Labour are on course to become the largest party on Brighton and Hove City Council, based on my latest predictions, winning 24 seats – an increase of 11 from 2011. But they will fail to reach an overall majority, continuing the trend of there being no overall control of the council since the last boundary changes were first contested in 2003. It would also mark the first time Labour has been the largest party since the 2003 election, with the Conservatives being the largest after 2007 and the Greens after 2011.
The overall predictions for the 54 Councillors across 21 wards are:
Labour 24 (+11)
Conservative 18 (0)
Green 12 (-11)
Liberal Democrats are not expected to regain any seats, given their decimation in national polls. While UKIP will fail to make enough of mark locally to win any seats.
The overall change above hides a wider change in the city, with Conservatives set to gain seats from the Greens, but also lose some to Labour. So let’s have a look at some specific wards.
The Greens are expected to hang on to the central wards of Brunswick and Adelaide, St Peter’s and North Laine and Regency. This has long been their area of ‘core’ support and should remain so. Even though Regency has recently been represented by unpopular council leader Jason Kitcat, his departure is expected to be enough to keep the ward Green.
To the east of the city, expect no changes in the Conservative strong holds of Rottingdean Coastal and Woodingdean. While Labour should easily retain all the seats in the ward of East Brighton, returning Labour group leader Warren Morgan.
Queens Park will see the Greens fall back – completely handing the ward back to Labour as Green support there shows it’s temporary nature. However in Hanover and Elm Grove the march forward of Labour seen in the 2013 by-election will be halted as the historic Green support holds up, boosted slightly by the student population in this area – splitting the seats 2 to the Greens and 1 to Labour.
A similar picture will be seen in other former Green strong holds of Goldsmid and Preston Park as the Greens slightly drop back. The former seeing the seats split 2 to Labour 1 to the Green and the latter 1 to Labour and 2 to the Green.
Interestingly Hollingdean and Stanmer and Mouslecoomb and Bevandean should both go with Labour, depsite covering both the University of Sussex and University of Brighton. The Greens are expected to do well nationally among students, but given the new individual voter registration has made it harder for students in university halls to get on the electoral role, with Brighton being particularly hit (losing over 12,000 voters from the electoral register at the last count), the student vote shouldn’t make the results here favour the Greens.
Patcham, Westdean and Hove Park should remain with the Conservatives, but perhaps with a closer race with Labour than recently seen and Green support there shifts to Labour. Conservative Group leader Geoffrey Theobald should there be safe and win in Patcham ward.
Along the Hove seafront we should see smaller swings towards Labour from the Green. Not enough the change the results in Westbourne, where the Conservatives will hold on to both seats. But in Central Hove it allows the Conservatives to gain a seat winning both. While in Wish the advancement of Labour seen in 2011 will continue as they gain a seat from thre Conservatives to win both in this ward.
Hangleton and Knoll is often a split ward with both Labour and Conservatives win seats. This should happen again, though with a gain of seat for Labour so they hold 2 seats to the Conservatives one.
Finally in the west of the city, we can expect no change in North Portslade and South Portslade, Labour retaining all 6 seats in these wards. Though we can expect to see the strongest UKIP gains here, but still only enough for them to come behind both Labour and the Conservatives.
It’s still nearly three months to the election in May, so a lot could change before then but what is likely is a decline in the Greens across the city due to their unpopularity in control of the council, despite the national rise in support. But a total wipe out of the Green that some have hoped for is unlikely, in part due to the popularity of the Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas keeping enough Green support in that constituency. Overall this should see the Greens fall back to third place on the council and let Labour gain enough seats jump above the Conservatives and form a minority administration.
Summary of results
|Burnswick and Adelaide||2|
|Hangleton and Knoll||2||+1||1||-1|
|Hanover and Elm Grove||1||+1||2||-1|
|Hollingdean and Stanmer||3||+2||-2|
|Mouslecoomb and Bevendean||3|
|St Peter’s and North Laine||3|