Political analyst and ex-councillor Neil Taggart previews today’s local council and PCC election vote in Leeds.
The 99 seats: Leeds City Council comprises of 99 elected councillors. Currently there are 63 Labour, 19 Conservative, nine Lib Dem, five Morley Borough Independent and three Green councillors. Labour had overall control of Leeds City Council from 1980 to 2004, minority control from May 2010 and then overall control again from May 2011.
This year’s candidates: A total of 185 candidates are vying to be elected in Leeds this year.
Click HERE for a full list of this year’s nominated Leeds City Council election candidates.
The Big 5: Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems, Greens and UKIP are all fielding candidates in each of Leeds’s 33 wards. One seat in each ward is being contested today.
The ‘fringe’ parties: Apart from the five main parties, there are another five small parties fielding candidates today. They are: TUSC (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts) with nine candidates standing; Alliance for Green Socialism (three candidates); Yorkshire First (three candidates); Independents (there candidates) and Morley Borough Independents (two candidates). Morley Borough Independents is by far the most successful of any of the fringe parties, as it already holds five Leeds City Council seats in the Morley North and Morley South wards.
Ward wars: This year, every ward in Leeds has a minimum of five candidates. Many wards have six candidates, and two have seven each - Killingbeck & Seacroft and Kirkstall.
The electorate: Leeds has a total electorate of 538,000. The biggest individual ward is City & Hunslet, with 19,688 eligible voters. The smallest is Headingley, with 10,643 adults registered to vote.
Overall council control: It is impossible for the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Greens or Ukip to take overall (individual) control of Leeds City Council this year, even if any of them won every seat they are contesting. For Labour to lose Overall control, it would have to suffer a net loss of 14 seats. Even if it did, it would still be the largest single party.
The defensive game: Labour is defending 21 wards (where it has overall control currently) this year and in 11 of these, it is the Greens or UKIP who were second placed last time round.
Girl power: Of the current 99 councillors on Leeds City Council, 60 per cent are male. But if Labour successfully defends all its seats today, the ruling administration will have, for the first time ever, more female councillors than male. The key deciding votes for this to happen will be in Gipton & Harehills and Roundhay. In both wards, the existing male councillors (Roger Harington and Bill Urry) have stepped down and their replacements candidates are women.
Police and Crime Commissioner: As well as the Leeds council election, voters will today select the next Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire. Labour’s Mark Burns-Williamson currently holds this post, which covers the five district councils of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and, of course, Leeds. The Lib Dems, English Democrats, Conservatives and UKIP are all fielding candidates. The Conservatives need a swing of 11.5 per cent to win.
The vote: Polls close at 10pm tonight. The Leeds verification and count will begin tomorrow at 10am at Leeds Town Hall. The main PCC election count will be in Wakefield.
See the YEP online and our Facebook and Twitter channels tomorrow for live updates of the count as it happens. Follow our political reporter Aisha Iqbal on Twitter via @AishaIqbalYEP.