Polling station sign outside a building with red tulips in the foreground.
Credit: Adam Webb.

“The local elections of 2024 have again highlighted the West Midlands' role as the ultimate testing ground of the parties' strength. Labour won in key marginal territories such as Redditch, Worcester, Tamworth and Nuneaton, but the Conservative vote was relatively resilient in Dudley and especially Walsall.

“Most sensitive of the stress tests was the West Midlands Mayoralty, which was won by 1500 votes from Sandwell in a contest which gave neither main party reassurance: the Conservatives' best-recognised standard-bearer in the provinces couldn't survive, even when he abandoned associations with his party; on the other hand Labour struggled to overcome a deficit of 8% from 2021, despite a 20% national poll lead. Other parties with other issues are at play and can influence elections even if they do not win them.”