Elections 2021: Guide to ‘Super Thursday’ as Britain heads to the polls

5 May 2021, 07:57 | Updated: 5 May 2021, 15:55

Voters across Great Britain will go to the polls on May 6
Voters across Great Britain will go to the polls on May 6. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Voters across Great Britain will go to the polls on May 6 on what has been dubbed "Super Thursday".

Local elections are taking place across England, as well as parliamentary elections in Scotland and Wales.

Here’s our guide to the elections that are taking place:

Hartlepool by-election

The contest to elect Hartlepool's next MP is a key test for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The party held the seat in 2019 with a majority of 3,595 as the "red wall" across the north crumbled, handing Boris Johnson the keys to No 10.

The by-election will give an indication of whether Sir Keir has been able to reverse the process that has seen Labour's heartlands disappear.

Bookmakers have made the Tories odd-on favourites to secure the seat, a rare feat for a governing party.

As in a general election, the first-past-the-post system is used - whoever gets the most votes wins the seat.

READ MORE: Hartlepool by-election: All you need to know as Tories receive boost in the polls

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In London, Labour's Sadiq Khan is the bookies' favourite to retain City Hall.

Voters choose the mayor using the supplementary vote system, picking a first and a second preference.

If a candidate receives more than half of all the first choice votes they are elected.

If this does not happen, the two candidates with the most first choice votes go through to another round.

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Voters in the capital will also elect 25 London Assembly Members using the additional member system, a form of proportional representation also used in the Scottish and Welsh parliamentary elections.

English mayors

Regional mayors will be elected for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England and - for the first time - West Yorkshire.

High-profile names seeking re-election include Labour's Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester and Tory Andy Street in the West Midlands.

Five local mayors are also due to be elected on May 6, for the local authorities of Bristol, Doncaster, Liverpool, North Tyneside and Salford.

Like the London mayoral contest, the supplementary vote system is used.

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Local elections

There will be 21 county councils holding elections, along with 28 unitary authorities, 59 district councils and 35 of the 36 metropolitan boroughs (the one exception is Birmingham, where elections will take place in 2022).

All use the first-past-the-post system.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections

PCCs will be elected in all areas of England apart from London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, where these powers are held by the directly-elected mayor.

A total of 39 commissioners will be chosen across England and Wales using the supplementary vote system.

Scottish Parliament

Voters in Scotland will elect 129 MSPs in a crucial contest which will indicate how much support the SNP has for a fresh vote on independence.

How does the Scottish Parliament's voting system work?

People will cast two ballots under the additional member system, electing both constituency and regional MSPs.

Votes for the individual candidates in the 73 constituencies are counted first.

Then 56 regional MSPs - split across eight regions - are elected using a formula aimed at ensuring the total number of seats a party gets across a region is similar to the percentage of votes it receives.

Welsh Parliament

Labour has run Wales since devolution and Mark Drakeford hopes to maintain the party's grip on the Senedd.

What are the main parties promising in the Welsh Parliament Election?

The additional member system is used to elect 40 constituency and 20 regional members.