As promised in my recent post detailing all the councils with elections on May 6th, these are my predictions of the 20 councils that are most likely to change political control, based on marginality of current control, and factoring in the current national (and therefore unreliable!) opinion polls, with any other local indicators. As ever, we aim to be politically impartial in our commentary. The councils to watch: in alphabetical order
1. Coventry – one of the most finely balanced Conservative / Labour marginals. Labour could pick up a couple of seats to snatch control from the Tories.
2. Derby – currently a minority Lib Dem administration which could switch to the Conservatives
3. Gosport – the Conservatives are targeting a gain from the Lib Dems
4. Hastings – a very finely balanced council, Labour will hope to snatch minority control from the Conservatives
5. Harringey – the Baby P tragedy led to big changes in the ruling Labour group but will that be enough to stop the Lib Dems gaining control?
6. Islington – this is Labour’s best hope for a gain in London although the Lib Dems will not give up without a fight
7. Kingston upon Thames – a Lib Dem / Conservative toss up
8. Leeds – the 23 Cons and 23 Lib Dems currently form a minority administration but Labour is much the largest party with 46 councillors to and will have high hopes of making gains.
9. Liverpool – the Lib Dems could lose overall control and Labour will seek to become the largest party and form the administration
10. Merton –Labour’s best chance of a gain from the Conservatives, will the Conservatives hold on?
11. Milton Keynes – the Lib Dems could lose some ground, if they do they might seek a more formal alliance with Labour to retain control after the elections
12. Mole Valley – currently Conservative controlled, this could be a Lib Dem pick up if the council tips into no overall control
13. Reading – will Labour’s minority administration be replaced by a minority Conservative administration?
14. Southwark – Labour are looking to take control, will the Lib Dems hold on?
15. St Helens – Labour will be looking to take overall control, ending the Lib Dem minority control
16. Sutton – is the momentum with the Conservatives to take control from the Lib Dems – they need a net gain of 6 seat?
17. Thurrock – a knife edge council, it could switch from minority Conservative to minority Labour
18. Waltham Forest – the Lib Dems are looking for gains to end the minority Labour administration
19. Winchester – currently Conservative, the Lib Dems are hoping to take power, possibly with a minority administration
20. Wolverhampton – a very finely balanced council – split Lab 28, Con 27 and LD 5 – Labour might take control on the back of high general election turnout