Will Ipswich council change after this year's local election?
- Credit: BRITTANY WOODMAN
Even the most optimistic Conservatives in Ipswich will be struggling to see how their party could take power at the borough after this year's elections - but they will be hoping to make a big dent in the 12-seat majority Labour had after last year's poll.
If the results follow last year's pattern when the Tories won Labour seats in Gainsborough, Sprites and Whitton wards - and providing it retains the seats it already holds - Labour's majority would fall to just six over the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
The Conservatives also have ambitions of winning seats in Rushmere, St Johns, and Whitehouse. If they did win all those the council would be "hung" - but it does look like rather a tall order to expect all the seats to fall at once.
However if there is a substantial cut to the Labour majority this time, when the seats are next contested in 2023 it could be realistic for the Conservatives to hope to be able to form an administration at Grafton House.
On the other hand last year was very good for the Conservatives across the country - elections were being held as the vaccines started to be rolled out and there was real optimism that the country was emerging from the Covid nightmare.
Labour's first aim this time will be to hang on to seats where the Conservatives made gains last year and to prevent the loss of any others.
If things go well for them this time around they might fancy their chance of winning a seat in Holywells - they lost two seats there in 2021 - but it is difficult to see where else the party could make gains.
While campaigners will be focussing on local issues, national and international events ranging from the cost of living crisis, the Ukraine War, and the fallout over Partygate are all likely to feature on the doorsteps.
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National polls suggest opposition parties are likely to do better this year - but most elections are taking place in urban areas where the Labour vote is traditionally stronger anyway.
Election day is May 5 - but thousands of votes are expected to be cast before then because voters have retained postal votes they applied for last year so party activists are already campaigning hard to try to get their message across.