Predicting the 50 councils to watch: how Andy’s predictions are playing out

Derby:  A key battleground for all three main parties, the Conservatives (16 seats) and Lib Dems (12 seats) run the council in coalition but Labour is the largest party (22 seats). Labour will be targetting gains of 4 seats to take control but only a third of council seats are up for election.   With the background of the controversial Bombardier decision and the prospects for parliamentary marginals, especially following the Boundary Review, this is one to watch. LAB gain from NOC

Milton Keynes:  We accurately predicted last year that the Conservatives would win enough seats to form a minority administration.   This year the Conservatives could win outright control but they need net gains of 5 seats, with only a third of seats up for election this time. Count on Friday

North East Lincolnshire:  Currently a minority Labour administration 19 seats), the local Conservatives (14 seats) and Lib Dems (9 seats) have chosen not to join up to outvote Labour here.  The 12 seats up for election this time are evenly split, 4 each for the three main parties.  This gives Labour a good chance to gain the three seats they need to take control. LAB gain from NOC

Plymouth: This is a straight two way fight between the ruling Conservatives (32 seats) and Labour (25 seats), who are attempting to gain a handful of seats to win control.  This contest is important for both parties to see how they are faring head to head, with the added spice that Plymouth is home to two parliamentary marginals. LAB gain from NOC

Portsmouth:  The Lib Dems (23 seats) are in control here but a net gain of four seats by Conservatives  (17) would give them the upper hand.  Not all council results go with the national swing and some areas buck the trend – the Lib Dems are hoping this will be one of them. No change – LD retain control

Reading: Labour run a minority administration and will hope to strengthen their position by making the 4 gains they need for an outright majority.  They will need to watch out for the Greens who are also targetting gains. LAB gain from NOC

Southampton:  The Conservatives (26 seats) have held a slim majority here and Labour (19 seats) would need a net gain of six seats to take snatch control, which seems a tall order when only a third of the council is up for election.  The Lib Dems have 3 seats. LAB gain from CON

Thurrock: This is a tight two way fight between Conservatives and Labour, with Labour currently having the upper hand with 24 seats to the Conservatives 22.    This is one of Labour’s top parliamentary targets and Ed Miliband’s office will be watching this result, not least because Miliband aide Polly Billington is Labour’s parliamentary candidate LAB gain from NOC

Swindon:  Conservatives have a commanding lead here but the council has ‘all out elections’ and local sources on both sides predict Labour gains.  If Labour gained Swindon it would mean they were having a particularly good night. No change – CON retain control  

Metropolitan Authorities

Birmingham:   The current make up of the council is 56 Lab, 39 Con, 24 Lib Dem and 1 other.  Labour launched their local election campaign here and are hoping to build on the gains they made last year and win control of the council from the coalition parties.  The Mayoral referendum result will be one to watch too as it is widely expected to be a Yes vote. LAB have won from NOC with the Mayoral referendum counted later today

Calderdale:  The Conservatives are the largest party with 21 seats and would need five net gains to take control and oust the Labour / Lib Dem coalition, who have 13 seats each.   With only a third of seats up for election the council will probably remain hung. Count on Friday

Kirklees:  Labour has a vulnerable minority administration here but the Conservatives have been losing ground at recent elections so Labour will hope to make gains.  The balance is Lab 27, Con 21, LD 14, Green 4, others 3. Count on Friday

Liverpool:  The Lib Dem collapse in Liverpool was one of the big stories of the 2011 local elections and Nick Clegg’s party will be watching nervously to see if there are further losses this year.  One of the few Lib Dem councillors to hold on last year, Richard Kemp, will be flying his parties flag in the Mayoral election against current council Leader, Labour’s Joe Anderson, who is favourite to win.  Council count on Fri. Joe Anderson is elected first Mayor of Liverpool.

Rochdale:  Labour has a minority administration and will hope to win an outright majority this time by gaining two seats. No change – LAB gains majority

Stockport:  The Lib Dems have run the council for a long time but they now have a minority administration and will have to campaign hard to hold on.  The current balance is LD 30, Lab 18, Con 11, Residents 3. No change

Walsall:  Conservatives and Labour have 27 seats each but the Conservatives run the council with the support of minor parties.  This is a major battleground in the Midlands and Labour will be hoping for a swing back towards them this time. NOC – no change

Wirral:  Labour have the most seats here but after a difficult period of minority rule the Conservatives have recently taken charge with Lib Dem support, making this a very unpredictable election which will be fought on local lines as much as national issues. Labour gain

District Councils

Burnley:  Currently a minority Lib Dem administration, this is a key Labour and Lib Dem battleground.  The current balance is 21 LD to 18 Labour, 5 Conservatives and 1 BNP. Count on Friday

Cambridge:  This is a Lib Dem and Labour battleground, where the Lib Dems hold 25 seats to Labours 14.  With only a third of councils up for election the Lib Dems will hold on to power but the results here will be closely watched, particularly as the Lib Dems hold the parliamentary seat in what is a real three-way marginal.  LD lose to NOC

Cannock Chase: A Labour minority administration currently, they will be trying to win 4 seats to gain a majority. LAB gain from NOC

Carlisle:  The Conservatives (22 seats) are in minority control with the support of the Lib Dems (5 seats).  Labour are the largest party with 24 seats and could gain control if there is a swing to them. LAB gain from NOC

Cheltenham:  The Lib Dems hold 25 of the 40 seats, but with half of the seats up for election this May, a Conservative gain cannot be ruled out.  If this happened it would signal a bad night for the Lib Dems. No change – LD retain control

Chorley:  The council is finely balanced between Labour and the Conservatives, but the Tories currently run the council with Lib Dem support.   Labour and the Tories will both be vying to win a clear majority this time.  LAB gain from NOC

Colchester:  The Lib Dems have a two seat advantage over the Conservatives here and will be hoping to hold on to power.  It has been a traditional Lib Dem stronghold and they hold the local parliamentary seat so this is a key contest.  NOC – no change

Exeter:  The council is a three way contest and has been hung for years.  There is currently an all party administration but Labour will have designs on gaining the few seats they need to take control. LAB gain from NOC

Great Yarmouth:  This is a straight two way fight between Labour and the Conservatives, with Labour needing to gain 4 seats to snatch control from the Conservatives.  LAB gain from CON

Harlow:  Another of the few areas in the East of England where Labour is competitive, the Conservatives currently hold the council with a vulnerable 1 seat majority. LAB gain from CON

Lincoln:  The political balance in Lincoln is on a knife edge between Labour and Conservatives.  The outcome this time has extra significance as this is now a top parliamentary marginal. LAB hold

Mole Valley:  The Lib Dems are the largest party but the Conservatives run the council with Independent support.  Conservatives will be aiming for outright control. NOC – no change

Newcastle-under-Lyme:  A Conservative and Lib Dem administration could be vulnerable to Labour who are already the largest party.

Nuneaton and Bedworth:  Labour currently run this on the Mayor’s casting vote and look set to gain outright control this time. LAB gain from NOC

Pendle:  Currently in no overall control the council is finely balanced between the three main parties and the outcome is difficult to predict. Count on Friday

Rossendale:  A Labour minority administration at present, they will be hoping to win a majority. Count on Friday

Stroud:  The Conservatives have a minority administration and this may continue, but the other interest here is the relative strength of the Greens who currently have 6 councillors and will be looking to make gains. Count on Friday

Weymouth and Portland:  Currently an all party administration, the Conservatives are the largest party and the only one who could take control with just a third of the seats being contested this time. NOC – no change

Winchester:  This is a hotly contested Lib Dem and Conservative battleground where the Lib Dems and Conservatives each have 27 seats. Given the national polls, the Conservatives will hope to gain outright control. CON gain from NOC

Scotland – *all Scotland counts take place on Friday*

Scottish local government uses a PR system for local elections which leaves most councils   hung.  There are an exotic range of combinations in the administrations across Scotland which are certain to change significantly after May’s elections.   The SNP is widely expected to make gains against all parties.  Labour will hope that they can fend of the SNP surge and do well against the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

Aberdeenshire:  Currently a Lib Dem and Conservative administration, the SNP are likely to become the largest party.

Dundee:  The SNP need to gain 1 seat to take control

Falkirk:  In an unusual coalition Labour works with the Conservatives to run the council.  This will be an SNP target to win control.

Glasgow:  Labour’s dominance in Glasgow is under threat, with the SNP hopeful of making significant gains.  This is likely to be the most watched contest of the night in Scotland.

Perth and Kinross:  This is an SNP target where they need to gain 3 seats to take control.  

Renfrewshire:  A minority SNP administration relies on Lib Dem support.  Could they win outright control or could Labour – currently the largest party – snatch the initiative.

South Ayrshire:  Conservatives have been in the driving seat of a minority administration but the SNP are challenging this time

Wales

It could be Labour’s night in Wales where they will hope to win back many of the 100 seats they lost when these seats were last contested in 2008.

Bridgend:  Labour would take overall control with net gains of just 1 seat. Count on Friday

Caerphilly:  A tight two way fight between Labour and Plaid, Labour will be hoping to wrest control from the minority Plaid / Independent administration. Count on Friday

Cardiff:  The Lib Dems are braced for losses and Labour expects a comeback.  The Conservatives did will in the capital four years ago and will be looking to hold on to the seats they gained. Still counting

Conwy:  Presents an opportunity for the Conservatives to emerge as the lead partner in a new coalition.  They are currently much the largest party but are kept out of power by a coalition of the other parties. Count on Friday

Newport:  Traditionally a strong Labour area they lost this council last time around and will be hoping to win back control from the Conservative / Lib Dem minority administration. LAB gain

Swansea:  The Lib Dems have ruled here with the support of the large group of Independents but Labour, currently the largest party, will be looking for gains. Still counting