United Kingdom local elections, 2012
The 2012 United Kingdom local elections were held across England, Scotland and Wales on 3 May 2012. Elections were held in 131 English local authorities, all 32 Scottish local authorities and 21 of the 22 Welsh unitary authorities, alongside three mayoral elections including the London mayoralty and the London Assembly. Referendums were also held in 11 English cities to determine whether or not to introduce directly elected mayors.
All registered electors (British, Irish, Commonwealth and European Union citizens) who were aged 18 or over on Thursday 3 May 2012 were entitled to vote in the local elections. Those who were temporarily away from their ordinary address (for example, away working, on holiday, in student accommodation or in hospital) were also entitled to vote in the local elections, although those who had moved abroad and registered as overseas electors cannot vote in the local elections. It is possible to register to vote at more than one address (such as a university student who had a term-time address and lives at home during holidays) at the discretion of the local Electoral Register Office, but it remains an offence to vote more than once in the same local government election.
The deadline to register to vote in the election was midnight on Wednesday 18 April 2012, though anyone who qualified as an anonymous elector had until midnight on Thursday 26 April 2012 to register.
The Labour Party was seen as making strong progress across the country, by making gains in areas where the party had suffered losses at the General Election two years earlier. Their biggest prize was England's largest council, Birmingham, after ending eight years of Conservative-Liberal Democrat rule at City Hall. They also gained councils like Nuneaton & Bedworth, Southampton and Great Yarmouth from the Conservatives. Nuneaton & Bedworth had been seen as a sensational gain for the Conservatives in 2008 when Labour suffered nationally. Labour also won a clutch of seats from No Overall Control including Norwich and Chorley. In Wales and Scotland they were delighted to regain control of Cardiff and Glasgow, which are traditionally seen as heartlands for Labour.
The election was a bad showing for the Conservatives, who suffered their first major set of losses since coming to power in 2010. They suffered a backlash from voters after a badly received budget in March. Unlike 2011, their losses to Labour were not compensated by gains from their junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. The party was unnerved to lose councils like Dudley to Labour, which was considered as natural middle-England territory necessary to winning a General Election. The Tories also suffered in their heartlands: in leafy West Oxfordshire they lost 4 seats to Labour, in Daventry 4 and in Peterborough they lost another 3. The only point of cheer for the party came when they gained Winchester from No Overall Control. In Wales they lost control of Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan, as well as dozens of seats in other councils.
The Liberal Democrats again suffered a huge setback across the country. They fell back heavily in northern cities where they had once made gains against Labour: in Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and their leader Nick Clegg's home city of Sheffield. Just a few years earlier, they ruled in three of the four cities. In intellectual Oxford and Cambridge, they lost yet more ground to Labour. In Cambridge they lost their majority, although narrowly remained the largest party. In Scotland they had been the largest party in the capital Edinburgh, where they held 16 seats prior to the election. Afterwards they were reduced a romp of just 3, and were now the smallest delegation at City Hall. Similarly in Wales, they handed victory to Labour in Cardiff after losing their comfortable majority in the capital by shedding more than half of the seats they were defending. By contrast they fared better in straight fights with the Conservatives than was the case in 2011. On the south coast in Portsmouth and Eastleigh, for example, they made small gains.
Metropolitan boroughs 
All 36 Metropolitan boroughs had one third of their seats up for election.
Whole council up for election 
Two unitary authorities that would usually have had a third of their seats up for election, actually had elections for all their seats because of the implementation of boundary changes.
One third of council up for election 
In 16 English unitary authorities, one third of the council was up for election.
|Blackburn with Darwen||Labour||Labour hold||Details|
|Derby||No overall control||Labour gain||Details|
|Kingston upon Hull||Labour||Labour hold||Details|
|Milton Keynes||No overall control||No overall control hold||Details|
|North East Lincolnshire||No overall control||Labour gain||Details|
|Portsmouth||Liberal Democrat||Liberal Democrat hold||Details|
|Reading||No overall control||Labour gain||Details|
|Southend-on-Sea||Conservative||No overall control gain||Details|
|Thurrock||No overall control||Labour gain||Details|
District councils 
Whole council up for election 
Four district councils that would usually have had one-third of their seats due for election, actually had full council elections as a result of the implementation of new ward boundaries.
Half of council up for election 
7 district councils had half of their seats up for election.
|Cheltenham||Liberal Democrat||Liberal Democrat hold||Details|
|Nuneaton and Bedworth||No overall control||Labour gain||Details|
One third of council up for election 
In 63 district authorities, one third of the seats were up for election.
Mayoral elections 
Three direct mayoral elections were held.
|Local Authority||Previous Mayor||Mayor-elect||Details|
|London||Boris Johnson (Conservative)||Boris Johnson (Conservative)||Details|
|Salford||none||Ian Stewart (Labour)||Details|
|Liverpool||none||Joe Anderson (Labour)||Details|
Mayoral referendums 
Referendums were also held in 11 English cities to determine whether or not to introduce the position of a directly-elected mayor. These polls took place in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield. Of these 11 cities, only Bristol chose direct election (rather than council appointment) of a mayor. In addition, the citizens of Doncaster voted on the same day to continue electing their mayors directly.
All council seats were up for election in the 32 Scottish authorities.
See also 
- Sparrow, Andrew (5 May 2011). "Election results 2011 - Thursday 5 May". The Guardian (London).
- "Local Elections 2012". Conservative Councillors Association. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- "Greg Clark: Date set for elected city mayors". Department of Communities and Local Government. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "The Representation of the People (Form of Canvass) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006, Schedule Part 1". Legislation.gov.uk. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "I have two homes. Can I register at both addresses?". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- The deadline for the receipt of electoral registration applications is the eleventh working day before election day.
- The deadline for the receipt and determination of anonymous electoral registration applications was the same as the publication date of the notice of alteration to the Electoral Register (i.e. the fifth working day before election day).
- "No delay on police commissioners, says May". Epolitix. 9 May 2011.
- "Draft protocol for elected commissioners published". Home Office.
- Isaby, Jonathan (1 December 2010). "First elections for Police Commissioners set to take place in May 2012". torydiary. Conservativehome.
- "Hartlepool electoral review". Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Forthcoming Elections - Swindon Borough Council". Swindon Borough Council. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Broxbourne electoral review". Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Daventry electoral review". Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Rugby electoral review". Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- Election News Summer 2011 - Rushmoor Borough Council[dead link]
- "Salford referendum votes for directly elected mayor". BBC News. 27 January 2012.
- Bradbury, Sean (7 February 2012). "Liverpool Council passes motion to adopt elected mayor system". Liverpool Daily Post.
- "Anglesey council election postponed for year to 2013". BBC News. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012. "Local government elections on Anglesey have been delayed for a year. It will mean people on the island will elect their new council in May 2013, 12 months later than in the rest of Wales."