What they mean and how they work

Millions of British voters across England, Wales and Scotland went to the polls on Thursday to elect their new local representatives.

As local elections determine everything from refuse collection to housing, this election will be a clear testament to the nation’s stance on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.

Feelings towards Johnson have been murky over the past year after endless scandals surrounding him and his political party, notably Partygate.

The so-called “Partygate” scandal refers to the 12 illegal social gatherings the Conservative Party has been involved in during lockdown as social distancing measures were put in place by the same government.

As a result, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens could emerge victorious in this year’s local council elections due to British voters’ frustration with the Tory government.

Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson has angered many Britons with endless scandals over lockdown violations.
Getty Images

While ballot counting continues, both the Tory and Labor parties have had disappointing results so far, BBC News reported.

Johnson’s party is getting some disappointing votes in London, while Labor Party leader Keir Starmer is also nothing special.

As Brits eagerly await the results of the General Election, here is an explanation of how the UK election works and what the results could mean for the UK government.

Union leader Keir Starmer.
Labor leader Keir Starmer has had disappointing results so far.
Getty Images

How does it work?

More than 4,350 seats are contested in England in over 140 councils. In Wales, 22 councils hold elections, as do the 32 councils of Scotland.

In Wales, all seats are contested on 22 local councils, where people aged 16 and over can vote, unlike in England where the minimum voting age is 18.

In Scotland, the Conservative Party took over Labor at the last election in 2017 but failed to gain overall control, leaving most councils coalition-led.

The election will also allow voters to express their views on national issues, including the cost of living crisis.

Millions of British voters across England, Wales and Scotland went to the polls on Thursday to elect their new local representatives.
British voters in England, Wales and Scotland went to polling stations on Thursday to elect their new local representatives.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

What are the British voting for?

Voters elect local councilors for the next term, which is usually four years.

Local governments are responsible for everything from a person’s area planning to housing to providing plans to combat climate change.

Other responsibilities include local transportation, garbage collection, and providing community mental health resources.

What does this mean for the UK government?

What could come after the election is a cabinet reshuffle for the Tory party.

Local elections are always viewed as judgments on national party leaders. So when the Tories see a disappointing turnout, it’s a direct reflection of the nation’s feelings towards the Conservative government.

In the last local elections in May 2021, the Tories won 235 seats and took control of 13 councils thanks to their response to COVID-19 vaccines, BBC News reported.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson hopes to win back Brits’ confidence after Partygate scandal
Getty Images

However, this year’s election comes in a very different political climate, as Johnson and his team could expect to lose between 250 and 350 seats.

Losing that many seats wouldn’t really change much in the grand scheme of things, but it will show how the popularity of other parties is increasing.

When do we know the results?

As soon as England’s polling stations closed at 10pm UK time on Thursday, ballot counting began.

The results are expected to be announced anytime between Friday evening and Saturday.

While vote counting in England began shortly after polling stations closed, vote counting in Scotland and Wales will begin on Friday. What they mean and how they work


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