Local elections 2022 preview: Westminster

On Thursday 5 May Westminster residents will head to the polls to vote for their local representatives in the council elections 2022.

The council is currently comprised of 41 Conservative and 19 Labour councillors, with the Conservatives retaining the dominance over the borough which they have held since the first elections in 1965.

However, Conservative peer and political analyst Lord Robert Hayward suggested Westminster was one of four London Conservative strongholds at risk of being won by Labour following the partygate scandal.

In this year’s Westminster elections a total of 164 candidates are standing with Conservatives and Labour putting forward people for every seat, Liberal Democrats standing with 51 candidates, Greens with four and one independent candidate.

For the first time the number of wards will decrease from 20 to 18 with the total number of elected councillors reducing from 60 to 54.

Westminster Council: Distribution of seats in Westminster council after elections in 2018, 2014 and 2010.

While the Conservatives currently hold a majority of 22, Labour consistently gained seats in the last two elections and increased their presence from 12 seats in 2010 to 19 in 2018.

This year, Labour will hope to take advantage of the failed Marble Arch mound project led by the Conservative council which cost the borough £6m, double the projected cost, leading to the resignation of deputy council leader Melvyn Caplan in August.

Despite this, Cllr Caplan and Cllr Matthew Green who frequently defended the project are standing again for election in the Little Venice ward.

For many residents, the future of the West End will also inform voting decisions, following recent controversy surrounding the proposed demolition of the flagship Marks & Spencer’s Store in Oxford Street.

Another issue evolves around the recent revelation that Westminster Conservative groups received £120,000 from Russian donors with links to Vladimir Putin.

Nonetheless, the uneven distribution of support in the borough might mean Labour will not be able to capitalise on these issues after gaining only three seats in 2018 despite receiving 40.3% of the total vote compared to 42.3%  for the Conservatives.

Abbey Road is the only ward where no current standing councillors are up for re-election while in Little Venice and St James’s ward all current Conservative councillors are up for a further term.

Westminster comprises the centre of London, including the seat of Parliament, the country’s leading entertainment and retail districts in West End and Oxford Street as well as large recreational areas in Hyde Park and Regent’s Park.

Registered voters can cast their ballots at 54 polling stations across Westminster between 7am to 10pm on Thursday 5 May with results expected by Friday morning. 

The full list of standing candidates by ward can be found here and polling stations by ward can be found here.

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