A mammoth set of races will test Scottish independence, Tory and Labour strategy, and lots more besides.
Britain heads to the polls on Thursday for a set of local and national elections that will shed light on the big faultlines running through U.K. politics.
In play is everything from the push for Scottish independence to the ability of crisis-hit Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold on to the electoral coalition that swept him to power in 2019. Labour leader Keir Starmer, in office for just a year, faces his first real test amid muttering about his performance — while leaders like London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford will find out what voters really made of their responses to COVID-19.
An unprecedented number of seats — more than 5,000 — are up for grabs across the U.K., after a host of elections were postponed last year amid the pandemic. Johnson and Starmer’s electoral pulling power will be put to the test with seats on 143 English councils in play, as well as a Westminster by-election in which Labour will try to hang on to the northeast English seat of Hartlepool.
Of perhaps even greater significance are the 129 Scottish parliament seats on the ballot, as the Scottish National Party tries to bag another majority it will argue gives it the mandate to hold a fresh referendum on Scottish independence — teeing up a major showdown with Johnson. Adding to the drama, former SNP leader Alex Salmond looms large with his own breakaway pro-independence party.
If that wasn’t enough, voters will also decide on 60 Welsh Assembly seats; 25 places on the London Assembly; 39 police and crime commissioner jobs; and 13 directly elected mayorships, including London.
Here are some highlights of POLITICO’s coverage of the U.K. and the election:
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How to watch the UK Super Thursday elections like a pro
Polls open at 7 a.m. on Thursday May 6 and will close at 10 p.m. The coronavirus and the number of votes going on around the country mean the counting and results process will be quite a slog. Some races intend to declare overnight in the small hours, but most won’t start counting until Friday.
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Scotland and Wales: the battle lines
How the Scottish National Party became the only show in town
Barring a major upset, the pro-independence party will win big. So how did they get so far ahead? Don’t miss Jack Blanchard’s special Westminster Insider podcast with the key players.
Labyrinth of division beneath Scottish independence fight
The debate over Scotland’s future is more complex than a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ — with plenty of in-fighting.
‘Project Love’ — Boris Johnson’s plan to save the union
The U.K. secretaries for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on what it will take to keep things from falling apart.
Alex Salmond on Prince Philip, Scottish independence … and Eurovision
Fresh from launching his own party, the former Scottish first minister is hoping for another political upset.
Scotland’s risky route to a new independence vote
Even after an election victory this week, the SNP would still struggle to hold a new referendum.
Scotland’s EU charm offensive
There’s always a Brexit angle. Scottish politicians aren’t just engaged in a frantic contest for votes back home — they’re also waging a long-term battle to win friends in Brussels.
The other new parties trying to change the game in Scotland
A ragtag collection of startup pro-union parties is also vying to make an impact in the independence debate.
Coronavirus ups the stakes in Wales’ election
The Welsh Senedd has struggled for legitimacy, but the pandemic has demonstrated the depth of powers granted by devolution.
The battle for England’s ‘red wall’
UK Tories aim to chip away at ‘red wall’ in key electoral test for Boris Johnson
A Tory win in the Hartlepool by-election would be a disaster for the opposition Labour party, which has held the seat since 1974.
Keir Starmer tackles Labour’s Everest
U.K. Labour MPs believe their leader must move from credible opposition to prime minister-in-waiting.
Boris Johnson stays afloat in a swirl of scandal
Johnson goes into the elections amid a host of controversies. The U.K. prime minister has a history of deeply insulting remarks, but he’s remained a political winner.
Coronavirus missteps reveal Boris Johnson’s optimism addiction
Johnson’s handling of COVID will loom large — but the pandemic has not paid much attention to his determination to hope for the best.
Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/britains-super-thursday-elections-the-essential-guide/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication