Today (May 4) voters go to the polls to choose their candidates for district, town and parish councils.
Polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm. This year, for the first time, voters will need to take photographic ID with them.
In April 2022, the Elections Act 2022 was passed by the UK Parliament. The Act requires voters in Great Britain to show photo ID before being issued a ballot paper in polling stations at UK Parliamentary elections, local council elections and referendums in England and police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales. This also applies to a proxy voter, someone voting in person on someone’s behalf.
The election count will take place tomorrow (May 5) with results predicted to be announced in the afternoon.
Thanet council has been minority led since 2017. The last party to have overall control was UKIP but following its 2015 victory the group suffered defections and resignations, including an en-masse withdrawal of 12 UKIP members who formed the Thanet Independent Councillors group in protest at the administration’s stance on the future of the Manston airport site.
At the end of February 2018 then council leader and Thanet UKIP Party boss Chris Wells resigned from his role in the wake of the row. Conservatives took the helm of a minority led council with Kingsgate councillor Bob Bayford taking the leader’s position.
Local elections in May 2019 saw Labour made huge gains at the district election, going from five seats to 20, and Greens on the authority for the first time winning three seats. Independent Ruth Brackstone-Bailey gained a seat with her vote rising from 230 (2%) in the 2015 election to 776 (15%) in the 2019 poll..
Conservatives also increased by three seats to 25 while UKIP were wiped out of the authority. Thanet Independents Party won seven seats.
The turnout was 30.15%. The results meant Conservatives still led a minority administration with party leader Bob Bayford retaining his seat but Labour forming a large opposition.
A motion to remove him as council leader was last put forward in October 2019 with a vote of no confidence being passed. The motion was put by Thanet Independent Group leader Stuart Piper and resulted in councillors voting Labour’s Rick Everitt in as the new leader, meaning the end of the Conservative-led administration.
An attempt to oust the Labour Party from its minority administration then came in April 2021 prior to county council and by-elections but Cllr Everitt resigned from the role meaning a takeover was not possible. Cllr Helen Whitehead, deputy leader in the Labour Cabinet, temporarily stepped up into the leader’s role during the interim until a vote in June 2021.
Nominations were made for Conservative Ash Ashbee, Labour’s Rick Everitt and Green’s Mike Garner.
Nationally, Labour will be watching the Thanet vote in a hope of getting an indication of support for the General Election scheduled to be held no later than 28 January 2025 but currently mooted for an Autumn 2024 date. Currently, both of Thanet’s MPs are Conservative.
A total of 56 councillors need to be elected at district level to represent the wards across the isle.
Prior to the election Thanet District Council consisted of:
- 25 Conservative
- 15 Labour
- 7 Thanet Independents
- 5 Green and Independents
- 2 Independents
- 2 vacant seats