The 2013 United Kingdom local elections are in progress. Over 2,300 council seats are being contested this year, with all of them except for one council being in England. The mayoralties of Doncaster and North Tyneside are up, and the parliamentary constituency of South Shields is voting for a new Member of Parliament due to the resignation of David Miliband last month. The locals being contested this year were last up for election in 2009.
The predicted outcome? As with last year, the Conservative Party is expected to receive severe losses in their number of councillors; they have the most seats to defend and have experienced poor polling numbers for several months. The Labour Party is likely to be the biggest beneficiary of the Conservatives' losses, but the sudden and recent rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party makes this election hard to predict: A significant amount of Conservative voters, dissatisfied with the lack of a referendum on the United Kingdom's membership in the European Union, are intending to switch to UKIP; if significant vote splitting occurs, this will exacerbate the Conservatives' defeats.
The Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives' coalition partner in Parliament, also have low polling numbers; however, their losses might be cushioned if Conservative/UKIP vote splitting is widespread. The Green Party of England and Wales is defending its strongholds and is seeking to move beyond them, although the Greens are concerned about the continuously-rebounding Labour Party and the effect of UKIP. The British National Party, which was notable for making gains in 2009, is unlikely to move away from the heavy defeats it has received in every election since, owing to its abysmal amount of candidates and virtually non-existent poll numbers.
As for the two mayors, both are incumbents; the Mayor of Doncaster is an independent and the Mayor of North Tyneside is a Conservative. Both are potentially vulnerable, as Doncaster is in Yorkshire and North Tyneside is in North East England; both regions usually back Labour overwhelmingly and if Labour has a strong performance nationwide, the two mayors could be defeated by the party's coattails.
It will be interesting to see how these elections turn out; we'll find out the majority of the results tomorrow.