What to expect and look for in the 2021 mayoral, council and devolved elections

By Isaac H 

An analysis of the voting patterns and behaviour which gives insight into the political landscape of the country.


From the historic victory of Boris Johnson in the December General Election 2019, the political landscape of the United Kingdom has shifted majorly. This can be seen through the destruction of the traditional Red Wall in the North of England, typically held by Labour, which occurred due to Labour alienating itself from its working-class roots and instead shifting to a party for the middle-class, ‘woke’ left in the South East. Furthermore, immediately following the Conservative victory, there was a rise in Scottish national socialism prompted by the typically pro-EU stance of many within the Scottish Government. However, with polling now displaying a potentially shifting attitude towards the union in Scotland the dominance of the SNP could be starting to grind to a halt and with the current polling in certain councils and constituencies across the UK, these elections will be an excellent way of observing the public perceptions of how the Conservative Government has tackled Covid-19 and how competent the left-wing Opposition has been.


Here’s what to look out for: across England, although there are council and mayoral elections, the key ‘event’ of this upcoming round of elections is the Hartlepool By-election. A historically Labour constituency, Hartlepool represents part of what remains of Labour’s once dominant Red Wall across the North of England. Their victory in December 2019 was highly reliant on the divided Brexit vote; the split between the Brexit Party and the Conservative Party provided Labour the opportunity to win with a comfortable majority. However, with the withdrawal of the Brexit Party from the political landscape, the once divided right-wing vote would appear to have united under the Conservatives. A recent poll indictaed that the Tory candidate was polling at 50%, with a 17% lead over Labour. Now that Hartlepool has become another Blue, Northern constituency, it will provide further evidence of Sir Keir Starmer’s inability to reconnect Labour to its Northern roots (once more displayed by making the candidate for a prominent ‘leave’ constituency an advocate for remaining in the EU). Elsewhere, although Sadiq Khan appears to be on track to secure his second term as the Labour Mayor of London, it is important to note the growth of the Conservative opposition as a result of his immense failure throughout first tenure. This growth in opposition should occur in all labour wards and mayoral elections.


In Scotland, whilst the SNP is under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, look set to win once more. This is far more a sign of the divided opposition to the SNP dominance. A recent poll indicated the Scottish independence voting intention at 47% and a 53% opposition to leaving the Union. A majority want to remain part of the UK. If there was a competent opposition in Scotland representing those who wish to remain in the UK, the SNP would be seriously contested all across the country. However, due to there being no such candidate, what should be looked out for is the election results in Scotland which should display a decline in SNP votes despite an expected majority.

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