Tory party. These are the first elections since Prime Minister Sunak took office more than six months ago. His main task was first of all to bring peace and economic stability after the criticism of tax plans of his predecessor Truss, who called it a day after 45 days, and the earlier scandals involving former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Rest does not seem to return yet
That peace doesn’t seem to be fully back yet. For example, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Raab resigned two weeks ago after a report about misconduct. He is the third minister to resign under Sunak’s premiership.
Today’s election results may show whether Sunak’s party has managed to restore voter confidence to some extent. The Labor Party, the largest opposition party, is outperforming the Conservatives in the polls.
Sunak said yesterday that he expects things to be tough for his party, but that the Tories have been able to put the previous setbacks behind them. “I’ve only been prime minister for six months, but we’re already making progress,” he said.
The local elections are the first elections where it is a legal requirement for Britons to be able to identify themselves with a photo ID. Previously, an ID without a photo was also sufficient. For example, a transport card for young adults is no longer a valid proof of identity.
The government does this to prevent fraud, but critics say there is little evidence of widespread fraud in UK elections. In addition, they say this would exclude people who cannot afford a photo ID and thus affect the election results.
Polling stations close at 10 p.m. local time. The next UK national election is at the end of 2024.