Local election polls and odds – who will win in 2021?

COUNCIL hopefuls are making their final pitches to voters as millions choose who holds the power to get stuff done in our local areas.

And with two years' worth of elections squashed into one day, May 6 has been dubbed ‘Super Thursday’.

  • Follow the latest local elections 2021 stories
  • Keep up-to-date on the 2021 London mayoral election

Who will win the local elections in 2021?

The May 6 electoral race could have major ramifications for politics in the UK, and perhaps the Union itself.

Every adult in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to cast at least one vote, which is rare outside a general election, writes Wales Online.

Mayors and councils will be chosen in England, with about 5,000 council seats up for grabs as ballots were postponed during the first wave of the Covid crisis last year.

Parliaments will be chosen in Wales and Scotland – where a majority for nationalists would provoke a fresh drive for independence.

A by-election will take place in Hartlepool in the first parliamentary electoral challenge for Sir Keir Starmer at the helm of Labour, in a major test for his leadership.

About 50million voters will give their verdict on British politics for the first time since the general election in 2019, reports the Times.

So who will retain – and lose – the keys to city halls across England?

The Press Association (PA) says the pandemic is expected to be front and centre of many voters' minds, with some anticipating a "vaccine boost" for the Tories due to the success of the rollout so far.

Oppositions typically hope to make gains in local council elections, as voters register their discontent against the Government of the day.

Latest polls

Recent polls have suggested that Labour may struggle in its former heartlands.

If the Conservatives make fresh inroads in the North and the Midlands, the Government would welcome that as further approval of its "levelling up" agenda.

The Tories would use it as a defence to allegations of sleaze that have been battering Boris Johnson, the PA adds.

Recent polling has prompted YouGov to project the Conservatives to gain about 90 council seats in the so-called "red wall" by picking up Ukip votes as Labour loses 59.

Sir Keir has tried to focus voters' minds on allegations of "sleaze", including leaks, the expensive funding of lavish refurbishments of Mr Johnson's Downing Street flat and a lobbying row centred on Tory former PM David Cameron.

But polling has painted an unclear picture on whether weeks of negative press have actually dented support for the Conservatives.

However, the Tories can't be too complacent, as two new polls have suggested the party's lead has been cut.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said parts of the UK were a lot "warmer" towards Labour compared with 2019.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We hope the public will see how we have changed since 2019 – we have a new leader, we have a new direction, but to be frank it's not been the easiest of years to make those wider messages."


London Mayor Sadiq Khan is widely expected to maintain the party's hold on City Hall, while other mayoral elections are taking place across the nation.

A record-breaking 20 mayoral candidates are in the running for the capital this year.

So far Labour candidate Khan has been leading the polls followed by his closest rival Bailey.

A recent poll by ComRes for ITV London, suggests Sadiq Khan leads on his Conservative Shaun Bailey, by 41 per cent to 28 per cent on first preference votes.

Next is Lib Dems candidate Luisa Porritt with eight per cent, and Sian Berry of the Green Party with six per cent.

In London, the Greater London Returning Officer has confirmed that all constituencies will be counted over Friday and Saturday, starting at 9am on Friday and 8am on Saturday.

That means it's likely we'll hear whether Khan will be re-elected for another term on Saturday – or whether Bailey has booted him out.

What's happening in Hartlepool?

The race is looking tight in the Leave-backing constituency of Hartlepool.

Labour has held the seat since its inception in 1974, but the party's majority was chopped to just 3,595 over the Tories in the last election.

During his third visit of the campaign to the battleground, Sir Keir insisted the frequency of visits was not a sign of his concern that Labour may lose out to the Tories.

"Quite the contrary, I love coming here," he told reporters during a visit to Liberty Steel in Hartlepool on Saturday.

He declined to say where a loss there would leave him as Labour leader, instead saying: "This is about Hartlepool, it's not about me, we're fighting for every vote."

Hartlepool is also in the sights of Mr Johnson as the Tories are hoping a trend of winning over traditional Labour voters in northern and central English towns in 2019 will extend to this seat too.

The PM has recently visited twice and Chancellor Rishi Sunak once.

Mr Johnson launched a charm offensive by promising a triple whammy of "jobs, jabs and cops".

A poll by Survation for ITV's Good Morning Britain put the Conservatives on a 17-point lead to take a constituency.

Odds have the Tories in favour of winning Hartlepool, with the party 1/6 to win compared to Labour’s 7/2, reports the Express.

It's expected that the first result will be for the Hartlepool by-election, likely before 4am on Friday morning.


The SNP are predicted to win the Scottish elections.

But Nicola Sturgeon may slip a few seats short of an overall majority, leaving her to mull over whether to do another pact with a party or struggle on with a majority government.

A survey for The Herald by BMG Research also suggests the SNP is set to win 68 seats, the Greens will pick up nine seats and the Alba Party will take two seats.

Britain’s bookmakers believe it is likely the SNP will land a majority of at least 65 of 129 seats in the Scottish parliament.

The Times writes: "If Nicola Sturgeon can secure an SNP majority for for the first time since 2011 she will undoubtedly use it to argue that she has a mandate for a second referendum on independence.

"Even if she falls short, she could still form a super-majority with the Greens and Alex Salmond's Alba Party. The result could play a defining role in the future of the UK."

In Scotland, candidates are vying for 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament, on May 6, 2021.

However, local government elections are not happening in Scotland until Thursday May 5, 2022.


Voters in Wales will cast their ballot for members of the Welsh Assembly and police and crime commissioners.

Traditionally Labour has done well in Wales.

But the Tories have made huge gains there in recent years, so a win for Mark Drakeford would be a majority or anything more.

Wales' election counts kicks off in Cardiff for the Welsh Senedd on Friday, May 7.

Latest election odds via Betfair

Here are Betfair's latest odds for the Thursday May 6 Hartlepool By-Election, London Mayoral election and the Scottish Parliament election:

Hartlepool By-Election winner
Conservatives – 1/14
Labour – 5/1

London Mayoral Election winner
Sadiq Khan – 1/200
Brian Rose – 25/1
Shaun Bailey – 33/1

Betfair – SNP to win a majority (65 seats or more)
SNP majority – 10/11
No SNP majority – 10/11

What are candidates saying?

Wannabe councillors are making plenty of vague promises – vowing to "defend your community", or champion a "green transition" to get your vote.

Southampton could become a "cleaner and less stressful place, says Green Party Ron Meldrum, reports Hampshire Live.

Meanwhile, the "pointless absurdity" of Thursday's ballot has been slammed by Reform UK candidate, Bettina Harries.

She's predicted to Cornwall Live that "nobody" will turns out to vote her in to Cornwall Council as "Conservative candidates will be elected – guaranteed!"

When will the results be announced?

Results for local elections will start trickling in from the morning of Friday, May 7, with some Police and Crime Commissioner voting outcomes expected the following week, from Monday May 10.

  • There are no local elections taking place across Northern Ireland. Its next assembly election is scheduled to take place in 2022, with local elections for NI's 11 councils following a year later in 2023.

What happened in 2016?

Local elections were held for 2,782 council seats across 124 district, unitary and metropolitan borough councils in England on May 5, 2016.

In the elections the Conservatives had a net loss of 38 seats, Labour a net loss of 15 seats and the Liberal Democrats a net gain of 48 seats.

Changes in council control across England were minimal, reports the House of Commons Library.

  • The Conservatives won 31 per cent of seats up for election
  • Labour won 47 per cent of the seats
  • Liberal Democrats won 14 per cent

The Conservatives won or retained 38 of the councils which had
elections on May 5 2016, to control a total of 191 councils overall.

This was a net change of -2 following the 2015 elections.

The Labour party won or retained 58 of the councils, with control of a total of 114 councils overall. This was a net change of +1.

The Liberal Democrats gained Watford council on 5 May 2016 after
the council was all up.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) didn’t gain or lose any councils
and remained on zero in the 2016 local elections.

Ultimate guide to Thursday’s local elections

SUPER Thursday will see millions of voters go to the polls for the first time in two years – with polling stations open across the country to elect the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, councillors, mayors and even an MP. Here’s everything you need to know…

What time do polling stations open on Thursday, May 6?

What seats are up for election and how can I vote?

Local election candidates: Who is standing in my area 2021?

London Mayor candidates 2021: Who is standing?

Hartlepool by-election candidates: Who is standing to replace Mike Hill?

Scottish election 2021 candidates: Who is standing in my area?

Local election 2021 voting rules: Polling station Covid restrictions explained

When will the winners be announced?

How often are local elections held in the UK?

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