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Elections will be called in the Hertfordshire with big names included

Elections will be called in the Hertfordshire seats held by Oliver Dowden, Daisy Cooper and Grant Shapps this year.

In a bumper year for voters, seven out of the county’s 10 borough and district councils will host local elections, plus any unexpected by-elections.

David Lloyd, Hertfordshire’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), will stand down at the end of his term in May. His successor will be named after a poll, which will take place throughout Hertfordshire.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has said his “working assumption” is that a general election will take place in the second half of the year. He has until December 17, 2024 to call an election, five years after Mr Sunak’s predecessor Boris Johnson won a landslide in 2019, else Parliament automatically dissolves and a vote will take place in late January 2025.

When is the next election?

Thursday, May 2 is a date for your diary.

This is when the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner election will take place, plus local elections in seven Hertfordshire districts and boroughs:

  • Broxbourne – One third of the seats are due for an election. Voters will elect one councillor per ward.
  • North Herts – Following a change to ward boundaries, every single seat is up for grabs in an “all-out” election.
  • St Albans – One third of the seats are due for an election. Voters will elect one councillor per ward, except in Colney Heath and Redbourn, where the next polls are due in 2026.
  • Stevenage – Following a change to ward boundaries, every single seat is up for grabs in an “all-out” election.
  • Three Rivers – One third of the seats are due for an election. Voters will elect one councillor per ward.
  • Watford – One third of the seats are due for an election. Voters will elect one councillor per ward.
  • Welwyn Hatfield – One third of the seats are due for an election. Voters will elect one councillor per ward.

The next “all-out” elections in Dacorum, East Herts and Hertsmere are due in 2027.

Londoners will go to the polls to elect a mayor on Thursday, May 2. Labour’s Sadiq Khan has served as Mayor of London since 2016. The Mayor of London chairs Transport for London (TfL), which is responsible for Underground, Overground and some bus routes in Hertfordshire.

Mr Sunak is yet to unveil the date of a general election, affecting 12 county seats under a new set of names and boundaries. On a visit to Nottinghamshire in January, the Conservative prime minister said: “My working assumption is we’ll have a general election in the second half of this year and in the meantime I’ve got lots that I want to get on with.”

Elections will be called in the Hertfordshire with big names included Harrow Online
A polling station at Watford FC, Vicarage. Credit: Will Durrant/LDRS

Battle begins for Hertfordshire seats

The Liberal Democrats became the largest party in Hertfordshire’s district councils after the local elections 2023.

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper, who is the party’s deputy leader at a national level, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We are already working incredibly hard to further increase the number of Lib Dem councillors across Hertfordshire again this May and win the role of PCC.

“Whenever the general election is called, we’ll be campaigning hard to retain my St Albans seat and win the support of voters where we are the clear challengers to the Conservatives, especially in Harpenden & Berkhamsted, Hitchin and South West Herts.

“The Conservatives have taken Hertfordshire voters for granted for far too long.

“They’ve created a crisis in our NHS, blown a hole in the public finances affecting families and local council finances, and have failed to keep people safe in their communities.

“Liberal Democrats across Hertfordshire will be setting out a vision to fix our NHS, tackle the cost-of-living crisis, protect vital community services and return to community policing.”

The Conservatives remain the largest party in County Hall, which is due for election in 2025.

The UK governing party has 10 out of Hertfordshire’s 11 parliamentary seats.

After a boundary review, there will be 12 seats at the next general election.

Councillor Richard Roberts, who represents the Kings Langley division, is Hertfordshire County Council’s leader.

He said: “Hertfordshire County Council does not have an election this year, but there is one in 2025.

“By then, we will have got the general election out of the way.

“I am really optimistic about the county elections.

“This May’s elections could be difficult, but the economy is turning around.

“Inflation is falling rapidly.

“Interest rates are coming down and mortgage rates are decreasing.

“These are tough times but I’m hopeful that the prime minister will be on a roll to improve the economy this year.”

UK inflation peaked at 11.1 per cent in October 2022. According to the Office for National Statistics, a the cost of a “basket” of goods and services rose by 3.9 per cent in the 12 months to November 2023 – a much lower rate of inflation.

Cllr Roberts added: “In Hertfordshire we have great MPs and councillors – we have been really lucky. “We have been well served – to have people like deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden (Hertsmere) and the defence secretary Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield) representing Hertfordshire in the House of Commons.

“We are sadly going to lose Sir Charles Walker (Broxbourne) and Sir Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead) who are standing down – who have always stood up for their constituencies in Westminster and closer to home.”

Cllr Tom Plater, who represents Letchworth Wilbury on North Herts Council, is Labour’s PCC candidate. He will face the Liberal Democrats’ Cllr Sean Prendergast, who represents Letchworth South West, in the election.

The Conservatives are yet to announce their candidate following Mr Lloyd’s decision to step down after 14 years in the role.

Cllr Plater said: “The Labour Party takes Hertfordshire extremely seriously.

“I know from first-hand experience that Labour representation is transformational for residents and we have some fantastic parliamentary and council candidates who are already working hard and delivering change for local people.

“After almost 14 years of failed Conservative government, people on the doorsteps in Hertfordshire are telling us that it’s time for a change, and only the Labour Party can deliver real change here.”

Cllr Simon Grover is leader of the Green Group at St Albans City and District Council. The St Peters ward member was the only Green councillor in St Albans at the start of 2023.

After the local elections and a by-election, the party now has three seats – one less than the Conservatives in the Liberal Democrat stronghold.

“This year, we are looking to gain at least a fourth seat in St Albans,” Cllr Grover said.

“At a local level, the key message from us is that St Albans is very Liberal Democrat-dominated, and we need some well functioning opposition here.

“There are so few Conservatives and no Labour councillors that we are effectively the opposition now.

“People seem to appreciate the need for strong and considered opposition and we are doing that – by attending all the meetings we can and being that voice.”

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