May 2023 local elections report

Thursday May 4th saw local elections being held across England. Early results from across the English Counties indicated a poor result for the Conservatives, with Labour, the Liberal Democrats and The Green Party making important gains in key areas.

May local elections in the UK traditionally have a low turnout amongst voters, but recent political events have seen an upturn in interest in local government.

In North Norfolk the Liberal Democrats celebrated major success, holding on to their grip of the coastal electorate and gaining a seat.

Speaking to BBC News, council leader Tim Adams said: “People want Liberal Democrats to represent them…on the big and small issues”.

Key issues were the cost-of-living crisis, the much-publicised scandals within the Conservative party, and the impact of sewage along the North Norfolk coastline.

In the west of Labour controlled Norwich, the University of East Anglia and residents of West Earlham fall under University Ward.

In the early evening and towards the end of voting, the Presiding Officer and Polling Clerks at the local polling station based in St Mary’s Church Hall said: “voting had been steady” throughout the day, with an “even split between locals and university students.”

When asked how the new voter ID process had gone down with the electorate, a polling staff member, who didn’t want to be named, said there had been “no dramas with voters showing ID, and only one person having to go home and come back with theirs.”

The view amongst voters was that, surprisingly, it was a good idea, citing that other countries have had the process for years.

At the time of writing, in the Conservative held local authorities of Great Yarmouth, Breckland, Kings Lynn, West and South Norfolk, and Broadland, plus Labour held Norwich, the counting of votes was still underway, with results expected later Friday afternoon.

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