What are the wards to look out for in this week’s local election?
- Local elections on Thursday 6 May
- Although Labour councillors dominate in Manchester, Liberal Democrats trail Labour by a slim margin in some wards
- We look at the race in Deansgate, Withington and Didsbury East.
The local elections are just around the corner. On 6 May a third of the city region’s councillors are facing re-election.
If you live in the following wards, a vote you cast could make a significant difference.
How will the election work? There are 32 areas—or ‘wards’— that makeup Manchester City Council.
Each ward contains three councillors. In MCC there are 96 councillors: currently, 94 of those are Labour councillors, and the other two are Liberal Democrats.
In next week’s election, one of the three councillors that sit on each ward are up for re-election. The 2020 local election was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is possible for one ward to contain councillors from different parties. Didsbury West, for example, is made up of the council’s two Liberal Democrat councillors and one Labour councillor.
The following is a list of the wards that were won by a slim majority in the last election.
In 2019, Labour’s candidate, William Jeavons, won by 52 votes, and the total number of votes cast was 1,429. The voter turnout 19.8%
Marcus Johns is an incumbent Labour councillor facing re-election in this city-centre ward.
The Liberal Democrats received the second most votes in the previous election. John Bridges, who stood in this ward in 2019, is standing again.
On Thurs 6 May, I’m running for re-election as your Councillor to continue our hard work building a fairer, greener, better city centre. I’m proud of my work as your voice in Manchester & what we have achieved. In these crucial elections for Manchester, we’ve got a future to win. pic.twitter.com/0RD33l85hT
— Marcus Johns (@CllrMarcus) March 20, 2021
— PiccLibDems #VoteChrisNorthwood (@PiccLibDems) June 7, 2020
Like the race in Deansgate, Withington will be fought between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Labour’s candidate in 2019, Becky Chambers, edged Liberal Democrat, April Preston, by 103 votes. The number of votes cast was 3,234 and there was a 31.27% turnout.
April Preston is standing again against a different Labour candidate who represents this ward, Chris Wills.
I am absolutely delighted to have the backing of Activate for Withington’s elections next year, a cross party group with the sole aim of improving political representation, their backing is vital for people like me not just in Manchester but across the country.#WeRunThis https://t.co/twVi5BPIqm
— April (@AprilPreston_) November 11, 2020
— Chris Wills (@crispeater) March 27, 2021
In 2019, Labour’s James Wilson won by 59 votes against the Liberal Democrat candidate. The total number of votes cast was 4,658 and there was a 41.7% turnout.
This year, one of Didsbury East’s councillors, Kelly Simcock, is standing down.
LibDem candidate John Cameron is competing against Labour’s Linda Foley to replace her seat on this ward.
— Linda Foley (@LindaFLabour) April 23, 2021
— John Cameron (@JohnCameronMcr) March 14, 2021
What to expect
A clear pattern has emerged in these tightly contested wards: in these areas, the Liberal Democrats are hot on Labour’s heels.
While both Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates each have their flagship policies that commonly feature in local election—greener spaces, road safety, fly-tipping etc— the election is broadly split between two arguments.
The Liberal Democrats claim that in such a Labour-dominated council, transparency has been lost and the decision-making process is becoming increasingly unaccountable.
Labour maintain that a sufficient degree of scrutiny exists, and that the Liberal Democrats have failed to work in cross-party consensus despite the opportunity having been extended— which the Liberal Democrat’s deny.
Regardless of what way you see it, your vote in these areas could make a significant difference.