Given the abundance of local election results that we will have to absorb this week, it may be helpful to consider in advance the key targets for the main political parties on Thursday. As the bewildering tsunami of announcements descend, which particular local authorities should be watched out for?

Conservative targets

It should first be acknowledged that if the Conservatives merely hold on to what they won when these seats were last contested – in 2016 and 2017 – that would be an extraordinary achievement. But even if there are losses overall, it is quite plausible that there should be some areas where gains are made. The Liberal Democrats appear to be at a low ebb if the opinions polls are to be believed. Then we also have the anomaly since the last general election of certain constituencies with a Conservative MP, but no Conservative councillors.

  • Amber Valley. (Gain from Labour.)
  • Basildon. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Basingstoke and Deane. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Cannock Chase. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioners.  (All would be gains from Labour.)
  • Colchester. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Cornwall. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Crawley. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Dudley. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Gloucester. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Milton Keynes. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Mole Valley. (Gaining enough seats from the Lib Dems for it to fall under No Overall Control.)
  • Rossendale. (Gaining enough seats from Labour for it to fall under No Overall Control.)
  • Stroud. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • West Yorkshire Mayoralty. (A newly created post. Victory would be impressive – but not impossible.)
  • Walsall. (Hold with an increased majority.)

Rotherham, Sandwell, and Sheffield are among the councils which currently have no Conservative councillors at all. For those of us with a sentimental attraction to the Conservatives being a “one nation” party, it is painful that there are some cities and large towns with no Conservative representation. So cutting the list of “no go areas” is a much sought after objective.

Labour targets

I suppose if Labour loses the Hartlepool by-election then any celebrations of local election successes will be decidedly muted – even if they should materialise at all. But some basic measures of recovery for the Party would include:

  • Adur. (Gaining enough seats from the Conservatives for the Council to fall under No Overall Control.)
  • Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner. (Gaining from an independent.)
  • Burnley. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Derbyshire. (Gaining from the Conservatives.)
  • Teesside Mayoralty. (Gaining from the Conservatives.)
  • West Midlands Mayoralty. (Gaining from the Conservatives.)
  • Wirral. (Gain from No Overall Control.)
  • Worcester. (Gain from No Overall Control.)

Lib Dem targets

  • Colchester. (Becoming the largest party – which would mean winning seats from the Conservatives and Labour)
  • Cornwall. (Becoming the largest party). Given the large number of independents, it might be unrealistic for the Lib Dems to win outright. But for them to be doing well they should certainly be winning more seats that the Conservatives here.
  • Gosport (Gaining enough seats from the Conservatives for the Council to fall under No Overall Control.)
  • Hull. (Winning enough seats from Labour for it to fall under No Overall Control.)
  • Sheffield. (Ditto.)

Green Party targets

Some may scoff at the Green Party being included as a “main political party”. By next week this classification for them may not seem quite so far-fetched.

  • Bristol. (Winning enough seats from Labour for the Council to fall under No Overall Control.
  • Norwich. (The Green Party is already the main opposition. Further gains would be important for them.)
  • Sheffield. (Winning enough seats from Labour for it to fall under No Overall Control. This is complicated by the Lib Dems also having this priority, see above.)
  • Stroud.  (The Green Party are already in coalition with Labour and the Lib Dems. Could they become the largest party?)

The Green Party will also be hoping for representation for the first time in several local authorities where they have not had any representation before. It is hard to predict where. But they have an increase in the number of candidates they have managed to field; their opinion poll ratings are pretty bouyant; and they made gains in the last local elections in 2019. I would expect to see them cracking open the organic Champagne in a few places.