What to Expect: Your Guide to the West Midlands Elections

Will Savage

Head of Birmingham

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The media has dubbed it Super Thursday. A day of local, Mayoral, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections across England – with elections in the devolved administrations also going ahead.

The West Midlands is a key electoral battleground. Over the last four years the Conservatives have gradually increased the number of local authorities under their control, as well as establishing the leadership of Andy Street.

On the other hand, the Labour Party will be desperate to arrest their decline and demonstrate a change of direction in Kier Starmer’s leadership. Here are the things to look out for in the West Midlands as the results roll in:

  • Turn out in Birmingham: If voters in Birmingham attend polling booths in their droves, Liam Byrne is likely to win the Mayoral race. However, with no local elections taking place in the city and a 27% turnout at the last election it could be a big ask.
  • Turn out in Solihull: In 2017, Andy Street effectively mobilised the Conservative vote in Solihull which got him over the line. A turnout of over 50% will signal a strong result for Street.
  • The result in Dudley: Dudley Council is held by the Conservatives with a wafer thin majority. Even though only two-thirds of seats are up for grabs this authority could easily change hands and every vote counts.
  • Anti-development voting: In the fringes of the region there is significant opposition to Green Belt and green field development. Watch out for anti-development voting patterns in Wolverhampton, Dudley, Solihull, and Coventry.
  • Challenger parties: The West Midlands is a two-party region with Labour and Conservatives fighting every seat and council. However, keep an eye on the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats in Solihull to see if they stand a chance of challenging the status quo.
  • Police and Crime Commissioner: No one really knows who their Police and Crime Commissioner is, and even fewer vote for them. However, if the PCC and Mayor come from different parties brace for further calls to merge the two offices, after a botched consultation undertaken by Andy Street failed to achieve it in 2018.

As ever, the political narrative will reflect the national picture and the respective leaderships of Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer. However, the local picture is set to be just as interesting and – arguably – will have a bigger impact on the lives of those voting.

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