February 8, 2023
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Election results 2022: When to expect them and what to look out for


Image source, Reuters
Image caption,

London Mayor Sadiq Khan celebrates with new leader of Wandsworth Council Simon Hogg

Voters have had their say in UK-wide elections, with positions on 200 councils – and the make-up of Northern Ireland’s government – up for grabs.

The first results from London came in overnight, and counts are now under way across the rest of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

What happens with the ballots?

Ballot boxes are taken from all the polling stations, to centres where staff open them up and start counting votes.

Once all the votes in a particular area – like a council ward – are counted, the official in charge – known as the returning officer – announces the results.

When will we know the results?

In England, just over half of the councils started counting as soon as polls closed on Thursday, with some results announced overnight.

The remaining counts began on Friday morning and we should know most of the results by midday.

Counts in Scotland and Wales got under way on Friday morning- so most results should be known by Friday evening.

In Northern Ireland counting also started on Friday morning and the final results could be known by the end of the day. However, it’s possible counting will pause overnight and resume on Saturday morning, in which case final results would be likely by Saturday afternoon.

You can search for your results here:

What to look out for in England

The first results have already come from England, where 4,360 seats on about 146 councils are available, as are a handful of council mayoral positions and the role of South Yorkshire’s mayor.

The last time most of these seats were contested was 2018. A lot has happened since then, and as ever with council elections, a mixture of local and national issues are likely to have played on voters’ minds.

But there will be lots of attention on areas like Peterborough and Pendle, where Labour wants to boost its General Election chances.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,

Ballot boxes are emptied at Peterborough Arena

Keep an eye too on councils where no-one has overall control and a small number of seats changing hands could lead to a power shift between the parties, including Sheffield, Rossendale, Tunbridge Wells, Crawley and Plymouth.

London, which makes up about a third of all the seats being contested in England, is also a key battleground. Overnight, Labour took control of Wandsworth, Barnet and Westminster from the Conservatives.

But Labour has so far only made modest gains across the rest of England. The Liberal Democrats have gained the most council seats of any party so far – and the Greens are also doing well.

What to look out for in Scotland

In Scotland, people voted in all 32 local authorities. Last time this happened, in 2017, the Conservatives recorded their best local election performance since 1982, finishing second behind the SNP and ahead of Labour.

The 2017 elections left no single party with a majority on any mainland council – so they are all either run by a coalition or a minority administration.

Labour is hoping to regain control of Glasgow City Council, which it lost last time. Another interesting battleground will be Aberdeen. The SNP were the largest party there in 2017 but were kept out of power because the Conservatives formed a partnership with Labour councillors – who were suspended from the party as a result.

What to look out for in Wales

In Wales, all seats in 22 local councils are being contested, and for the first time 16 and 17-year-olds were able to vote.

Labour, which retained power in the Welsh Parliamentary elections last year, is hoping to make up ground it lost in 2017, when it shed more than 100 councillors. However, it remains dominant with control of seven authorities, including Cardiff.

The Conservatives, who gained 80 seats in 2017, have majority control of one council – Monmouthshire.

Plaid Cymru – which has a majority in Gwynedd – wants to build on its modest gains in 2017, while the Welsh Liberal Democrats, which lost councillors five years ago, is hoping to regain some of those positions.

Independents are a big factor in Welsh council elections, making up the second largest group of candidates last time around.

What could happen in Northern Ireland?

It’s a different type of election in Northern Ireland, where a new government is being elected. And it could be an historic result, with the possibility that for the first time a nationalist party may become the largest party in the devolved administration.

Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly are elected from parties belonging to one of three blocs: unionists, nationalists and non-aligned. The biggest party from the largest of the unionist/nationalist blocs nominates the first minister, and the largest party from the second-largest bloc nominates the deputy first minister.

Sinn Féin has been the second-biggest party since 2003 but it is confident of winning more seats than the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) this time around.

How can I follow the results on the BBC?

There will also be full coverage of the results across the UK on BBC television and radio, starting with an overnight Election Results special at 23:40 on BBC One and the BBC News Channel.

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