Local elections are less than a month away so we thought it was a good time to create a little guide so you know exactly what to expect when May 3rd rolls round…
Many will use these elections as a chance to have their say on Teresa May's premiership, or Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour party. Many others will use their vote as a chance to pass judgement on the Brexit negotiations.
Read on to find out how you can have your say come what may!
What does Southwark Council do?
Local elections are important because it is your chance to have a say in who runs your local services. Southwark council has the responsibility of administering many of the services that you benefit from every day – ranging from schools and libraries, to social housing and adult social care.
Here is a handy graphic showing who runs what in London!
Southwark Council is currently a Labour-run administration. This fancy pie chart illustrates the political makeup of the council:
48 Labour cllrs
13 Liberal Democrat cllrs
2 Conservative cllrs
This is important when Southwark council's assembly votes on key measures such as setting council tax and local spending plans (budget). If one party has a majority they are able to follow through with their manifesto pledges when creating policies and deciding on how to spend the council's budget.
If no one party has a majority then coalition administrations are often formed (much like we saw after the 2010 general election).
To find out a little bit more about what Southwark council is responsible for and how it operates click here.
Southwark’s council wards are set to undergo change at this year’s elections which has an impact on who you vote for and where you vote!
This is occurring because in 2016 the Local Government Boundary Commission (an independent review body) recommended several changes to ward boundaries in order to assure electoral equality (ie that each councillor elected in Southwark represents a similar number of constituents). In a nutshell the commission found that changes in population meant that some areas have too many councillors and others too few.
You can read their final recommendations here.
This has led to a change in many wards across Southwark and even brand-new wards being created.
Southwark has 23 wards and 63 seats will be up for grabs in May’s election. Seventeen wards will have three councillors, while the remaining six wards will be represented by two councillors.
There are a few key battlegrounds in Southwark, with Dulwich Village, Surrey Docks, and the newly formed Goose Green and London Bridge and West Bermondsey wards set to be especially close.
A few other noteworthy wards: Peter John, Southwark council’s leader, will be attempting to be reelected for the 2nd time in the newly formed Champion Hill ward. Southwark’s Lib Dem leader, Anood Al-Samerai, will be taking to the streets of North Bermondsey.
Southwark Green’s general election candidate Eleanor Margolies is seeking to be elected as a councillor for the first time in St Giles ward, and the Conservatives will be hoping to build on their stronghold in Dulwich where they currently have two councillors in the form of Michael Mitchell and Jane Lyons.
Also, for the first time in Southwark, the Women's Equality Party are fielding two candidates. Southwark’s WEP co-leader Claire Empson is standing in the Goose Green Ward, and Eileen Scholes is standing in Borough and Bankside.
Local elections are also a good platform for independent candidates to stand who have no affiliation with any political party, but often have a wealth of local knowledge. For an example of this turn to p11 of the latest edition of the Peckham Peculiar!
Lastly there are four UKIP candidates standing this year - divided between North and South Bermondsey wards. This is a sharp decline compared to the sixteen that stood four years ago.
If you’re interested in seeing what happened last time round click here.
Here is a map of Southwark’s new electoral landscape. The wards in yellow will be represented by two councillors and the pink wards by three (Credit: Local Government Boundary Commission for England via Southwark News)
Each of the four main political parties in Southwark (Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, and Conservatives) have all recently published their shiny new manifestos detailing how they would run the borough in the next four years if successfully elected. Why not give each a once over?
Click on each image below to view the manifestos.
Don’t appear to have a borough-wide manifesto but have some information here:
Why not check out some of the people who are seeking to represent you for the next four years!
Conservatives: Currently don’t have a full candidate list published online.
There are two hustings taking place soon which will give you a chance to see the party leaders in action...
When: 14/04/2018 - 3-5pm
Where: Christ Church Peckham, 676 - 680 Old Kent Road, SE!5 1JF
When: 24/04/2018 - 6.30pm-8.30pm
Where: Southwark Cathedral
Due to the changes to Southwark’s wards there are several changes to polling stations being used for this election. You can find out your polling station by clicking here – important for when you cast your vote!
Polling stations usually open at 7am and close at 10pm
You should have received your polling card by now – or will be very soon. You don’t actually need to bring it with you when you vote as your name will be on a list at the polling station. Why not keep it as a memento?
Not registered to vote? There’s still time! The deadline is Midnight Tuesday 17 April.
To register to vote click here.
Vote by proxy - this is where someone else goes to your polling station on the day and votes for you. All completed applications must be received by electoral services by 5pm on Wednesday 25 April 2018.
Exercising your democratic right
It might sound a bit cheesy but it’s incredibly important that everyone exercises their right to vote – a right that has been hard fought and hard won by activists and civil rights campaigners down the years from the Chartists to the Suffragettes. Don’t like what you see on offer? Then spoil your ballot.
This is a chance for you to have a say on what happens in your local community – whether it’s collecting your bins on time or saving your local pub from redevelopment. Make your voice count on May 3rd!
We will inevitably miss stuff so please get in touch with any additional information about candidates that are missing from our page! firstname.lastname@example.org